White-Label App vs Custom App Development: Which Should You Choose?

White-Label App vs Custom App Development: Which Should You Choose?

White-label app vs custom app development

If you are considering app development, you face two options: white-label apps and custom apps for your travel agency. This article is here to help you make your choice. Both options have their pros and cons, and which is best for you depends on your goals, budget, timeline, and preferences.

In this article, we will explain what each option entails, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how you can make an informed decision based on your needs.

What is custom travel app development?

Custom travel app development is when you hire a team of developers, designers, and testers to build a mobile app for your travel agency from scratch. This means that you have full control over the features, design, functionality, and branding of your app. You can tailor it to your specific niche, target audience, and business model.

A custom travel app can also offer you more flexibility and scalability in the future, as you can update and modify it according to changing market trends and customer feedback.

What is white-label travel app development?

White-label travel app development is when you use a ready-made mobile app solution that is provided by a third-party vendor. This means that you do not have to worry about the technical aspects of building the app, as the vendor takes care of everything for you. You can simply customize the app with your logo, color scheme, and content.

White-label travel app development can save you time and money, as you do not have to invest in hiring and managing a development team or purchasing software licenses. However, you’ll have to pay fees to the white-label app provider — and often, these fees are high.

Custom app vs white-label app development: how are they different?

Data and code

If we’re looking at custom app development vs white-label app development, we have to start with the core of the app itself.

One of the biggest custom app benefits is that you own the data and code. This means that you have full control over your app's functionality, security, and performance. You can also access and analyze your data anytime you want, without relying on a third-party provider.

On the other hand, with a white-label app, you don't own the data and code. You are essentially renting the app from a provider, who can access and use your data for their own purposes. You also have to comply with their terms and conditions, which might limit your rights and options. If the provider decides to shut down their service or change their policies, you might lose your app or face legal issues.


Ok, but who wins when it comes to the freedom to actually run your app — white-label applications or custom applications?

Well, another benefit of a custom app is that you can define and optimize your own processes. You can choose how to develop, test, launch, update, and market your app. You can also adapt your app to changing customer needs and market trends.

With a white-label app, you have to follow the processes of the provider. You have no say in how the app is developed, tested, launched, updated, or marketed. You are bound to their timeline, quality standards, and features. You also have to depend on their support and customer service, which might not be reliable or responsive.

Choosing between a white-label app and a custom app?

We are experts in travel app development. Book a call with us and we’ll guide you through the process.

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Next one on the list — which option provides more opportunities for integrations: white-label app development or custom app development?


A custom app allows you to integrate with any external system or service that you need. You can connect your app with your website, CRM, booking engine, payment gateway, social media platforms, or any other tool that your travel firm uses. This way, you can streamline your operations and offer a seamless user experience.

A white-label app limits your integration options. You can only integrate with the systems or services that the provider supports or allows. This might not cover all your needs or preferences. You might also face compatibility or performance issues if the integrations are not well-designed or maintained.


But who wins when it comes to design? Custom app development or white-label app development?

A custom app gives you the opportunity to create a unique and attractive design for your travel app. You can choose the colors, fonts, icons, images, layout, and navigation that suit your brand identity and target audience. You can also ensure that your app is user-friendly and intuitive.

A white-label app offers a generic and sometimes bland design. You can only change some basic elements like the logo, name, or color scheme. You cannot modify the overall look and feel of the app. You might also end up with an app that looks similar to other apps in the market or does not match your brand image.


Here’s the next round of the customized app development vs white-label app development debate — which provides more customization options? The clue is really in the name.

One of the main advantages of custom app development is that you have full control over the design, functionality, and features of your app. With customization in your control, you can tailor your app to your brand identity, target audience, and business goals. You can also add or remove features as you see fit, and update your app according to feedback from your users and market trends.

On the other hand, white-label app development offers limited customizability. You can change the logo, color scheme, and some content of your app, but you cannot modify its core functionality or features. You have to rely on the provider's choices and capabilities, which might not suit your needs or expectations. Moreover, you might end up with an app that looks similar to other apps in the market, which can affect your brand differentiation and user engagement.


Another thing to think about is the data you’ll get from your app.

A key benefit of custom app development is that you can integrate advanced analytics tools into your app, such as Google Analytics.


These tools allow you to track and measure various metrics and indicators of your app's performance, such as downloads, retention, engagement, conversions, revenue, etc. You can also segment your users based on their behavior, preferences, or location, and gain valuable insights into their needs and then adjust your app accordingly.

Typically, white-label app development does not offer such deep analytics capabilities. You can only access basic data about your app's usage, such as the number of users, sessions, and page views.


When it comes to the cost, what should you choose: custom app or white-label app for your travel agency?

A drawback of custom app development is that it can be expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the complexity and scope of your project, you might need to hire a team of developers, designers, QA specialists and project managers, or outsource the work to an experienced agency like Zoftify.

White-label app development can be quicker and more affordable. You don’t need to hire or manage any developers or designers, as everything is done by the provider. You also don’t need to pay for any development tools or licenses, as they are included in the provider's fee.

However, cost-effectiveness is not only about the initial investment but also about the long-term value and return on investment of your app. While custom app development might require more upfront costs, it can generate more revenue in the long run. This is because you can create a unique and engaging app that attracts and retains more users and converts them into loyal customers, while also getting the data required to optimize your app's performance and monetization strategy.

White-label app development might save you some time and money in the beginning, it’ll probably cost you more in the future. This is because you will likely end up with a generic and mediocre app that fails to stand out from the crowd and satisfy your users' needs and expectations. You might also lose some potential revenue and customers due to the lack of data and customization options.


Finally, you have to think about what will be more expensive to maintain: a custom app versus a white-label app

One of the main challenges of custom app development is that you have to update your app regularly to ensure its functionality, security, and compatibility with different devices and operating systems. You also have to fix any bugs or errors that might occur along the way. This can be a tedious and costly process that requires constant attention and resources.

White-label app development takes care of most of the maintenance and updates for you. You don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of keeping your app running smoothly and securely. The provider will handle the bug fixes, security patches, compatibility issues, and feature enhancements for you.

However, maintenance is not only about the technical aspects but also about the user feedback and the travel market trends. Whereas custom app development will allow you to respond to your users' feedback and market trends quickly and effectively, white-label app development won’t give you much flexibility or control over your app's evolution.

You have to wait for the provider to implement any changes or improvements that you or your users need. You also have to accept any changes that the provider might make without your consent or knowledge, which might affect your app's quality or functionality.


So, who wins in the “white-label app vs custom app” match?

When it comes to choosing between these two development types, custom app development provides many more opportunities and much more flexibility in comparison with white-label app development. While white-label app development has its advantages, such as lower upfront costs and faster time-to-market, these benefits come at the expense of quality, functionality, and customization.

White-label app vs custom app

White-label apps may not meet your expectations or requirements, and they may not stand out from the competition. They may also pose some risks in terms of reliability, security, and compliance. Therefore, we recommend that you invest in custom app development for your travel agency, and launch your mobile app with the peace of mind that it’s all yours to nurture and evolve. A custom app will provide you with more value in the long term.

Want to create an app for your travel agency?

Here at Zoftify, our expert app developers work with tourism businesses just like yours. Book a call to get our expertise.

Zoftify - Custom software development for travel and hospitality


Can you customize white-label apps?

You can customize white-label apps to some extent, depending on the features and functionalities that the app provider offers. For example, you can often change the logo, color scheme, fonts, icons, and content of the app to match your brand identity. However, you cannot modify the core functionality, architecture, or design of the app, as these are fixed by the app provider.

What is the opposite of a white-label app?

If you’re looking for a white-label alternative, there’s only one — a custom app. A custom app is a unique solution that is created from scratch for your travel agency. Unlike a white-label app, you can decide what features and functionalities you want to include, how you want it to look and feel, and how you want your customers to interact with it.

What can I use instead of a white-label app?

If you are not satisfied with your white-label solution, you should explore custom app development solutions for mobile devices instead. Custom development involves hiring a professional development company to create an app for your travel agency from scratch. This gives you full ownership and control over your app, and the chance to customize it according to your specific requirements and goals.

Alex loves travel and tech and founded Zoftify to help travel companies use technology more effectively. Before this, he worked in tech consulting, where he led international mobile development teams.

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