A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Booking App Development

Updated on Dec 18th, 2023


After the major slowdown in the past few years due to COVID, the travel industry is picking up the pace again. With travel booking apps serving a vital purpose for customers seeking both business and leisure again, the possibilities for new market entires are endless.  

New technologies have taken over travel booking app development as well; AR/VR and AI are now the top choices of technologies for the segment which is rooting for innovation. But building your own travel app requires intricate knowledge, and we here are here today with everything you need to know about it.   

The online travel industry has generated revenue of over $800 million and is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.57%. The findings certainly hold up a bright future for anyone planning to develop a revolutionary travel booking app.  

If you are planning travel app development, now could be the perfect time to enter the industry. The boom in the industry is unprecedented, and both businesses and leisure travel seem to be on the rise. Today we will be covering the essentials of travel booking app development to help you with everything you need to know and make an informed decision.   

  • The travel industry is on the rise again for both business travelers and leisure travelers.   
  • People are becoming more accustomed to the convenience offered by mobile apps and use them to book every aspect of their travel.   
  • The app usually offers three different panels to cater to users, admins, and service providers.  
  • There are various possibilities when it comes to smarter apps, including smart itineraries, automated booking systems, and reviews.

What is a Travel Booking App?  

A travel booking app encompasses the needs of travelers, including ticket booking, hotel booking, tour booking, etc. Popular travel booking apps usually have all the hotels in the area such as Bohol Beach Club Resort and all the operating flights already listed on their platform. The goal is to offer maximum convenience to the customer. All they would need to do is book through the travel booking app and enjoy monetary as well as efficiency benefits.   

Travel booking app development is a process through which you can create your own custom travel booking app. If you are in the travel business, having such an app is a must these days. Gone are the days when people used to call to get travel packages or book hotels or flights. It is all DIY now, thanks to the convenience offered by plenty of apps available in the market. Even popular flight services and hotels have their own apps to offer online booking these days.   

What are Popular Types of Travel Booking Apps? 

Travel booking apps include various types of apps, including the ones to book city guides, events, hotels, and whatnot. With a perfect travel booking app, a user can access the city’s finest offerings and book them through the convenience of their home. Based on your idea of what a travel app means to you, you can build one offering either or all of the types mentioned below.  


1. Hotel Booking App  

An app to choose from a list of hotels and book the one which best suits user requirements. Hotel booking app development includes making a list of hotels and deploying a system where an API works with their software to make direct bookings.   

2. Flight Booking App  

Flights run the world these days, and no one has the time to go to counters and wait to book tickets. Flight booking app development revolves around building a platform offering every detail about available flights to the customer and helping them book it.   

3. Local Event App  

Local events are a major attraction for any traveler, and these apps help them know more about every event happening in the city. The events could include anything as long as they correlate with the requirements of someone new visiting the city and wanting to attend.   

4. Tour Guide Booking App  

City tour booking app development revolves around creating an app specific to local tourism]]. There are major developments when it comes to technology in this segment, and the offerings usually include local tour guides to hire as well.   

5. Travel Planning App  

With travel planning apps, you can combine offerings from different segments and offer an all-in-one experience to users. Users can book complete packages, including even commutes in a new city, as well as meals along with city tours and multi-city stops.   

Best Travel Booking Apps 2022  

There are 100s of travel booking apps based on your location around the world, and people usually jump between the ones offering best pricing. Of those, we have compiled a list of apps offering the best in their segments, which users choose over and over again.  

1. Trivago  

Trivago is known for offering the lowest prices when booking hotels online, offering both monetary and convenience benefits to its customers. To build an app like Trivago, you will need to implement a system with complex APIs pulling data from different hotels to offer the lowest price.   

2. TripAdvisor  

TripAdvisor can be called the legacy in travel booking apps, even though it partners for the actual booking. The app is known for reviews of local restaurants, places of interest, and more. Apps like TripAdvisor focuses on reviews rather than offerings and is hugely popular in the travel app booking niche.   

3. Skyscanner  

Skyscanner offers one of the largest databases of flights running around the world. The simple booking experience and checkout make it one of the best places on the internet to book flights conveniently. We can help you build an app like Skyscanner if you plan to enter the flight booking app segment.   

4. Hopper  

The unique feature of this app is notifying its customer of the best times to book a given flight. The money you can save with this app makes it a one-of-a-kind offering. With well-placed push notifications and a new concept towards bookings, you can benefit from apps like Hopper 

5. Airbnb   

You must be well versed with Airbnb already; the host can list their properties for people to stay in. Airbnb takes hospitality and offering to the next level by including properties nowhere to be found on other listings. The interactive interface would make it a perfect choice to get an app like Airbnb developed.   

6. Expedia  

Expedia is yet another challenger in the hotel and flight booking segment. The exemplary customer service and well-built UI/UX help it stand atop others. There are various reasons to create an app like Expedia, as it covers almost everything one requires for travel booking.   

7. Travelocity  

It is an all-in-one offering where you can book almost everything you need for a splendid travel plan. The app has been hugely popular and is used by both business and leisure travelers. If you are planning an app like Travelocity, we can build it for you.   

The Development Part of Your Travel Booking App 

Developing a powerful application such as a travel booking app requires expertise and experience. There are various technologies you can choose from, monetization approaches, feature offerings of different panels, and more. We will be briefly discussing each of those points for you to make an informed decision in the future.  


Step 1: Deciding on the Panels and Individual Features 

There are three different panels travel apps usually have, there’s a user panel, an admin panel, and a service provider panel. Each of them serves different types of users and offers different features to each of them. Based on your idea of a travel booking app, these may vary as per your requirements, but the basic must-haves are: 

1. Panel-Based Features for Your Travel Booking App   

There are three different panels you would need for you app to work optimally. Each of them requires specific set of features, and work differently from each other. While the admin would have master control, the users and service providers would be able to access specific pages of the app. Think of the app is a large set of features and screens, each is divided between the three based on requirements.  

a. User  

Users can choose the features and guides per their liking, and there will be special location filters to determine what content to show to the users. The entire app will be built according to the features you want, and we promise to embed them in the best possible way.   

b. City Guides  

A city-wide guide built to offer details about the city a user is planning a visit to. The guide can contain everything a user would need to book through the app itself.   

c. Tour Booking  

Local tours are a must for selected userbase; having the option to book one within the app can greatly improve the overall popularity of an app.   

d. Travel Guides  

Travel guides can be as comprehensive as you want, including a multi-city and multi-country tour, as many people are now driven towards it. The offering can also combine local places to see, restaurants to eat at, and information that isn’t readily available elsewhere.   

e. Custom Itinerary   

Users are now looking for a website that could offer then custom itinerary, and it could greatly benefit you to offer it on your website. This feature allows users to manage everything on their trip and make shifts as they like.   

f. Wallet Integration  

A wallet is a great way to offer loyalty rewards and is a must-have based on the niche. Through this, you can offer rewards such as free hotel nights and restaurant vouchers and advertise your application in multiple ways.   

g. In-app Payments  

For any travel booking app development, payment integration is a must-have feature. When developing an app, make sure to include multiple payment gateways for the user’s convenience.   

h. Multi-language Support  

Even though it goes without saying, multi-language support is a must for any application operating on a global scale. You must ensure everyone accessing your app is comfortable in their local language.  

i. Reviews  

Users can add reviews for service providers to improve as well as help fellow users make informed decisions about particular offerings. The entire concept can help different segment offerings based on user types and help with better suggestions on your part.   

2. Service Provider  

a. Create Listings  

The service provider, be it for hotel booking, flight booking, taxi booking, etc., can add listings through their given panel. Upon approval from the admin, the listing can be live or be taken down in case of outages. The streamlined process helps ensure maximum onboarding.   

b. Manage Listings  

The service provider can manage their listings and customize them based on changes in real-world scenarios. For example, if the pool is under maintenance or a flight is delayed, the service provider can update their listing saying the same.   

c. Offers Management  

Add or remove special offers in conjunction with payment methods at will. The service provider can also change prices, and the APIs allow for pulling the prices from their portals. The provider can choose which option they want and work according to their wants.   

d. Track Bookings  

Bookings can be tracked through the service provider panel, and changes or requests can be mentioned, which would be reflected in the user panel. In case of upgrades, unavailability, or special offers, the provider can directly make modifications and seek approval from the users.   

e. Track Commissions  

Commissions for each booking made can be tracked through this feature. Tax invoices can also be generated for the same and in conjunction with your platform. The same can be exported as per requirements and submitted to the accounts team for processing.   


3. Admin  

a. User Management  

Manage the entire bookings created by a user; while it may seem like a stretch but is a necessity for a travel booking app. The admin can also manage rewards and refund specific to user profiles, ensuring compensation is provided in case of an issue. When going for travel booking app development, make sure to include this feature in your app offering.   

b. Service Provider Management  

Managing listings by a given service provider ensure safety and reduce the chances of errors. The admin gets to remove or modify anything according to the platform’s standard and take off listings per their description as well. The admin can also track commissions and add/modify available payment options per the hour’s requirements.   

c. Booking Management  

Often when there is an issue with booking, the admin can step in to modify/re-schedule/cancel bookings. This especially helps when support needs to be allocated to help users with their bookings, and given the gravity that things can reach, it is an absolute necessity for the app.   

d. Commissions Tracking  

Depending on the monetization model you choose, you integrate commission tracking to know how much you have earned over each booking. The admin can also export the reports and forward them to the accounts department for further processing and recording.   

e. API Systems Check  

Admin will be able to run systems’ checks for each given API; this helps ensure the users face no issues when the app is live. Rigorous checks are needed to ensure the APIs are up and running at times since even minutes of delay can cause major setbacks in the travel business.   

f. Ads Management  

If you are running ads based on the list or banners, a specific ad management feature can be added to the admin panel. The feature ensures the ads can be managed without the hassle and brought up or taken down on demand.  

Other Common Features of a Top Travel Booking App  

a. Automated Booking Confirmation 

The APIs can communicate directly with the service provider’s portal to confirm bookings. This feature eliminated the need to hire people specifically to manage and create bookings. It helps reduce redundant bookings and is relayed to all other service providers as well. The same person cannot book a given ticket if someone has already booked it, reducing the chances of booking errors.   

b. Smart Itinerary   

Based on the requirements of users, AI in travel booking can help build a custom itinerary for them. While the idea might seem far-fetched, it can work wonders for your travel booking app. Suppose a user likes mountains over the sea; the flights in a similar price range could include the ones that choose the mountain route. Similarly, a whole itinerary surrounding a user’s interest and liking can be created.   

c. Intelligent Booking System   

For different users, different requirements stand first. A user might be okay with a longer flight but needs more legroom, while another one would want to reach the fastest. An intelligent system could be built to sort results based on personal preferences. The time taken is just one example; there can be many more based on other choices and information you gather from running the business.   

d. Smart Reviews   

Reviews relevant to users can be sorted first for them to find what they are looking for. Restaurant reviews, for example, can be sorted for people who are vegan, so the prioritized reviews would focus on vegan restaurants. There can also be selections while giving reviews, making the whole ordeal much easier and smarter than a generic approach.   

Step 2: Considering Technologies for App Development 

There are various technologies to choose from depending on the platforms you want your app for. The basic difference starts with web apps and mobile apps, and most people usually prefer both when going for the travel segment. In the mobile apps, it further comes down to choosing between targeting Android, iOS, or both. Once again, people usually target both, but it all depends on your budget and target audience.  

For each of the chosen platforms and OS, you will need different technologies to develop each of the apps. You can choose between native and cross-platform technologies for mobile apps and so for web apps as well. Once you have figured out what’s best, you can go ahead with the development part of hiring a team to build your travel booking app.  

Step 3: Hiring a Development Team 

Hiring a development team involves breaking down each component of the app you plan to create and evaluating the resources you would require. There are project managers, developers, designers, testers, and more when it comes to building a development team. Based on your requirements, you can hire as many as you want or simply outsource your project to an app development company.  

Step 4: Monetizing Your Travel Booking App 

There are multiple ways to make money from a travel booking app. The main ways include commission, advertisements, and acting as a reseller. All three ways offer different benefits and downsides; consult with your travel app development company for better insights based on your particular requirements.  

a. Reseller Model 

In this model, you can partner with the hotel for a minimum guarantee based on your sales numbers. You can book/reserve flights, hotels, car rentals, etc., for people you think would absolutely make the booking. While you get a bulk and reseller discount, you get to choose the amount you charge your customers.  

b. Commission  

The commission model is where you charge a particular fee for anything booked through your platform. This model is hugely popular in the industry and is used by giants like Booking.com. If you plan to implement this model, you should avail of commission tracking features discussed previously.  

c. Advertisement Model  

Advertisement is a loosely implemented model in the industry but can turn out to be the most potentially capable one. You can advertise in a pay-per-click way or simply sell sponsored positions to hotels for each city or area. There are different ways to implement this one, but one needs to take a look at your requirements before deciding which one would suit best.   


Ready to Get Your Travel Booking App Developed?   

We hope we were able to deliver everything you were looking for before deciding on building a travel booking app. You can always trust us to be your unbiased consultants if you have any doubts or concerns about anything. All you need to do is contact us, and we will allocate experienced consultants to solve all your queries.   

Our mobile app development teams have a range of experience in building apps for different industries. We have worked in the travel industry to create various booking apps for different businesses. If you are planning your own travel booking app, we can help you with our expertise to build you the perfect app.  

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