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As the world recovers from the far-reaching impact of the global pandemic, we can expect an increase in travel locally and internationally. We are also looking at an increasing rate of online travel bookings. Data shows that mobile travel bookings increased from 31% in 2019 to 41% in 2021, thanks to the convenience, accessibility, and savings opportunities offered by travel and hotel booking apps.
Build Your Booking App to Stay Competitive
If you manage a business in the hotel and travel industries, creating a hotel reservation app or booking engine (an app used in websites and social media pages that allow users to book reservations without leaving the page) can help you reach and attract more customers.
Hotel booking app development can take your business to the next level. But what does it take to have a hotel booking app or booking engine that many people will love? Hiring professional app developers with extensive technical knowledge and experience is a given, but there’s more to creating a hotel booking application that satisfies travelers and vacationers.
Tips on How To Build a Hotel Booking Engine or App
Here are some tips on how to build a hotel booking engine or mobile app:
Study the Competition
Booking.com is the biggest hotel booking app in the world. It has over 135 million guest reviews and 127 million listed properties for users to choose from. Users can find many travel accommodations here, like apartments, long-term home rentals, bed and breakfasts, and large hotels.
Airbnb is another major competitor: globally popular, trendy, and offers unique features like “Split Stays,” which allow users to split reservations that span more than one week across two different properties.
Learning how these apps work and dissecting their strengths, weaknesses, and features will give you insight into what pleases customers. It doesn’t mean you should try and replicate these apps; it will be tough, not to mention expensive. Instead, look for inspiration and ideas on how your hotel app design can be better than these bigger and older competitors.
Choose and Focus on a Target Market
Hotel booking apps can be classified into three types based on function and target users:
- For Travel Agents: Apps that offer bookings for things people need while traveling or on vacation, like car rentals, tour packages, flights, and restaurant reservations.
- For Aggregators: Apps that aggregate available hotel rooms and lodgings within a geographic area, showing their prices, amenities, and reviews to help travelers choose the best accommodations that fit their budget.
- For Hoteliers: Apps created for hotel chains where customers can conveniently reserve rooms and claim perks or discounts exclusive to the chain.
We recommend choosing one of these three and focusing on meeting the needs of its target audience for your first attempt at hotel booking app development. You can always expand your app’s functionality and accommodate the other two markets later after you’ve perfected the functionalities for your primary audience.
List the High-level Objectives for Your App
This is closely related to choosing a market and app type. Decide what you want your app to do and be known for. Do you want it to be like Booking.com with extensive hotel listings? Hotels.com, which gives the best deals and reservations for affordable hotels? Or HotelTonight, which lets users make same-day reservations from hotels, motels, and boutique lodgings?
Identifying high-level objectives helps focus your attention and resources toward developing features that matter the most. This leads us to the next tip.
List the Features You Want Your App To Have
Be specific about your hotel app design and identify the features you want to develop. To start you off, here are examples of hotel reservation app features that customers appreciate:
- Booking alerts or notifications for hoteliers and travel agents.
- Multiple payment gateways, such as online banking, credit card, or debit card.
- Google Maps integration.
- Chat or private messaging.
- Gmail, Outlook, or email client integration.
- Guest and reservation history.
- Real-time room availability.
- Customizable and varied search filters.
Choose A Hotel API (Application Programming Interface)
Selecting a hotel API is crucial to booking app development. A hotel API is a web service that provides real-time information about the availability of hotel rooms, their rates, and other information like amenities. Hotel APIs feed crucial information into hotel booking apps, making it possible for users to find and reserve accommodations for their travels.
Many years ago, when hotels started digitizing their processes and made online bookings possible, each establishment or hotel chain kept their reservation information private. People who want to book rooms in a specific hotel must go to their official website and book from there. Hoteliers quickly realized the advantage of making their available rooms more accessible and started to share APIs.
Today, the hotel industry is connected through API portals that retrieve room inventory information and allow guests to book rooms through various hotel reservation apps and websites.
Here are the top APIs today:
- TripAdvisor API
- Airbnb API
- Expedia API
- Amadeus API
- Hotelbeds API
Work With an Expert Hotel Booking App Development Company
The final and most important tip for building a hotel app is to find a competent hotel booking app development company. Experience in hotel app design and app development is an advantage, especially if the app you envision requires a high level of coding expertise.
You’ll find these criteria and more at Jackrabbit Mobile. We are a custom digital solutions company that empowers businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs by developing apps that enhance their services and satisfy their customers. Our developers build customized products for clients from various industries from our headquarters in Texas.
Contact Jackrabbit Mobile today to discuss your plans and goals for your hotel booking app.
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