Travel and Tourism industry has seen major shifts over the years. Apps have made the life easier. No longer are the tourists laden with guidebooks, picture postcards, maps and other printed and handwritten reference material on hotels and air travel – stuff they used to carry around to ensure they have a good tour. Now all they need is their smartphone and some apps and they are covered. Different Apps help them with every need they have. There are apps to help book tickets, book hotels, tour different cities, find the best places to wine and dine – you name it. You can compare the prices and search for best deals. Even the smartphone cameras now are more sophisticated with more features than the ones people used earlier. And yes there are different camera apps that help you edit the photographs you click much like a pro and the networking features of those apps can help you send those photos to your friends and relatives almost instantaneously.
Travel and tourism industry is huge. It was estimated to be a 6.3 trillion dollar industry in 2015. It cannot function without the innumerable apps that surround it. According to Statista, travel is the 7th most downloaded app category at Apple’s App Store. Apps have made the life of a tourist easier.
Let’s look at some of the apps that have been helping the tourists impacting the whole of travel and tourism industry.
#Apps for booking your flight, car and hotel rooms:
You can book your plane tickets on your apps. You can compare the price offered by different airlines and get the best deal on fares. Use Kayak to get the best deal on air fare, car rentals, car booking and hotel booking. You could also use other apps like TripIt which like Kayak can help you with your travel itinerary .It has several other features like helping you store your travel documents, tracking your miles etc. Hipmunk helps you find cheap flights. myTrip organises the whole trip for you. Skyscanner is useful when you are flexible with your travelling dates. Hotels.com, Trivago, Expedia, and Tripadvisor help you find the best deals on the hotels of your choice.
#Apps for finding the best seats in flights:
Now you can choose the seats you want to sit on during your long haul flights. SeatGuru provides you more than 700 seatmaps from over 100 airlines. It provides color coded maps so that you are able to see the most important information that is available on each individual seat. You will know if the seat doesn’t recline or if there isn’t enough legroom by reading the reviews. You have an aisle seat but want a window seat? It is not available? Expertflyer app can notify you as and when the seat you want becomes available. You can then contact the airline and ask them for a switch. Seat Authority can help you locate amenities for each seat. It helps you locate exit rows, bulkhead, bassinet seats and restrooms.
#Apps that help you pack:
If you hate packing or are always worried that you would forget to pack important things, there are apps like Packing Pro, and Pack Point that have you covered. The apps take into account the facts like the travel you are packing for is for leisure or business; if you would need clothes for cold weather or warm, activities you plan to take up and more and provide you right guidance.
#Apps that help you make the most of the layovers between flights:
Use Smart layover to rest, relax and recharge your batteries. You can explore the airport with airport maps, find out all about the discounted food and gifts at airport shops, use day hotels where you pay only for the hours you stay. Flight alerts from airlines and notifications ensure you don’t miss your connecting flight. You can also use GateGuru or LoungeBuddy to make the most of your time at the airport.
#Apps as a travel guide:
Almost all the major cities and towns that are of major tourist attraction now are on apps. There are apps for London, Paris, Dubai, Berlin – basically every important city has several apps for visitors. These apps provide you maps, bus-train timings and routes, details of places of interest, hidden gems which you must see, list of restaurants and pubs, shopping malls etc. They tell you about the timings of the parks, zoo or museums you could be interested in along with the details of entry fees if any. You can explore the city on your own. You can also use World Travel Guide by Triposo.
#Apps that help you socialize and share when travelling:
All social networking apps like twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and the messaging apps like WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Line, Whatsapp, Skype, Viber etc. have enabled the traveller to share his travelling experiences with the world in real time. There are other apps like VirtualTourist that has reviews from travellers on over 63,000 travel destinations. Tourists post their reviews there. They get instant feedback from friends and strangers. Loved ones no longer need to wait for the tourists to return from foreign lands with exciting tales. They can know almost every detail of the tours and vacations with the help of different narratives, photos and video posts uploaded by the travellers with the help of apps.
There are apps like WorldMate which help you in organising the complete trip. Apps like Passbook work as your boarding pass with some airlines.
How have all these apps helped the industry? Let’s count the ways.
#1 Travelling is easy: The traveller now has all the information he needs in the palm of his hands. He doesn’t need to chase tour operators or the guides to provide him the details he needs. He can plan his itinerary with ease. He knows how much a trip will cost. He can budget and finance his tours accordingly.
#2 The Traveller is in control: All these apps have put most of the controls in the hand of the traveller. He knows the best time to travel to a place. He travels in the best seats possible. He gets the best deals. He knows what he wants from the trip and where he wants to go. He stays in the hotel of his choosing, in the room he likes. He has minimised the chances of rude surprises.
#3 Apps provide the details: With the help of an app a traveller can access a lot more detail than a tour operator can provide him. Apps can list the little nooks and corners that should be visited, the tiny hole -in-the wall local eateries that the locals are fond of, the best places to shop from, the best place to view the sunset from and more. Discovery of new places enthrals the travellers.
#4 Apps provide the reviews: Most of the travel apps encourage users to post reviews. Favourable reviews encourage other travellers to indulge in the same activities and go to the same places others have visited before. Negative reviews have the adverse effect. Too many bad reviews about an airline or a hotel can harm its business. Travellers now have a way of knowing the truth. Travellers can know which rooms in a hotel have the best views or which areas to avoid after it gets dark in a new place.
#5 Apps make local brands international: Apps have made the local businesses and local airlines brand names internationally recognizable. It is easier to access the services and products. Details of a tiny motel in Santa Maria di Castellabate in Italy can be obtained from anywhere in the world with the help of an app and the bookings can be done 24 x7. Apps provide exposure to millions.
#6 Apps are the new sales channels: If an airline or a Hotel wants to push promotional offers, it can do so with the help of apps. Discount codes can be sent to the users directly. Exclusive offers can be advertised in different ways on apps.
#7 Apps have improved the travelling experience: Most of the travellers meticulously plan their trips and itineraries with the help of apps. They know what to expect. There are not caught off guard. They can check the weather and bring appropriate clothing. They do not miss their flights due to bad planning. They are able to share their experiences, photos and videos with their loved ones almost instantaneously. The apps have helped in improving the overall experience of a trip for the new world connected traveller.
#8 Industry has a way of knowing the preferences of travellers: By analysing the data generated by different apps, there is a way for the data crunchers to predict trends. They are able to know the travellers and their preferences in a better way. Airlines, Hotels and other service providers learn from the feedback and are able to improve the experience for travellers.
#9 Number of tourists is increasing: The ease of touring a foreign country in an organized and hassle free way with the help of apps encourages more and more travellers. The apps have grown the travel and tourism industry.
#10 More foreign exchange for the country: The country that has a thriving travel and tourism industry earns a good amount of foreign exchange from the foreigners. The economy on the whole improves. Everyone gains.
Apps have impacted the travel and tourism industry in a big way. There are hundreds of apps other than the ones mentioned here that are contributing majorly to the industry. We at OpenXcell have the necessary expertise to develop all kinds of travel apps for small and big service providers. Our experts can provide right consultation and guidance for the development of any travel and tourism related app you may need. We would be glad to help.