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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

A Minimalist Guide to Hotel Booking App Development

A Minimalist Guide to Hotel Booking App Development

“Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance”- George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist & author of the book - Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation.

Like George Westerman said, ‘radical rethinking’ is the core area of any digital transformation process where everything gets started. The Oxford dictionary defines the term ‘radical’ as the most basic & crucial part of something, thorough and complete. As an adjective, it also refers to something new with a great effect. When we coin the word ‘radical rethinking’, it epitomizes the idea of a paradigm shift in the existing concept or thought-process. As India is creating a powerful edge when it comes to the digital transformation, every sector is anticipating the process and the hospitality sector is one of the prominent amongst others.

The traditional processes of the hospitality sector like a hotel or holiday booking asked for lots of efforts like calling the travel agencies, rigid packages, inability to check the distances between the hotels & sightseeing places are few to mention. However, as a blessing of the digital transformation, now we can book any hotel at our fingertips. The hotel booking applications are now in BOOM!

And convenience is one of the major reasons why people are getting fanatic of such hotel booking apps. Some of the leading hotels booking apps are Oyo Rooms, Trivago, Goibibo, Ixigo, Clear Trip, MakeMyTrip,etc.    

Have you ever wondered what are the key strategies we should focus on while developing a hotel booking application? Let’s discuss how we can proceed to build a great hotel booking application.

Before discussing the key strategies let’s have a look at some interesting facts founded in the Criteo research.

  • 80% of the last-minute hotel booking is done via mobile
  • The online travel agencies do 45% of their booking via mobile

These statistics reveal that mobile apps are dominating the hotel booking industry. Have you ever wondered what the key touchpoints we should consider while developing a successful hotel booking application?

Key Touchpoints

First thing First-Selecting a hotel booking app type

If you are an innkeeper, at the first step, you need to figure out your business need and the app type you want to build. The generic types of hotel booking apps are:

Hotel Aggregators

These apps just make a list of all hotels and give them to the customers. Some of the top hotel aggregators are TripAdvisor, hotels.com, booking.com, etc.

Online Travel Agencies

These apps offer the opportunity to book multiple things like flight tickets, rental cars, hotels, sight-seeing tours, visas, etc. Some of the leading online travel agencies are MakeMyTrip, Expedia, Ctrip, On The Beach, etc. 

Hotel Chain Apps

These apps provide a specific chain of hotels and allow you booking rooms within the chain. Some of the top hotel chain apps are Oyo, Hilton Honors, Marriott, etc.

Selecting an App Distribution Area

This is another crucial phase to consider before developing a hotel booking application. Select your app distribution area wisely. Instead of focusing on the local market, you can always target the international market. Nonetheless, you always need time and investment to scale up the business.

Decide your Unique Value Proposition

The term ‘Unique Value Proposition’ is known as the Unique Selling Proposition that defines what is unique about your business offerings. If you are bewildering, what will be the value proposition or what unique value your business should offer to the customers, you have to figure the UVP.

Some of the UVP’s you can look into are:

  • End moment booking deal
  • Affordable booking option
  • Free stays
  • Short stays

Sourcing Out Hotel Data

Data is a fundamental requisite for building a hotel booking application. When it comes to the ‘holidays’, people want unforgettable memories always. And they want the best of the best within their budget. The more the number of hotels, better the options customers have at their fingertips. So, it’s essential to figure out your data sources.

There are large numbers of APIs that give you access to hotel listings. Some of them are:

However, all of these API’s feature their indigenous conditions of offering access to the databases.

Basic Infrastructure: Admin Panel

The Admin Panel forms the core technical infrastructure in a hotel booking app. It offers you complete control over data, accessibility, filters, etc. Besides, the admin panel helps to manage the list and keep records of all data.

Basic Infrastructure: Admin Panel

Image courtesy: scnsoft.com

Or you can release a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) before launching the full-fledged application in the market.

Registration of New Users

The users are the core driving force of your application. So, new user registration is an imperial feature you should look into. The registration functionality generally comprises two modes viz. new user registration and guest mode. The guest mode without registration allows more conversion on your app.

Registration of New Users

Apart from typical registration, you should also allow the user to register via their social media account with the happy privacy policy. It can double up your user base as people find it as an easy option to get into your application.

Facilitating a Booking Screen

The booking screen of your application is the heart and soul of your hotel booking application. It comprises the whole package of the ‘comfort level’ that your app offers to its customers. It must have an interactive, easy, and attractive user interface allowing the user to book any accommodation with utmost convenience.  You should make sure that the booking screen should not be overloaded with unnecessary things. The clean look along with smart white space enhances the user experience. It only contains the appropriate fields for data input.

Facilitating a Booking Screen

You can also include a location tracking feature on the booking screen. It ensures more convenience while booking any hotel. This integrated location tracking feature must have a button called ‘near me’ that incredibly helps the user to go with last minute booking.

In-App Search Engine

A well-engineered in-app search engine is the foundation of a good user interface. As a whole the in-app search engine comprises the following segments:

In-App Search Engine

Flexible Filters

Filters are the hot features of any search functionality in an application. Various filters make the searching flexible.

Visualization

Visualization is a decisive part of your in-app search engine. It allows winning more customers. When we talk about winning customers, it’s the approach that visualizes search results is important. It can give interactive search results, which make it easy to find suitable accommodation as per budget. With this approach, you can show available accommodations to the users. 

Accommodation Details Screen

The accommodation detail screen is a basic part of any hotel development application. Most hotel booking app development companies gives priority to user convenience and  build simple and easy-to-go accommodation detail screen . Some of the must-have elements of this screen are:

  • Social sharing button
  • Add to favorite button
  • Photo gallery
  • Map
  • Price details
  • Basic information
  • Hotel facilities & policies
  • Call-to-action button
  • Reviews

Booking & Paying Bills

This is the stage where finally the user or customer decides to book and pay the advance payment. Therefore, the journey towards this phase should be a smooth one as per the perspective of the appealing user interface. Many hotel booking app development companies prefer hot frontend frameworks like Angular to offer a remarkable user experience.

When it’s about paying online, make your customers feel safe. Give them a smooth checkout with multiple secure payment gateways like net banking, credit/debit card, PayPal, payment at the reception, etc.  

You must create a screen offering confirmation details once a booking gets completed. This screen must have detailed information like payment status, hotel name, check-in time, room-type, meal booking, etc. You can also add a Call to Action button here to more comfort to the customers.

Cancellation Policy

The cancellation policy makes the customers feel protected during any booking. It allows them to cancel any booking during any emergency. If you don’t have a cancellation policy, people may not appreciate your hotel booking app as they find it rigid. Your cancellation policy must be flexible. Along with cancellation, you should facilitate a refunding policy if any booking gets canceled. 

Automatic Language Detection & Currency Exchange

If you have an international market, your hotel booking application must have an automatic language detection mechanism in your application. It helps to offer a more personalized experience to the customer. If one customer is accessing your application from Spain, it must trigger a pop-up saying ‘this website is in English, do you want to translate to Spanish?’The leading hotel booking app development companies offer this feature in their basic package to the customers.

Besides, the currency exchange is another convenient feature along with automatic language detection. It lightens up half of the burden tourist faces while visiting a foreign land.

In-App Messenger

Artificial Intelligence is in the air and leading hotel booking app development companiesare offering AI-powered chatbots to offer instant and real-time communication with the customers. The chat categories are fully robotic, semi-robotic, and human chat. Besides, you can put a chatbot for simple queries and assign a customer support executive for critical queries. FAQs are also smart options to keep in your app.

Push Notifications

Push notification brings back customers to use your application. They should be persuasive, engaging, and convincing. Figure out the perfect time to send push notifications to re-engage your customers. You can plan your push notifications based on the following:

  • Weather update
  • Check-in / check-out alerts
  • Special deals
  • Nearby interesting places and activities

Top Hotel Booking App Development Company in India

Everything is on mobile and India is also not lagging behind in grabbing the mobile development market. According to Good Firms, the following are the five top app development companies in India.

  • Dot Com Infoway
  • OpenXcell
  • Clarion Technologies
  • Consagous Technologies
  • Hidden Brains InfoTech

Team

A perfect team comprises efficient mobile developers is the success factor behind any trending application in the market. You need the following professionals to create an incredible hotel booking application:

  • iOS engineer
  • Android engineer
  • Back-end engineer
  • UI/UX designer
  • QA engineer
  • Project Manager

 

Conclusion

Traveling is a rejuvenating and personalized experience. To make this experience more unforgettable, a well-running hotel booking application is equally responsible apart from other traveling factors like destination, traveling mode, Visa, etc. If you can assure an unbelievable booking experience, you can be the king in this market. 

To sum up we can say that before developing a hotel booking application, figure out your hotel booking models, UVP’s, and target market in the first hand. 

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