To develop a Hotel Booking App Successfully: Step-by-step instruction in 2023

Although the COVID-19 pandemic made a significant impact on almost industries, the travel and tourism market still grew significantly over the past year and is going to reach $833.5 billion in 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the growth of the digital travel market as physical travel agencies faced operational limitations and people turned to online platforms to make travel arrangements. This shift in consumer behaviour has led to increased investments in digital travel technologies, such as virtual reality tours, personalised recommendation systems, and mobile apps. Many hotels are eager to make up for lost revenue since the demand is growing continuously.

Let’s take a quick glance at the statistic:

  • 72% of worldwide sales in tourism and travel will be made online by 2025
  • 70% of users research places to travel on their smartphone
  • The conversion rates on mobile apps are 5 times higher than on mobile websites. 

In this article, we will walk with you through the process of developing a hotel booking app and provide you with step-by-step instructions and best practices to get started.

hotel booking app

1. Hotel Booking App

1.1. Overview

Online booking has become more popular among consumers as 57% of all travel reservations in the US are made online.

The travel and tourism industry is growing continuously, and with the rise of online bookings, a hotel booking app is a must-have for any hotel or accommodation vendor. In the United States, the three largest online booking agencies for travel — Expedia, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor — account for 45% of the online travel market

Having a booking app on a smartphone to make a hotel reservation is now simple, quick and convenient.

1.2. Types of Hotel Booking Apps

  • Hotel Consolidator Apps/ Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): These apps allow you to search for and compare prices and deals from multiple hotels or booking sites in one place. Examples of aggregator apps include Booking.com, Expedia, and Kayak 
  • Mobile Apps for Hotel Chains: These are apps developed and maintained by specific hotels or hotel chains, which allow users to book rooms directly with the hotel. Examples include the Marriott Bonvoy app and Hilton Honors app
  • Last-Minute Hotel Booking Apps: These apps focus on finding and booking last-minute hotel booking plans and usually offer rooms with significant discounts that have the possibility of going unbooked. Examples include HotelTonight and Overnight
  • All-in-one Travel Apps: These apps can meet various travel demands, such as hotel booking, travel package booking, flight booking, taxi booking, even weather forecasts and local events, etc. 
  • Alternative Accommodations Booking Apps: These apps focus on booking alternative types of accommodations like vacation rentals, apartments, hostels, and bed and breakfasts. Examples include Airbnb, Hostelworld, and HomeAway

1.3. How does a hotel booking app work?

A hotel booking app works by connecting users with hotels and collecting commission on each booking. The app typically works in the following way:

2. Advantages of building a Hotel Booking App

2.1. For Hotel Owners

  • Set the price by themselves: Hotel owners may know the prices of their rivals in the hotel booking industry, thus always setting a profitable price. 
  • Reach a larger number of customers: More people nowadays choose to book rooms through apps, rather than calling local hotels and comparing the prices. The app which has a popular rating can provide more guests for the hotel. 
  • Increased brand awareness: A hotel booking app can help hotels increase their visibility to potential guests. This is because these apps are often used by travellers who are looking for hotels to book.
  • Track the effectiveness: Hotel booking apps can provide analytics data, which can be used to track the performance of the hotel’s online presence. This data can be used to identify trends and make improvements.
  • Get feedback: Hotel booking apps can collect guest feedback, which can be used to improve the hotel’s services and amenities.
  • Language assistance: Guests can book hotels in their preferred language. This can be helpful for hotel owners who are not fluent in the language of the country visitors come from.
  • Increased revenue: With the help of the convenient and user-friendly app, you can attract more customers and generate more bookings, which leads to growth revenue.
  • Automation of process: Hotel staff no longer need to do many routine tasks manually with automated reservations, check-ins, and check-outs. The booking system will automatically adjust the number of available rooms and even send instant messages to customers. Plus, such software can calculate the cost of living, extra room service, and more.

2.2. For customers

  • Get the best offer: Hotel booking apps often display rates from various travel websites, ensuring that users can find the best possible prices for their desired stay. This not only saves time but also helps travellers make informed decisions based on their budgetary constraints.
  • Book rooms before the travel date: Most hotel booking apps allow customers to book rooms up to 12 months in advance.
  • Vast selection of options available at fingertips: Unlike in previous days, hotel booking apps now provide access to a wide range of hotels, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts, allowing users to find accommodations that suit their preferences and budget.
  • Various payment channels: With the vast development of the internet, users can pick one from a variety of payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards, bank transfers, in-app payments, online banking or even cash payment. 
  • Loyalty points: The longer time you stay at an app, the more loyalty points you can gain. You can purchase your points with money, voucher or coupon. 
  • Language support: A language translator will help users to understand the app and to communicate with hotels.
  • Additional Services: Hotel booking apps often come with additional features like maps, directions, weather forecasts and customer support services. These functionalities enhance the overall travel experience by providing easy navigation assistance and prompt assistance in case of any issues or concerns during the stay.
  • Mobile check-in: Some hotel booking apps allow users to check into their hotel from their mobile devices. This can save time and hassle, as users do not have to go to the front desk to check-in.

3. Something you should consider before starting developing

  • The type of app: There are two main types of hotel booking apps: general apps that allow users to book rooms in hotels from a variety of different providers, and specific apps that allow users to book rooms in hotels from a particular chain or group. The type of app that the business chooses will depend on its target market and goals.
  • The distribution area: The business needs to decide which countries or regions it wants to target with its app. This will affect the features and functionality of the app, as well as the marketing strategy.
  • The features and functionality: The business needs to decide which features and functionality it wants to include in its app. This will depend on the needs of its target market and the competition. 
  • The marketing strategy: The business needs to develop a marketing strategy to promote its app and attract users. This may include online and offline marketing, such as social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and paid advertising.
  • The budget: The business needs to determine how much it is willing to invest in developing and marketing its app. The budget will affect the features and functionality of the app, as well as the marketing strategy.

4. Must-have features Needed to be included

  • Registration and Profile Creation: When it comes to bookings, saving payment details or chatting, registration is important. Most platforms use an email/ phone number with a password to sign up, but social login (Google, Twitter or Facebook, etc.) is also a popular and convenient way. 
  • Information about the accommodation: Present a VR tour or photos of your hotel can help users witness their future stay and assist them in making decisions for their booking. Regarding last-minute bookings, integrating the location tracking feature can help customers find hotels “near me” and make the user experience much better. 
  • Different Payment types: After booking the hotels, mobile app users can easily proceed with the payment mode of their choice. Your app must support numerous payment modes in a safe and transparent manner, from debit cards, credit cards to e-wallets. 
  • Booking & Cancellation: When the user decides to book a stay and pay for it via the app, create a screen where users can see all the vital information regarding the stay and integrate a payment gateway in the app. If users want to cancel their booking in case of an emergency, having an appropriate policy to make sure you can protect both customers and hotels.  
  • Recommendation Engine: Suggestions are always a good booster for conversion, especially it is based on user search queries and personalised for their objectives.
  • In-app Messages: Help users to chat directly with the hotel to clarify some details or ask for something, there’s no need to add audio chat or video call. Integrating AI to build a chatbot that can answer FAQs is now an emerging trend. 
  • Feedback: Allow users to provide reviews and ratings to share their experiences with others. 
  • Categories & Search Filters: Allow users to search and choose the right hotel based on their specific demands. Remember to display all offers but with these sortings first: location, dates, cost, review score, and additional services (Wi-Fi, parking, etc.). 
  • Push Notifications: Bring a better user experience by sending notifications and alerts to keep them updated about: Check-in/ Check-out alerts, interesting places and activities nearby, special deals, offers, discounts or weather information and forecast
  • Multiple language support: If your app wants to serve international customers, don’t forget to add language translation to help hotel staff interact with customers in their native language. 
  • Chatbot: A virtual travel assistant will enhance users’ experience by providing 24/7 support and navigation, it can help them a lot in searching for hotels, booking a stay or even managing the trip.

5. Steps of developing a hotel booking app

STEP 1: Market research and analysis: One of the most important things you need to do when starting to develop a hotel booking app is to thoroughly understand the market and how your competitors survive. The more data you have access to, the better decisions can be made. But remember to analyse them in a proper way to make sure you take full advantage of them.

STEP 2: Plan and Discovery Phase: After realising the idea of your hotel booking app’s features, it’s time to start to create the initial design of your app and work with the development team to understand what you are trying to make and stay involved throughout the entire process. Remember that necessary features might leave your users frustrated and make them uninstall your app

STEP 3: UI/UX Design: The UI is the first thing users will see, so it’s important to make sure it’s attractive and easy to use. Use a variety of design elements, such as colours, fonts, and images, to create a visually appealing and user-friendly UI. Also, make sure that your app design is easy to use and accessible to all users, this is UX design.

STEP 4: Development Process: The backend is the part of the app that handles the data and logic. This includes things like storing user information, processing payments, and managing bookings. The backend is essential for the app to function properly, so it’s important to develop it carefully. Turning to front-end development, you should build the server-side of your product, including user interface, client-side logic, and then integrate it with the back-end.

When developing, the first step toward is to build an MVP that ensures low development costs and effort. This could help you define how many users accept your app idea before investing more money into scaling your app.

STEP 5: Testing: Once the app is developed, it’s important to test it thoroughly to make sure it works properly. Depending on the web app functionalities and features, following testing methods can be used:

  • UI/UX Testing: evaluate components’ interactivity with customers
  • Functionality Testing: determine whether the product meets the specified requirements
  • Regression Testing: check if modification breaks the website’s overall flow
  • Compatibility Testing: check the software’s functionality utilising an operating system, an app, mobile devices and a network environment.

STEP 6: Release: Once the app is tested and ready to go, it’s time to release it to the public. This involves submitting the app to the app store and promoting it to potential users.

STEP 7: Maintenance & Updating: After deployment, remember to regularly maintain and update your web app to ensure it remains secure, stable and up-to-date with the latest technologies and user needs. Updating the app will help you to keep users engaged and satisfied.

6. Tech Stack

  • Front-end development: ReactJS, Angular, 
  • Back-end development: Node.js, Phyton, PHP, ; database – Postgres, MongoDB, MySQL, 
  • Mobile development:  iOS – Swift, Android – Java,
  • Web development: Javascript, HTML, CSS, Vue.js, React.js
  • Databases: Firebase, MySQL, MongoDB, 
  • Multiple payment modes:  PayPal, Braintree, Stripe
  • SMS, Phone Verification, Voice: Twillio, Nexmo
  • Email management: Mandrill
  • User location tracking and map integration: MapKit, Google Maps API,  CoreLocation
  • Push notifications: Twilio, Push.io
  • In-app messaging and calling: Twilio
  • Calendar: Google Calendar API
  • Maps: Google Maps API
  • Real-time analysis: Apache Flink or Kafka
  • Cloud environment: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft Azure.

7. How much does it take to build a hotel booking app?

The cost and time of developing a Hotel Booking App will depend on many factors like:

  • Tech stack
  • Platform choices (iOS, Android, website…)
  • Functionality
  • Design
  • Team size
  • Hourly rates
  • Developer’s qualifications

We’ll look at thhe app development cost by location of the development team, it varies from $45,000 to $280,000. It can be seen that choosing a dedicated team from South Asia would help you reduce a lot in building your telemedicine app.

If you don’t have an in-house development team, partnering with a vendor is the best and most cost-efficient option for you. By finding vendors from other countries with a lower cost of living, you can also save money and repurpose them for other business expenses like marketing activities. Some tips that you need to consider when finding a reliable vendor:

  • Set your goal and budget for your project first
  • Choose the most suitable type of software developers you want to hire (mobile developers
  • Create a job description with specific requirements
  • Use supporting tools like Google, IT sites. Platforms such as Clutch, UpCity, GoodFirms, Top Developers, Techreviewer etc. perform analysis based on customer’s feedback to create useful industry rank lists, you can also use them as well
  • Always check companies’ portfolios, case studies and experience before picking any of them

>>> Read more: 10 Reasons why you should Hire Remote Software Developers from Vietnam

8. How can you make money from a Hotel Booking App?

There are a few ways that a hotel booking app can make money.

  • Commission: The most common way for hotel booking apps to make money is through commission. This means that the app takes a percentage of the booking fee when a user books a hotel through the app. The percentage of commission varies from app to app, but it is typically around 10-20%.
  • Advertising: Another way for hotel booking apps to make money is through advertising. This means that the app displays ads to users in exchange for a fee. The ads can be displayed in a variety of ways, such as in the app’s search results, on the app’s home page, or in the app’s notifications.
  • Subscription fees: Some hotel booking apps charge a subscription fee to access their services. This is typically a monthly or annual fee, and it gives users access to features such as early booking, exclusive discounts, and priority customer service.
  • Partnerships: Hotel booking apps can also make money through partnerships with hotels. This means that the app partners with a hotel to promote the hotel’s rooms on the app. The hotel typically pays the app a fee for each booking that is made through the partnership.

The best way for a hotel booking app to make money depends on the app’s target market and goals. For example, an app that is targeting business travellers may focus on commission, while an app that is targeting leisure travellers may focus on advertising.

Conclusion

To wrap up, developing a successful hotel booking app requires focusing on user experience, integrating third-party APIs for real-time data access, offering personalization features, ensuring compatibility across devices/platforms, as well as regularly updating the app based on user feedback. By considering these factors during the development process, you can create an exceptional hotel booking app that stands out from competitors in this fast-paced industry. Summer is coming and the travel & tourism industry will grow significantly this year. It’s the right time to develop a hotel booking app now! Become one of the first to benefit from hotel booking app development!

If you want to choose a reliable technology partner in Asia to build your hotel booking app, contact us to start together today! AgileTech is an experienced technology outsourcing company that has intense experience in this market, so we can help you with building web and mobile products and creating a clear picture for your business to succeed. Maybe your product will be outstanding in the hotel booking app industry.

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