Once Bill Gates said, “If your business is not on the Internet, then you will be out of business”. Having an asset without promoting is not enough for building successful business. It does not make sense to build a hotel and keep it in secret from the audience. Your managers and eventual passengers will be the only ones who will know about its existence.
You might go further and create a website for attracting customers. However, you are making a huge mistake supposing your PR campaign is done. Significant work is ahead if you are planning to become a serious competitor and conquer a piece of the touristic services market.
Why you definitely should create a hotel booking application
According to Statista, mobile traffic share is about 39% in 2016. Since 2009 a number of users who prefer browsing the net through mobile devices, has been increased for about 40 times! Ok, then, you think, why not to optimize existing website for smartphones instead of creating a mobile application?
The answer is in analysis of mobile traffic. Flurry Analytics’ research showed that 90% of time on mobile is spent in applications and only 10% in browsers. Apps are more functional and more comfortable to use for clients. Moreover, they are branded. Every time user browses menu of his smartphone he comes across your app icon. You know what may happen next, right? More frequent opening leads to higher number of orders.
Make market research
If you have already got any kind of hotel and just are on your way to business promotion, then you must know your demand, market volume and competitors. Have you learned which competitors have a website or an application? How do they promote their business? What kind of marketing tools do they use for promotion? You have to be better in every aspect to beat them.
Knowing the market will help you define your potential income and plan necessary functions for your future app. Learning the market is critical for understanding how many foreign tourists will potentially visit your hotel if you have one, what hotel services you should additionally provide besides hosting and even what interior design to implement.
It does not matter whether you are going to develop a hotel booking app for your own property or to create another Airbnb or BackTracker. Anyway, understanding your industry market will help you reach better results due to realizing where to move next.
Define your target audience
In case your own hotel has already succeeded to host its first travelers, then you are right on the stage when you know your target audience and have a bright portrait of your customer. Otherwise, no mobile application or a website will save your business. If you are about to build another TripAdvisor or Booking, you should at least understand how your service will differ from current solutions.
Booking hotel app development requires existence of unique selling point (USP). This is why you are better than you competitors. At least one feature has to be different and important enough to attract clients.
Choose a development platform
On this stage you have to decide which platform you are going to use to build a hotel reservation app on: iOS, Android or both. Our recommendations will be – use both ones. It will cost you more money, but new clients will balance your expenses on hotel booking app development.
IPhone owners tend to spend more money on purchases on their smartphones than Android owners do. It means one group of users is more solvent audience than the other. However, it does not have any influence in HoReCa industry. Both types of users travel and book hotels equally.
Monetization model selection
Now it is time to decide whether to monetize your application and how (if Yes). This is a very important step because an app for hotel reservation can become an additional income source. On the other hand, paid application can make your visitors avoid using your app because they will have to pay twice: for renting a suite and for using your application.
Types of app monetization:
- Freemium model,
- Paid download.
If you do not want to scare potential users with the necessity to pay for using your app, but you still want to get additional income, you have to take posting ads from your partners (not competitors) into consideration. Your application will still be free for your customers and this is advertisers who will pay you for a possibility to offer their services or products to your users.
However, you should remember that too many ads annoy users. Frequent notifications and pop-ups make customers angry, so they may remove your precious application from their smartphone. If your app is going to be a kind of price aggregator, then you can monetize hotel search results by implementing sponsored offers from advertisers. So those hotel owners who pay will be on a top of search results.
If you want to make your project free in general, but you would like to offer extra paid features, it is called freemium monetization model. What extra functions can you offer your users in a hotel reservation application? One of the true features users can pay for is a possibility to book a hotel without prepayment or with a guarantee of a full refund in case of order cancellation. Some clients prefer paying for guarantees and feeling protected.
This is a monetization model when users regularly pay a small amount of money for using your application. Taking into account that your basic income in this case is hosting visitors and the application will be just a marketing tool, then you should not make them pay for using your app to book your hotel. That really sounds like a bad idea. Customers do not care what payment gateway you use and how fast they can pay. They just are not going to do that.
It is when a customer has to pay one time to download your app. Guess what will happen if you decide to monetize your hotel booking application like that. Right, few users will download it. They would rather choose another venue or just book a suite having called your administration.
Potential profit calculation
If you monetize your application, then you have to calculate how much it will cost you. It will help you understand whether this app will be profitable or not, considering audience size you will be able to attract for an exact period. Calculation and research will let you know how many customers you can get due to your application taking into account its cost.
Break-even point calculation
Break-even point is the moment when your application pays off and starts generating clean profit. An app’s break-even point calculation makes sense when you monetize it. You have to estimate a number of future users you can get for some period as closely as possible. Having these numbers, you will understand when you begin to get profit and how much time you will need to invest until this moment comes. Break-even order value will let you know how much money to charge to reach this point.
Application functionality planning
When you made calculations, forecasted all possible risks, defined why you needed an application for hotel reservation, you could start making a draft list of necessary functions your app would possess. Think what your customers would like to see in this application, what would be useful for them when they plan to travel and when they look for a venue for several days or weeks.
Think how you would be able to help them make the best choice they can afford: different sorting, feedbacks, geolocation, virtual reality tours or some custom settings. The research you have made on the beginning will help you.
UX/UI design development
When you did your homework it came time to define how you want your app to look like. Material design, which was created by Google, is a trend in website and application development. Its basic principles are based on rational usage of space, correct combination of colors, lights and shadows, simple and direct text, and intuitively clear design when users can forecast where to click to find information they need.
This is a mix of motions, patterns, logic, and laconic beauty realized in one small app. Material design is a principle meaning users like to browse your application and they can easily find necessary data in an enjoyable interface.
How much does it cost to develop a hotel booking app?
The cost of app development depends on the platform, difficulty, a list of necessary functions, needed work time and location where you will hire a team of developers. Let’s consider programmers’ average hourly rates in the USA.
- Atlanta – $60 per hour;
- Austin – $50 per hour;
- Boston – $75 per hour;
- San Francisco – $125 per hour;
- New York – $130 per hour.
In Europe, ordinary prices are around $20-50 per hour for iOS and Android app development.
So hotel booking app development will cost you about $9.000 in the US and approximately $3.000 in Europe in case you need a simple app with basic functions of suite selection, feedbacks, venues descriptions and an order form.
Where to find reliable app development company?
Mobile developers usually build an application strictly following customer’s requirements. Offline business owners often approach to development agencies hoping to receive professional feedback and to get tips from experienced specialists. You came across the right company that creates apps for startup businesses and well-known giants.
You will get fully functional Android or iOS application with a good design which you and your clients will be happy with. Lunapps team will provide you with the expert estimation and recommend how better to implement your ideas in mobile solutions. Be the first hotel tourists will think about when they decide to travel next time. Let your hospitality always be in people’s pockets.