How to Make a Hotel App Like Booking.com
The travel and tourism industry is prospering continually and is showing a steady year-over-year growth around the globe. Today, the online travel industry is the main reason for the boom in tourism. The Internet has made life easier for many by bringing services to people’s living rooms. The ability to book hotel rooms, vacation itineraries, flights, and other services online has made travel preparations so much simpler than in the earlier days.
Booking.com is one of the leading travel fare aggregators in the world. It is constantly developing due to effective management and useful features. Therefore, app developers are trying to duplicate the success of Booking.com all the time. This article details how to make a hotel app like Booking.com.
Steps involved in creating a hotel app like Booking.com
To simplify the app development process, take a look at the steps mentioned below. Following this procedure not only produces an application such as Booking.com but does so in a budget-friendly manner.
- Do not begin coding the app at first
- Understand your high-level objectives
- Enumerate the features in your application
- Choose the perfect OS for the app
- Application design
- Backend coding
- Frontend coding
- Landing page creation
- Creating an analysis system
- App publication
Before you can understand how to make a hotel app similar to Booking.com, you need to know more about this service.
What is Booking.com?
Apart from being a travel fare aggregator, Booking.com also acts as a travel metasearch engine for making your reservations. Initially formed in the year 1996 by Geert-Jan Bruinsma as bookings.nl, the company was merged with Bookings Online four years later. Expedia refused to buy bookings.nl in 2002. Finally, in 2005, Priceline Group purchased the company for $133 million.
At present Booking.com is primarily owned and operated by United States-based Booking Holdings. Its headquarters are located in Amsterdam. With more than 28 million listings in over 148,000 locations, Bookings.com is a worldwide travel aggregator. To understand the true impact of the application, simply consider that it is responsible for more than 1.5 million room bookings and reservations every day. To offer greater local support, the company behind the application has integrated support for 43 languages in its system.
How to make a hotel booking app?
Now that you know a little more about your primary competitor, here is a detailed look at how you can create a similar app to attract travelers and tourists.
1. Do not begin coding the app at first
The coding of the application is the most expensive and tricky part of developing a travel aggregator application similar to Bookings.com. While you may feel enticed to begin the coding process straight away, doing so will further complicate the entire procedure. Developers charge around twenty dollars per hour when hiring offshore talents. In the case of Silicon Valley developers, the hourly rate may range up to two hundred dollars. Therefore, before engaging developers in the coding process, it is better to layout an appropriate design scheme and plans for the application.
Do not let your eagerness to code compromise the quality of the finished product. Not only does premature coding lead to technical difficulties as the project progresses, but it can also drastically increase the budget for app development.
Start with market research to understand what your target audience desires from such an application. Design a unique selling point for the program to create a distinction between Bookings.com and your designed app. Gather feedback from your future customers before starting to code.
2. Listing high-level objectives
Countless companies are developing travel-related applications each day. However, only a few succeed in making a mark. Those that succeed do so simply because they have clear and distinct high-level goals to follow. Writing down these objectives should help you target an audience for the application. Failing to integrate goals generally results in a forgivable experience for clients. To ensure the best approach, apply a Business Model Canvas, Load Startup Method, and purchase the Start Owners Manual.
Please read the article How to Make an App for detailed guidelines.
3. Listing the most important features
When you master the features you want to include in the application, it answers a major part of the question as to how to make an app like Booking.com. For any travel-related application, here are some of the most important features.
- Hotel Owner app
- Administration app
- Guest app.
The hotel owner app mainly caters to hotel owners who are looking to list their properties for booking on your application. The guest part of the application is designed for consumers who are looking to book hotel rooms and other services during their upcoming travel. Lastly, the administration app connects the owner and the guest application, ensuring the proper functionality of the application, while also resolving issues faced by either side of the transaction.
The following checklist of features should help you prepare the feature list for your application.
- The screen for booking the accommodation
- User registration for new clients on the platform
- Push notifications to notify users regarding updates and useful information
- A messaging system that can help travelers communicate with hotels and other service providers.
- A cancellation policy through which guests can easily modify or revoke their reservations.
- The ability to book a stay and also support for payment of outstanding bills.
- A special admin panel to monitor the transaction between the hotels and the guests.
- A simple and convenient search facility through which guests can find the desired hotel or other services.
To understand each of these features better, here is a detailed look at them.
New user registration – While registration is important for any application when it comes to travel-related apps, mandatory registrations can limit your reach and popularity with the target audience. Instead, you can allow consumers to use the core functionality of the application without registering, which is booking tours or hotels. A better option is providing social media logins to guests, which can reduce the time-consuming nature of registration through emails and passwords.
Bookings screen for accommodation – The primary purpose of your designed app is to allow guests to choose and book hotels during a specific period. A well-designed booking screen can considerably increase engagement. Do not incorporate too many details or features on this page. Instead, ensure that it includes all of the necessary fields so that users can input their data. A geolocation tracking feature is also a good option for this booking screen, as it can aid people when making last-minute bookings.
In-app messaging facility – During the hotel booking process, your users may have certain queries regarding the room they booked or about other facilities. You need to offer a viable way of communication between the hotel staff and the guest to resolve all such queries. The messaging service within your app can do this effectively. Guests can interact directly with the hotel’s representatives before booking a room at the property.
Push notifications – Booking.com has an effective push notification system in place, which educates guests regarding their bookings. Furthermore, your application should also implement a notification system through which you can inform users about ongoing offers and discounts. This can have a marked impact on your profit and revenue generation in the long-term.
Search facility – If you ask how to make an app like Booking.com, you must already be aware of the huge role the search feature plays in the success of that app and of other similar travel-related applications. With this feature in tow, users can search for hotels by name or simply search using locations. Adding filters to your search option is another great way to increase the convenience of using your applications.
Details about the accommodation – Always include an accommodation detail page for your Booking.com-like application. Users want to know more about a property they choose to stay during their vacation. Listed below are some features that your accommodation detailing page needs to include.
- Image gallery showcasing the hotel and its rooms
- Basic information regarding the hotel
- Book Now button
- Option for adding the property to the user’s favorite list
- A list of reviews
- More information regarding the various facilities available in the hotel and the room in general.
Booking and paying for the stay – Booking a hotel room is a must-have feature for any travel aggregator application. However, aside from reservations, you also need to implement a safe, secure, and proper payment system within your application as well. Booking.com allows payment through credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and even cash payments at the hotel reception. Ensure you provide as many payment options as you can to engage the maximum number of users
Cancellation facility – While you want users to book hotels through your application, you must also provide an easy method of cancellation if they are displeased with the hotel booking or have other plans at the time. Study the cancellation policies followed by the biggest travel websites today and design a similar approach. You must also lay down a proper feature regarding refunds when it comes to hotel booking cancellations.
Admin panel – While hotels and guests are your target audience for the travel app, you also need to establish proper managerial support for the program. The only viable way to manage listings and maintain a record of important data is through the integration of management solutions in the application. Therefore, besides considering the cost of creating the user experience, you must invest in such backend solutions as well.
Without even one of these features in place, you cannot hope to recreate the success of Booking.com.
4. Select the platform of choice
People often feel that designing an app that has cross-platform support draws in most consumers. However, when establishing a new application, trying to launch the app across iOS and Android platforms at once is not ideal. For one, cross-platform development increases the cost of development, while also complicating the procedure immensely. Therefore, to ensure all-round better development for the program, choose either Android or iOS as your launch platform. Later, you can proceed with development for the other platform.
Almost 80% of smartphone users today are on Android. Therefore, if you want to captivate the masses, this may be the better platform for you. On the other hand, the 20% smartphone users on Apple’s operating system occupy a more niche category. These consumers generally have greater financial backing and spending ability. Therefore, catering to the iOS crowd can help you generate more revenue in the short term.
Choose carefully and understand the pros and cons of development on the two platforms. Publishing an app on the iOS platform is costlier and trickier when compared to publishing on Google’s Play Store.
5. Design & Use Templates
Design your hotel booking application
The wireframe of the application refers to the sketch for the app’s design before coding the program. It showcases how the finished app is supposed to look.
The mock-up enhances the wireframe with animated pictures and colors. Lastly, prototyping the application allows users to interact with several page objects.
Prioritizing these design concepts before starting the actual coding can greatly help when trying to achieve a specific look. It also saves you from spending money uselessly when coding the program. Apart from its cost-saving functionality, investing time designing the mockup, wireframe, and prototype can also afford a learning experience. You can easily rectify functions and features that you feel have a problem at this stage. However, if you proceed to the development stage without undertaking wireframing, prototyping, and mockup creation, you may need to spend a great deal of money to initiate similar changes in your application. Listed below are some reasons why you must design the app before coding.
- The experience is enjoyable as you see your app creation dreams become a reality.
- You can change the designs faster than you can implement such changes in your app code.
- You can design the application without seeking help from professional designers.
- Even if you do need help from professionals, hiring a designer is cheaper when compared to hiring a developer. Some high-quality app developers charge up to $200 per hour.
Therefore, take some time to design how the app is supposed to look before you begin the application coding.
Templates for your hotel booking app
Templates will shorten the development cycle and avoid you reinventing the wheel. Below two great app template examples to start with:
Booking App: Android hotel app template
MyHotel: iOS/Android hotel app template
Places: Locations app template
6. Focus on creating the back-end
The application coding should begin with the back-end. The part of an app that users notice is just a small part of the entire system. The majority of the functionalities are controlled by the back-end processes designed within the application. Most of the tasks for the app are completed through an effective back-end. For instance, API generation, data retrieval & storage, and business rules are just some of the things that a fully functioning application’s back-end should perform.
You have two major options when coding backend for the application.
- You can code the backend platform from scratch.
- You can choose from one of the Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers to offer back-end solutions.
Advantages of picking BaaS – Those opting for Backend-as-a-Service acquire the following benefits due to their choice.
- Increased speed of development as developers do not need to invest time in coding a backend platform from scratch. This results in faster app publishing.
- The expense of development is reduced since the majority of the backend service is already present. Developers simply need to tweak certain aspects to fit your needs.
- BaaS already includes the necessary infrastructure, thereby reducing your hassle drastically.
When it comes to effective BaaS service providers, you have several options to choose from.
- AWS Amplify
Advantage of picking custom back-ends – The only benefit of using a custom backend is that it offers greater flexibility when it comes to customization.
However, creating such a back-end for the app is much costlier when compared to BaaS solutions. Moreover, coding such a back-end takes longer, which, in turn, increases the time to market for the program.
7. Front-end coding
The aesthetic appeal of the front-end design is immensely important in determining whether your app attracts users or fails to catch their eyes. Your app must have a clean, simple, and feature-rich appearance. Decide whether you want to develop a Web app, a Native app, or a Hybrid mobile application.
Native apps refer to the programs that are integrated into the hardware and operating system of a device. These applications have better visuals, performance, and can even run without Internet connectivity.
Web apps, on the other hand, do not have direct access to the hardware or the OS for the device. This limits their functionality greatly. However, this type of app is perfect when you are looking for a budget-friendly and fast development process. Internet connectivity is integral for such apps.
Hybrid apps are simple native apps that integrate the web view within it. It allows streamlined development for cross-platform support. Hybrid apps are cheaper to develop, while also guaranteeing a superior user experience. Hybrid apps can work without an Internet connection.
8. Produce an app landing page
The landing page showcases the value of your application. If you are seeking answers to how to make an app like Booking.com, preparing your landing page is crucial. The main objective of the landing page is to encourage visitors on the page to download your application. Such a page can also increase the reputation and credibility of your company or product. A perfect landing page should also provide information regarding the app developer and its goals.
9. Establish analytical database
An analytics dashboard for your application allows you to study and comprehend essential metrics, which may aid in app improvement in the future. Using the dashboard, you can understand how the app users are interacting or spending time on the application. The insights you derive from this data can help you devise better features or implement updates for the application.
Analytics also help monitor your goals, in the form of total app downloads, ratings, and reviews. Utilize this information to optimize the application.
10. App Publishing
It is simpler to publish the application on the Google Play Store, as the approval process is more streamlined when compared to publishing on Apple’s platform.
Even when following these steps, you must understand and appreciate the fact that travel applications are widespread today. You need to introduce new and unique features to make your service stand out from the rest. If the unique selling proposition is attractive enough, your project may match or even surpass the popularity that Booking.com enjoys at the moment.