Despite the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel industry is poised to rebound stronger than ever. As an increasing number of companies adjust to hybrid workplaces, and countries around the world reopen, people want to take advantage of travel opportunities and the ability to live a more remote and flexible lifestyle. This is leading to an increase in the frequency and number of trips people are taking around the world.
According to Statista, the travel and tourism industry directly contributed approximately $4.7 trillion to gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide in 2020. The U.S. travel and tourism industry contributed $1.1 trillion, more than any other country.
The size of that incredibly large industry makes it difficult to break into, even in emerging niches such as finding cheap flights or destination travel planning. But, is it reasonable to build a new travel app to compete in the market? In our opinion, yes.
In this article, you will find insights on the most popular types of travel apps and learn about how much a travel app costs to develop.
Shall we begin?
How much does it cost to make a travel app? Many of our clients have this question on their minds. The cost of making a travel app can be affected by geographic location, app complexity, and local market conditions, among other factors. For example, developing an MVP travel app can cost between $30,000 and $40,000, whereas developing an advanced app can range from $150,000 to $250,000.
Below are some average development cost estimates for the most popular types of travel apps.
Travelers tend to book flights and holiday trips independently, which eliminates third-party agents and reduces the cost. Only 43% of airline ticket purchases are made through travel agents, meaning that apps are becoming increasingly important for customers booking tickets. More than 80% of travelers have downloaded some kind of flight booking app, and 60% of users actively use the app. Some of the most well-known ticket booking apps include Skyscanner, Kiwi, Momondo, Skiplagged, and Aviasales.
For developers or entrepreneurs to create a flight booking app from scratch, the estimated minimum price of such a project ranges from $67,000 to $115,000.
The success stories of Airbnb, Booking.com, Trivago and Hostelworld have boosted the travel industry, causing a notable increase in bookings worldwide. That’s why it’s not only hospitality professionals who are wondering how to make a hotel booking app — many startups and entrepreneurs from various industries are considering this venture, too.
For those who want to create a hotel booking aggregator app from scratch, the project would be expected to take more than 2,600 hours. The estimated minimum price ranges from $67,000 to $160,000 to create a native hotel booking app.
The world’s biggest travel platforms, including Tripadvisor, Visit A City, and TripIt, have successfully turned the industry upside down. These sites are, at their core, guestbooks: A place where people record the highs and lows of their holiday experiences for the benefit of hotel proprietors and future guests. But this massive guestbook lives on the internet, meaning it requires aggregation of information from virtually every place in the world, and a corresponding page to display and collect data about each place.
The cost of developing an app for planning a visit can range from $30,000 for a basic application with limited features to between $150,000 and $250,000 for a complex app with advanced features.
Uber is considered a true unicorn company. But that’s just one reason many founders looking to build ride-sharing apps have modeled their products on Uber’s platform. In the first quarter of 2020, users ordered 1.65 billion rides through the app, helping the company generate $15.8 billion in revenue and reach an IPO valuation of $82.4 billion.
While some apps such as Lyft, Via, Car2GO, or Zipcar have fared well, there are thousands of other ride-hailing apps available that are galaxies away from achieving the success of Uber.
So, before deciding to develop a service like Uber, you should note that it would cost around $60,000 to $150,000 for the MVP version.
According to a survey conducted by The Manifest, 77% of smartphone owners regularly use navigation apps.
Google Maps offers a higher level of detail compared to its most popular competitors, Waze, Sygic, and MapQuest. It captures building outlines, footpaths, and more, even in remote rural towns. Despite the measurably better services Google Maps offers, at least 25% of navigation app users prefer their favorite competitor app anyway, because they believe it offers better directions.
So, to build a navigation app, the minimum cost starts at $40,000 and grows in proportion to the app’s complexity. A medium-complexity navigation app costs between $60,000 and $120,000. An advanced one costs $120,000 or more.
Safety rules during the COVID-19 pandemic period made on-demand food delivery apps even more popular. Statista’s study found that around 44% of consumers in the U.S. use food delivery services at least once per month.
Although global players such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats lead competitors in the market share of food delivery orders, it is still a great time for online food startups to succeed.
The cost of developing a food aggregator app depends on the features it will include. The more complex the app, the higher the cost will be. For example, the cost of developing a food delivery app can range from
$150,000 USD for a basic application with limited features to between $250,000 and $350,000 for a multi-platform app with advanced features.
According to Statista, the global language services market was valued at approximately $49.6 billion USD in 2019. It has since risen to $56.18 billion USD in 2021, which shows a growth of more than $5 billion USD in just two years.
For those planning to develop an app like iTranslate, Google Translate, or TripLingo, note that the total cost varies from $38,000 to $158,400.
There are several vaccine tracking systems currently used to distribute and track vaccines in various countries. Among the best known are VTrckS, VAMS, IZ Data Lake, and numerous others. These apps, however, are not just individual internal systems for medical organizations. These apps require working with local authorities, approving the development with vaccine distributors, and many other considerations and partnerships.
As our company has extensive experience in designing and implementing customized systems in healthcare organizations, we know that these systems need to meet common standards and send necessary data to government databases in the case of COVID vaccine tracking.
The average cost of vaccine tracking system implementation is $37,000 to $65,000 for one basic app, and $70,000 to $150,000 for an advanced app.
Virtual tours skyrocketed during early COVID-19 lockdowns and still maintain an audience. With apps such as Google Earth and Sites in VR, anyone can visit the world’s most famous monuments and natural wonders. Ascape VR took their tools one step further and now offers virtual sky diving and snorkeling.
VR app development cost typically varies anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the app.
The cost of developing a travel app depends on the software development time requirements and the developer’s hourly rates. However, many other factors are also necessary to successfully implement an app idea. Some of the most influential factors that can determine the final cost to build an app include:
Unless you are creating a completely unique app, some or all of the following features should be included a travel app:
You may be surprised that a mobile hotel booking app for iOS costs less than an Android app. When creating an iOS app, developers need to make sure that it supports both the latest and previous versions of iOS. For Android apps, the number of compatible devices is much greater. Ensuring support for more devices means spending more time adapting the application to various screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware specifications. This is a key reason for such price variation.
Also note, in the case of a limited budget, it may seem like cross-platform app development would be the most affordable option. At first glance, this can save businesses around 30% to 40%, as only a single codebase would need to be created for both Android and iOS. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll pay more for native mobile app development. We highly recommend consulting with your development team to decide on the most cost-effective route to take.
Custom user interfaces can be rather complex to implement, so the cost of a custom interface will be higher than the cost of an interface built from standard components or without a design at all.
Depending on the project requirements, an outsourced or in-house development team can be basic or extended. An app development team typically includes a business analyst, a solution architect, one or more developers, a project manager, a QA specialist, and a UI/UX designer.
Travel apps have proven their potential and effectiveness not only for customers, but for businesses. Here are some key benefits to be gained from mobile travel app development for tourism:
The cost of developing travel apps ranges widely due to factors such as feature complexity and third-party integration. While travel app development can be costly, businesses can benefit from society’s changing travel habits by creating a product that meets the unique needs of today’s travelers.
If you have any questions about how to create a travel app for your business, or how much your app idea could cost, please do not hesitate to contact us. Since our team has extensive experience in travel apps development, we can help you implement your app idea and create a great addition to your business.
Tom Ross says:
Hi, thanks for such a nice article. It was really useful to find out the cost of creating a travel app. Could you please help me with my question?
I am the owner of a small travel company. We already have a website, but now we are planning to enter a new market and create a mobile app. Can you explain which app is better to start with, native or cross-platform? Which technology stack will be more profitable?
Darya Tryfanava says:
If you have a limited budget, cross-platform app development will be the most affordable option. At first glance, this can save you around 30–40%, as only a single codebase is created for both Android and iOS. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll pay more for native mobile app development.
Also, a cross-platform app allows you to reach a wider audience than a native one. As a result, you will increase your user base in the shortest possible time.
But native apps demonstrate a high level of performance and customization than alternative application types. These apps can also quickly access various services on a device, such as a microphone, accelerometer, or push notifications.
To make your choice, you should start with evaluating the budget, timeline, experience of the team members, and target audience. Other things to keep in mind are customization, platform independence, product complexity, and portability. If you are still in doubt, I’d suggest you read the article “Native or Cross-Platform App Development: Important Factors to Consider When Choosing” https://vironit.com/native-or-cross-platform-app-development/#6_Point_Header
Henry K. says:
Hey, thank you for your article, it helped to answer some of my questions. But I wonder how difficult is it to develop a location tracking app? I mean the complexity of the development process. I would like to make one and I hesitate whether I could hire a freelancer that could cope with the task. If yes, don’t you know what programming language it can be built on? Or the project is too heavy for the freelance specialists and I’d better hire a team of developers? Thanks in advance for your advice.