How can travel apps increase bookings?

On vacation via app: inspiration, booking and tips

App on vacation
Background photo: Fotolia - Alena-Yakusheva, Apps + Montage: - Jacqueline Bopp Apps offer many options for planning before and during a vacation. Users can use them to find excursion tips, check weather reports and post photos and videos on social networks. And some even book their trip via smartphone or tablet. The market for mobile mini-programs is growing. The apps from booking portals such as Trivago or Momondo have millions of downloads in the Google app store alone. The Tripadvisor app is even more than 100 million.

App on vacation
Background photo: Fotolia - Alena-Yakusheva, Apps + Montage: - Jacqueline Bopp The German tour operators are also active in the app market - albeit with very different approaches. Some of the small programs offer additional information on the contents of the catalogs, others are companions for the booked trip and help with data on flight times, weather, sights and maps of the travel destination. Trips can sometimes also be booked directly.

Travel inspiration

For many vacationers, travel planning still starts with the classic travel catalog. And for this analog form of vacation search, Thomas Cook and ITS offer additional digital information. The corresponding apps scan catalog pages marked with the smartphone camera and then make additional videos or images available. The ITS interactive app, for example, offers access to sightseeing flights filmed by drones at some hotels. Via a link to the ITS website, users can also find out about current prices and search for the nearest travel agency.

The "Thomas Cook Travel Insight" app promises extra content such as 360-degree tours and site plans for individual catalogs. On the tablet, it also offers digitized travel catalogs to leaf through on the screen. ITS also offers this service with its separate ITS travel catalog app.

Booking via app

If you find the right trip, you might want to book it right away. While ITS and Thomas Cook do not have a direct booking function in the app, market leaders TUI and the FTI brand have special mini programs that make this possible. According to managing director Andreas Lambeck, the number of bookings via the "sonnenklar.TV" app is only in the single-digit percentage range compared to other sales channels - but it is increasing continuously. TUI does not provide any figures for the booking numbers of the vacation search app. But they are very satisfied with the development and the general popularity.

Travel planning on site

Apps also offer added value if the traveler has already set off on vacation. The "Thomas Cook Travelguide" informs customers of Thomas Cook, Neckermann and Ă–ger Tours about changed flight times. You can also download maps of your travel destination and use them offline - in view of the sometimes expensive roaming costs for mobile Internet abroad, a useful service that the "ITS Travel Guide" app also offers ITS customers.

The ITS app promises information and tips on shopping, dining, sightseeing and celebrations for more than 100 travel destinations. The "Meine TUI" app also provides excursion destinations, information about the destination and other useful information. Excursions can be planned in this way, and you can also check in using the app. Another service: Direct contact with the tour guide on site should be possible via chat.

Choice for everyone

The overview shows: Not all German tour operators are up to date when it comes to apps. FTI does not yet have a program for mobile devices - apart from the FTI brand But that will change in the short to medium term, promises Daniel Haisch, who is responsible for e-commerce at FTI. They want to offer the customer added value - for example with information about the travel destination.

DER Touristik has at least equipped its ITS brand with apps. The company also offers the DER Moment photo app, which you can use to create an individual postcard with your own holiday photos, for example. You enter your address data in the app and you can send the card for 1.99 euros without the stress of stamps and postcards. The organizer Alltours does not have an app yet. However, this is on the agenda, the company announced.

Whether offline maps, restaurant and excursion recommendations or car rental. There are apps for a wide variety of holiday needs. They are often offered for the Android and iOS platforms. In line with the start of the travel season, we have put together an overview of useful apps for travel. With these, holidays can not only be planned, the applications also provide useful information about the country and people that can be helpful on site. Our overview can be found in another news item.