In 2019, researchers found that users spent nearly 6.5 billion hours on travel apps like Airbnb, Expedia, VRBO, and Hopper, and the time spent continues to rise each summer. So, that leads us to the inevitable question: what are they doing so well?
Creating a user experience that keeps us coming back
Consider some features of these apps that make your life just a little bit easier. Are you catching the best flight deals with Hopper’s “watch” button? What about that A-frame cabin you’ve been dreaming about booking on Airbnb’s featured page? Or, how about gaining access to AmiGo’s invite-only community of travelers? There are features within each travel app that are unique and set them apart in the industry, which helps apps gain traction by creating a share-worthy experience. While full of unique components, there are a few patterns and values companies integrate as standard best practices in travel apps.
Designers at Hopper and Airbnb share similar priorities and values when creating the next best travel resources on the market. These values include transparency, minimalistic design, easy access to booking trips, and searching for the best deals across the world.
These core values all revolve around the human experience, understanding that users are real people with real preferences, problems, and priorities.
Our favorite travel apps
When our team was nailing down our favorite travel apps, we considered our personal use of the app, and our top 6 design principles we keep in mind when building out mobile apps.
“The Hopper app has helped over 70 million travelers find and secure the best price on flights, hotels, homes and car rentals - each and every time they book their trips - saving its users an average of $65 per trip compared to other travel booking sites or apps.” - Google Play
Why we love it
Aside from finding mega-cheap flights to Portugal, we love Hopper because of their unique “watch this flight” feature when exploring all of our travel dreams. The app’s use of filters and other sorting options helps us book our next trip seamlessly and skip the hassle of sifting through confusing airline websites.
“Choose from unique homes—near or far—in many countries around the world. Find everything from getaways near national parks to apartments in the heart of big cities and book right in the app.” - Google Play
Why we love it
Airbnb is one of the most used travel apps in the industry, bringing in nearly $5.9 billion and revenue, and consists of more than 150 million users. It hosts incredible stays with beautiful designs and promotes experiences to get a true “locals-only” trip. Need we say more? Airbnb has excellent UX design and an easy-to-use platform for hosts and guests to come together across the world all in one place. We love how easy it is to create wish lists for future trips, share booking information with other guests, and chat with hosts directly in the app if we have a quick question.
“AmiGo is an exclusive travel community that helps you get the scoop on where to go and what to do when you travel—directly from your friends, influencers and social network—and catalog the places you’ve traveled so that you can easily share your recommendations. With personal reviews from users combined with our 50+ highly curated city guides—available in map and list view—AmiGo makes traveling easier than ever, whether you are planning months ahead of time or are already on a trip and need to find the best nearby restaurant. You can also use AmiGo in your hometown to find great local spots!” - Apple App Store
Why we love it
Not only have we loved working with AmiGo to build out their travel app, but we love using it too! We can stay connected with our network of travelers and explore their recommendations all around the world. We use the app’s Explore feature and AmiGo guides to find the hottest new restaurants or the perfect boutique for shopping while traveling. Plus, their feed and wishlist features are the perfect way to get inspired by fellow travelers with similar tastes and start planning our next trip.
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