Building a Booking App: Key Features and Milestones of Development
Just a few years ago, telephone calls were considered to be the most convenient communication channel in the service sector. However, today almost the entire business — from restaurants to medical practices - has abandoned calling in favor of online booking. This service allows you to register for meetings and book seats at concerts and conferences in cafes using just a smartphone with Internet access. Users admit that booking services are psychologically more comfortable, as they do not need to make calls to strangers, which is uncomfortable for many people. In addition, such a procedure is faster, and it can be performed in almost any condition.
According to analysts' forecasts, the market for developing an online booking application will grow to $186 million by 2027, which proves the demand for online booking products. The software is created for travelers, taxi users, healthcare businesses, restaurants, and hotels. Below we will talk about the features of developing such applications, their types, and the technologies used to create them.
Advantages of Mobile Apps
The booking application as a new user tool has a number of advantages:
- The ability to receive orders around the clock, 24/7, allows you to receive more applications and increase sales, which means expanding your audience;
- Reduced workload. The product, which works in automatic mode, is aimed at accepting orders independently specified by customers. While the system is processing scheduled meetings and bookings, the team of employees can deal with more important, strategic tasks;
- Increase in conversion. With a mobile application for booking, the number of applications will decrease, but the actual booking will be higher. After all, independently performing operations to select a place or table, the user makes a choice more responsibly and deliberately;
- The booking software is accompanied by an integrated system for receiving payments, safe and secure, which enhances protection against online fraud;
- Online booking systems collect user data for the administrator - demographic information, booking history, and contacts for personalized work with the user;
- Mobile booking applications allow you to build two-way communication with customers, giving hints in the form of pop-up messages and chatbots. This is the basis for creating an active audience and its further expansion;
- The advantage of mobile booking apps is increasing customer loyalty to your brand. Bonuses and rewards for bookings for active users will increase the level of trust in your company, and loyal customers are the best brand advocates with high engagement.
Main types of booking apps
All booking applications can be conditionally divided into two groups:
- Booking software on request. Customers select the desired service, make a reservation and monitor it. Such a product is optimal for businesses in the field of cleaning, taxi, delivery, and some other household services (electrician, plumber, etc.);
- Applications for pre-booking. The difference of this segment from the previous one is that the user schedules events and meetings based on the calendar. Such a product makes it possible to automate the organization of events. These are, in particular, applications for booking hotels around the world. The product for booking air tickets saves you time, effort, and money because you can compare prices from different air carriers and use discounts. Applications for restaurant reservations take some of the burdens of the staff and facilitate the procedure for the visitor, while products for beauty salons simplify communication between clients and masters. Applications for making an appointment with a doctor, which have become relevant after the 2020 pandemic, are especially popular.
One of the latest Software Development Hub projects to create a booking app is a platform for travel consultants. The system brings together the best luxury hotels around the world for travel consultants who can find out the necessary information about the establishment and sell travel services to their customers.
Read also: Hotel Management Software: How to Develop
The booking application must have the following features:
- Creation of an account. An overly complicated and cumbersome account creation procedure often scares off users, and they stop halfway. It is desirable to be able to register through the pages of social networks;
- Searching options focused on typical user behavior and wish. Standard search criteria are departure and arrival cities, dates, users (adults and children), pet transportation option, hotel room type;
- Booking and rebooking by entering the desired time, contacts, and address. Cancellation option;
- Payment option via PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle. The payment system should be secure and understandable;
- Reviews and user ratings — this stimulates the business to improve the service through feedback;
- Geolocation — ideal for finding a nearby car, service provider, and destination;
- Pop-up notifications — inform people about the features of services, possible inconveniences, etc.
- In addition to standard features, customers often integrate advanced features:
- Dynamic pricing;
- Work with world currencies and languages;
- Chatbot with AI that recognizes spoken language and helps customers make bookings;
- Client's booking history;
- Favorites — wish lists;
- Recommendations tied to the client's past bookings.
Key steps in developing a successful booking app
The steps to develop a successful booking app include the following:
- Analysis of the market and competitors. Evaluate how competitors' apps perform to highlight their pros and cons and determine for yourself what key features your product should have.
- Selection of the application type.
- Defining your USP - focus on quality, price, comfort, etc., which is achieved by planning tools. The correct, capacious USP will attract a relevant audience.
- List the requirements for the product, based on this outline, the functionality of the mobile application for booking.
- Adaptation of UI/UX design. A friendly, intuitive interface means a lot to enhance the competitiveness of a product.
- Communication with engineers at the development stage helps to create a modern, functional application.
- Launch and testing.
- Receiving and processing feedback.
An effective, useful mobile application involves the use of modern technologies:
- Data privacy - multi-factor authentication tools;
- Third-party APIs - for extended functionality;
- Convenient admin panel.
Services for developing enterprise software for the booking application included the integration of the SaaS platform, the Saber Hospitality database, Smarty for auto-filling user addresses, and the Stripe payment processing platform. The project attracted $18.5 million in investments."
Software Development Hub provides software development services for a startup in the booking industry. A team of specialists will help synchronize the business tasks and wishes of the client with the optimal functionality of the future project, which will help scale the business and improve sales.