Designing Apps for the Travel Industry: A Guidebook

Sshekhar Jha
April 25, 2022

Ever since Apps have become the go-to for any type of service that someone wants to use, the travel industry has seen a favourable adaptation towards facilitating easy access to relevant information to all kinds of travellers.

If you’re a part of the travel industry or work for a client that’s in the travel industry, it’s important to zero in on a very crucial question: Your intention behind the need for a mobile/web app.

For instance, it needs to be clear whether you want your app to facilitate access to traveller relevant information, or do you want people to be able to make transactions through your app to facilitate their travel. This is crucial since the approach to building the final product will have different focal points in both instances.

Any entity that has a travel mobile/web app today has been able to deduce this very early on in the process of creating their product and has built on it over time to allow for more usability.

In this article, we’ll have a look at what you need to keep in your peripheral vision while creating an app as part of the travel industry.

Layout and Design

The first thing that needs to be kept in mind is the layout of the app. The layout decides how your customers interact with your app. It decides which buttons they click, where they navigate, and whether they’re able to find what they came looking for. 

Think of your app as a digital shop floor and think of your layout as the floor plan.

The way to design a good layout is to map the customer’s journey from the first time they enter the shop floor to the time that they exit it. It starts with the entry door or sign up/sign-in page and if done right may end up with the customer making transactions or downloading relevant information.

Now if your layout is like a shop floor plan, It needs to be crystal clear what you want the key focal points of your store (app) to be. Basis that you need to position the requisite elements in the most key visual areas of the screen(shop floor).

For instance; In the case of a travel app, if you want customers to book travel tickets, hotels, or cabs, you need to place information relevant to those desired actions in the most visible areas of the screen(shop floor). Only if they find the information right in front of them or with minimal effort, will the customers proceed towards a transaction.

In the midst lie the key determinants such as fonts type and size, colour scheme, size and shape of icons, spacing, placement of relevant information, and ease of navigation and discovery.

At every point, the one fact that needs to be kept in mind is that the customers won’t be very patient while looking for what they want. For every 5 seconds that they waste, they could be using 5 other travel apps.


Furthering the shop floor analogy, the second thing that should be kept in mind is the components of the app (shop floor) that you want the users to engage with. 

Components could be relevant sections of the app that the customers would find the most value in, the areas that they would click that would lead them closest to where they want to go, and whatever facilitates their journey to the end of the line.

In the case of a travel app, the most relevant sections could be the price of tickets for various modes of travel, timing schedules, number of flights, trains, and buses in a day from point A to point B. It could also be a list of hotels, prices of different types of rooms, comparative pricing with nearby hotels, things to do, and nearby cab pickup/dropoff points, just to name a few.

One component, which any customer would love to refer to, if presented with, would be Customer Testimonies. Online reviews are digital word-of-mouth, and reading a fellow traveler's experience will have a 100x impact than the quirkiest of push notifications on a customer’s purchase decision.

Since the devil is in the details, it’s important to include ancillary information. 

One such example of understated but important ancillary information could be to inform by what time a customer needs to be at the airport to catch their flight on time.


The concept of integrations is based on one simple fact: Customers don’t want to spend time on 4 different apps to book 1 flight ticket. 

Integrating aspects that would make the customer’s life just easier by helping them save 60 seconds have a massive impact on how customers engage, perceive, and return to your app.

One such example of a no-brainer integration is payment gateways. Integrating a seamless payment gateway into your app would leave a lasting impression in the customer’s mind about your app. It’s a lot of work to shave off 6-7 seconds but the impact will lead the customer to book from your app the next 10 times. So all-in-all every integration is absolutely worth the effort.

Continuous Innovation

The one fact that doesn’t change with app culture is the truth that’s as old as time itself; Customers want to see something new. Always.

That’s where your innovative capabilities are tested. This is where it’s up to you to maintain your position as the #1 Go-to choice in the minds of customers. This is where design, layout, integrations, and everything in between stare you in the face, and you need to decide what needs to be modified, added, or removed. 

A chance to innovate could be a ticket to the chocolate factory if done with the right intention and methodical precision. It could change the way people see your app, for better or worse.

In the case of a travel app, innovations could look something like adding 24-hour weather predictions, so that customers can be informed if there might be a chance of a delay in their flight, train, bus, or cab. The intention here is to make it easier for customers to make informed decisions regarding their travel and stay.

Solving problems that seem unimportant till they surface, with subtlety and style is the essence of any form of innovation. That fact doesn’t change for an app.

All these pointers mentioned above speak to a larger fact; If you build with Empathy for the customer, you’ll almost always hit the nail on the head, and if you don’t, then the experience will teach you to think more like who you want to sell to, and why you want to sell to them.

Remember Customer First, Always.

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