In 2020, global online travel sales have reached $818 bn, 90% of millennials prefer to book medical appointments online, 700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023. So online reservation platforms are here to stay and you are the one who should benefit from it.
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Developing a booking/reservation app can be a rather complicated process. You should think what makes you different, how to build outstanding as well as simple, intuitive web and mobile application. In this way let consider what functionality should be implemented and look through the list of top features of your future reservation platform.
Built-in suggestion engine
Handy push notifications
Reviews and ratings from real users
In-app messenger or live chat
User profiles & detail screens
Special deals, loyalty programs
Transaction list with purchase archive
Flexible search options and filtering
Booking cancellation policy
Convenient payment gateways
Language & currency
On-demand reservation apps
On-demand booking applications are initially created to satisfy user needs in no time and act like it’s an emergency. People turn to these apps in the cases of extreme necessity so the faster your platform provides them with a wanted service the better feedback you’ll get. Intuitive UI, seamless user-flow and fast loading become your priorities here.
Food delivery services
Dedicated delivery services
In-advance booking applications
This type of reservation software allows you to schedule appointments, book activities, tickets or events using a calendar. There are many segments that benefit from in‑advance booking. It works best for users, who’d like to explore the whole range of services, run through all the details and make reservations beforehand.
Airline reservation engine
Event & entertainment booking software
Salon booking software (beauty services)
Hotel reservation system
Car rental booking software
When embarking on a reservation platform development, follow this short checklist:
Make analysis of an online booking market.
Define users' needs and pain points.
Choose the most appropriate type for your marketplace.
Compile a list of competitors.
Decide on must-be app’s features for MVP.
Issue product backlog listing website functionality.
Evaluate software development vendors and hire a company with expertise at booking marketplace development.
Discuss your business idea, objectives and expectations with a software development partner.
Be involved in the app development process when it starts to make sure a partner agency delivers your vision correctly.
Launch the hotel booking app on your target markets, collect feedback and make adjustments if necessary.
Monetization strategy for an online reservation platform depends on the corresponding functionality and type of your marketplace.
There are three monetization models that suit best for booking applications:
Enable retailers & manufacturers advertise their services within your platform (to be ranked first in search results by a certain query or to be featured as hottest or special offers).
Here you can offer a premium subscription plan for users to purchase and get access to more interesting deals and discounts in the future.
You can charge a commission for every booking made via your application. The fee might be paid by users or resellers.
Charge a one-time fee from retailers who want to be listed on your marketplace and sell their products or services.
The time required for an online reservation platform development strongly depends on the feature set you’d like to get . Covering all basic features listed above, the time needed for mobile app development starts from 400 hours for one platform, UI/UX design takes around 120 hours, back-end dev time - 350 hours. Admin panel development requires approximately 170 hours.
You’ll sum up the total cost for development with your company’s hourly rate.
Appropriate and personalized push notifications is another way to benefit more and bring better user experience at the same time. But they have to be relevant and smartly organized. Here are several ideas on how you can integrate them in your reservation app:
Check-in / check-out alerts. Remind users that it's time to check-in or out of the accommodation. You may not believe it, but such a notification can be really helpful both for service suppliers and clients.
Interesting places and activities nearby. Become more than just a booking app for your users. Advice them what they should do first in the city of their stay and send them notifications when they pass by interesting places.
Special deals, offers, discounts. You certainly should use push notifications to inform users about upcoming deals that can be of interest for them.
Weather info. Such a functionality will help users to arrange their plans carefully and avoid some unpredictable bad surprises.
Booking confirmation and cancellation alerts. Make sure customers remember about reserved activities and their needs are completely satisfied.
Status changes, reminders the day before or on the same day. If implemented properly, this type of notification is a powerful way to prevent misunderstanding or confusion and keep users up to date.
The first (MVP) version of your booking platform may be developed in 3-6 months. During this time we’ll finish web front-end development, back-end development as well as a basic admin panel. In case you want to build a fully-fledged system, the timeline is 8-10 months or even more. Bear this time frame in mind when setting up your deadlines.
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