Posted by Ashley Osgood
Plenty of us have taken trips and used apps to help us make the most of our stays regardless of the season. The space and potential for travel apps in the tourism industry presents a huge revenue opportunity for apps embracing a sleek UX - while those apps who can differentiate with context will soon become essential to your next trip.
Off next week, or have one last trip coming up this weekend? Here are some of our top app picks with the best UX that you should download for your next vacation:
Airbnb is growing in popularity by taking the best of the web, mobile, and social to create a venue thats allow people to find places to stay with unprecedented ease. Their website invites visitors to stay in amazing places catered to your tastes and feel right at home.
Their app makes travel planning as mobile as you are by opening the door to the world’s most interesting places to stay, while also being the simplest way to earn money from your extra space. There is original content from local experts to explain destinations, pictures of available places for rent, and detailed profiles of the owners featuring ratings.
Getting around in over 300 cities worldwide is a lot simpler with a comprehensive guide of it’s public transportation. The HopStop app gives you detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions, real-time transit information via HopStop Live!, as well as official transit maps, nearby station search, and station-to-station schedules in over 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Russia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.
The door-to-door transit directions, schedules for subways, buses, etc., and nearby subway & bus stops are especially helpful for a tourist in an unfamiliar city. You can also estimate travel time & cost for a taxi, and report real-time delays, crowds, and other issues to help you plan your day or decide whether the subway or taxi would be most convenient to get to that restaurant in time to make your reservation.
With 20+ million downloads, an appearance as an app of the week on iTunes, and features by the BBC, the LA Times, CNN, and The Travel Channel, XE Currency tracks currency conversions in real time so you can check prices in terms you understand and help you to convert your money.
If you are travelling internationally, this app helps you stick to your budget by converting every world currency with live proprietary currency rates, charts, and stores the last updated rates - so it works when the Internet doesn't.
Perfect for that upcoming Euro trip, the National Geographic City Guides app provides local tips, history, weather and iconic photos of London, Paris, Rome - and for those staying more local - New York.
The free version of this application offers practical travel information - such as when to go, live weather, real-time currency exchange rates, and measurement conversion tables. Approximately 50 short and shareable “Did You Know?” facts per city and a “Favorites” section where you can save items you want to remember give a colorful commentary to your trip. Upgrade to the paid version, and you can expect more in-depth features, such as recommended “Walks”, a do-not-miss “What to Do” list, and section where you can create, store and share all of your custom, mapped Itineraries.
With over 150 million traveler reviews, photos, and maps, TripAdvisor helps you to plan and have the perfect trip. This app makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go - all while providing booking options for hotels, restaurants and flights.
Our favorite features are the “Near Me Now” to discover options near you, explore Tripadvisor award-winning restaurants and reserve your tables online, and the ability to download maps, reviews, and your saves for 300+ cities worldwide onto your phone for free - which helps you to avoid using expensive data roaming plans while you travel.
For those hoping to stay more focused on exploring what the US has to offer (international version coming soon), this app also serves up great reviews and directions for popular roadtrip routes.
You can explore over 500k amazing places as you make your way through the United States - the app highlights the best diners, offbeat attractions, breweries, campgrounds, filming locations, hotels, scenic spots, etc., along your travels. You can also easily save your favorite places, while also using the app to “Navigate” for turn by turn navigation.
Take some of the stress out of your flight home with FlightTrack 5, designed by Mobiata. This app delivers real-time departure info, delays, and gate numbers at a glance. International coverage allows you - or family members looking to pick you up - to track flights worldwide. It also informs you of cancellations and help you find alternate flights when you're in a pinch.
The real-time status for gates, delays, and cancellations and detailed coverage of more than 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide gives you a bit more peace of mind when loading up that taxi from your hotel. For airports you aren’t familiar with, FlightTrack 5 also provides airport terminal maps, and a visualization of where you are sitting on your flight.
Each of the above apps has made great strides in making the user’s travelling experience easier. To bridge that gap from “easy” to “essential” is a matter of taking one more step to personalize the app experience with more knowledge of user context. For example, if a travel app helps users explore their travel destinations, contextual data can power personalized city guides based on who the user is and what their interests are. Apps can deliver hyperlocal content about restaurants and landmarks as users walk by them in real time by leveraging Geofencing. Travel apps using location-based context can recommend points of interest to each user based on the interests of similar users with anonymous Personas.
Skyhook’s Context SDK empowers app developers to create dynamic mobile experiences that endear users and boost business metrics. It includes the ability to deploy and manage an infinite number of client-side geofences, build anonymized personas of users and create rich contextual venue profiles.
Learn more about Skyhook powering apps with context: download the Cardstar case study.