Booking a trip nowadays is exceptionally simple and accessible thanks to web platforms and mobile apps. On the surface level both offer similar functionality, but there are distinct differences between them, and both serve different needs.
If you find yourself stuck in-between the options, read this guide prepared by travel booking system experts — we will compare apps to web platforms, analyze their strong sides and weak points, and uncover the best way to use both.
Mobile apps: Availability, convenience, simplicity
Mobile apps have a very distinctive trait: unlike websites, they are stored on a client’s smartphone and are accessed directly, and not through a web browser. Another important thing to mention is that apps are specifically designed for mobile devices, and therefore can provide unparalleled convenience.
Advantages of apps
Mobile apps allow users to access travel services anytime and anywhere: at work, on a bus, or during the trip itself. All that a traveler requires is their phone — no need for PCs or laptops.
Enhanced user experience
Mobile apps are designed specifically for smaller screens and are optimized to run smoothly on smartphones, making them the best option for mobile users and leaving mobile versions of websites far behind. Add intuitive navigation and personalized recommendations in the mix, and you get a truly engaging user experience.
Push notifications and reminders
This feature is only effective when used in mobile apps. It keeps users updated on anything important: from flight delays and gate changes to promotional offers. Reaching out to users in real-time is invaluable for both businesses and travelers, ensuring that both parties are always informed on any relevant matter.
Travel apps provide offline access, allowing users to see their bookings, itineraries, and other travel information even without an internet connection. This makes apps particularly useful for users traveling to destinations with limited connectivity.
Integration of additional features
Mobile apps allow for the integration of unique features like mobile check-in, boarding passes, and in-app customer support chat, contributing to a more seamless and efficient travel experience.
Disadvantages of apps
Limited screen space
The smaller screen size of mobile devices can present challenges when it comes to displaying extensive travel search results or detailed information. Some users may find that comparing multiple options or reading fine print details is less comfortable than when they use a computer.
Mobile apps typically limit users to one task at a time. There is no denying that switching between different travel services or comparing multiple options simultaneously can be less efficient compared to using web platforms on a PC.
Web platforms: Versatility and comprehensive experience
Websites require a stable internet connection, might load slower on mobile, and are nowhere near as convenient to use on a smartphone. However, they are extremely functional, easy to maintain, and offer an efficient way to search and compare options on a personal computer or a laptop.
Advantages of web platforms
Wide range of information
Unlike apps, web platforms aren’t limited to smartphone screen size and, when used on a PC, can display comprehensive travel information, including detailed search results, multiple photos, and extensive descriptions.
Web browsers enable users to open multiple tabs or windows, allowing for efficient multitasking: from comparing prices and checking for different travel services to conducting multiple searches simultaneously.
Web platforms can be accessed from various devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This allows users who are authorized in their account to conveniently switch between different devices without losing their search history or travel preferences.
Disadvantages of web platforms
Web platforms are much less convenient for users who are constantly on the move — the portability is heavily limited by the need for a compatible device.
Internet connection required
Web platforms do not offer offline access to bookings or itineraries, and require a stable internet connection even for the simplest things, like users accessing their own travel information.
Web platforms can be much less streamlined due to the higher number of interactive elements on the page, especially if you consider advertisements and other unrelated content. Sometimes users have to navigate themselves through distractions to focus on their travel booking tasks.
What to choose
Deciding between a travel booking mobile app and a web platform ultimately comes down to specific travel requirements and users’ personal preferences. If you’re a travel company representative considering which option you should invest in, then you should know that the best option is to build both, like most other companies.
However, if you have to choose one to begin with, consider the following factors:
Apps are an ideal option to reach travelers on-the-go and stay connected to them at all times. They also provide offline access, which can be crucial to a lot of your customers.
When it comes to providing clients with a comprehensive overview, highly detailed information, extensive search capabilities, and multiple options to choose from, web platforms are your best choice.
Web platforms allow you to reach both PC users and mobile users, though the latter might not find their experience with a website as rewarding as with an app. However, when it comes to versatility, websites are certainly the right choice.
Consider the user interface, navigation, and additional features offered by both mobile apps and web platforms. Choose the option that provides the most intuitive and seamless user experience for your needs.
In general, if you’re planning to mostly appeal to a mobile audience, an app is a must-have since it provides unparalleled convenience. Otherwise, you might stick with websites.
Both travel booking mobile apps and web platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, and are useful in different situations.
Mobile apps offer portability, convenience, and personalized experiences, while web platforms provide comprehensive information, multitasking capabilities, and versatility across devices.
The best choice for most travel businesses is to implement both solutions. However, when it comes to choosing one of the two, you should prioritize your goals, know your target audience, and choose the option that best aligns with your requirements.