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In pursuit of travel appiness

In this article for Traveltalk, JAMIE SHOSTAK, co-founder and head of growth at Appetiser App Development, explains how apps can help revive the travel industry - even if customers are stuck at home for now.

The travel industry has undeniably taken one of the worst hits of any sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.


As Australia considers entering into travel bubbles with certain international markets, one way to ensure that green lane travel agreements remain safe is to encourage travellers to download an app which can track their movements within each country. 



But this goes beyond contact tracing. I believe apps have so much potential in helping to revive the travel industry and transform the way airports, hospitality, transport and retail engage and interact with travellers. 


Here are just some of the ways apps can be utilised to revive travel brands and help tourists look forward. 


Virtual reality

Advances in virtual reality mean that travel companies are now able to provide potential customers with a realistic sense of what it’s like to take a trip with them from the safety and comfort of their living room.


This can be applied in a myriad of ways, from hotel room tours to dining experiences or even safari tours. The great news is the technology is already out there for businesses to use: the Google Earth app currently lists millions of 360 photos in geo-tagged locations around the globe. 


Future bookings can be made off the back of virtual tours and travel brands need not shy away from encouraging customers to plan ahead. 



Augmented reality

This is technology that enables developers to overlay a digital world over the top of our own. It has some exciting applications for the travel and tourism industry, too. 


Imagine creating a scavenger hunt around your chosen location, where tourists can discover the history of the place they’re visiting. Or how about making travel even easier with guided directions laid over streets or airport corridors? 


AR is a great way to get people excited about travelling around their local area, especially if they’re unable to travel interstate due to COVID-19 restrictions. 


Marketing through existing apps

Creating your own app is great, but there are also exciting marketing opportunities to be found by partnering with existing apps. For example, my own company has built apps for several travel clients who have gone on to collaborate with the likes of WebJet and Jetstar.


There are hundreds of mapping, booking, or currency convertor apps - why not utilise their ad space and advertise your own business? Alternatively, look for apps that provide a platform for travel and tourism businesses just like yours. Many, such as TravelBuddi, allow you to list your business for free. 



Apps are never going to be a silver bullet for the travel industry; COVID-19 means that many factors are simply out of anyone’s control. But the one thing that can be controlled is our ability to build customer excitement around travel. 


Now is the time to build brand loyalty, to inspire people to want to travel, and to help them see the world beyond their own four walls. Then when things finally do return to normal, you know exactly which business they’ll be visiting first: yours.


This article originally appeared in the July issue of Traveltalk.


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Published: 26 July 2020

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