What Travelers Want from Apps: Convenience and Control

The pandemic hit the travel and hospitality industry hard. Over the last year, as lockdowns lifted and the COVID crisis subsided, the industry began to rebound. Expectations have changed, however. While changing mandates, requirements, and restrictions due to the pandemic are no longer in play, both travelers and hospitality companies still face stressors such as flight cancellations, staff shortages, overbookings and unexpected closures.

In August, we surveyed the uTest community to determine how people are using travel and hospitality apps, assess their satisfaction with the apps they use, and identify the most common flaws they encounter. Out of more than 5,000 global respondents to Applause’s August 2022 survey on travel and hospitality app use and user satisfaction, 82% had traveled at least once in the past year; 92% said they have at least one travel or hospitality app installed on their mobile devices.

How satisfied are users with the apps they’re using? More than two-thirds reported they were somewhat or extremely satisfied with the apps they used for planning travel details. In addition, 63% of the respondents said the apps they use have been helpful in managing recent travel challenges such as cancellations, delays, or closures.

However, not all journeys flowed smoothly. Of the group, 20% noted that they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with their app experiences. The most notable problems they reported with apps were:

  • being unable to find the information they were looking for (18%)

  • very slow response times (13%)

  • localization problems (12%)

  • difficulty using payment sources (11%).

Those who were dissatisfied often couldn’t complete their desired tasks through the app. Respondents shared, “The app didn’t allow me to cancel a reservation” and “I had a problem filtering results, so I had to start the search again from the beginning.” Another reported that when flights were changed they could not rebook online and had to call customer service, where they encountered a four-hour hold before resolving the problem.

When plans change and travelers need to adjust mid-trip, it’s crucial that apps help them efficiently and quickly manage those changes.

What makes a great travel app

We asked survey respondents to share what they saw as the most important features of a travel and hospitality app. Of 16,274 responses (participants could choose multiple options), these emerged as the top five criteria:

  • Helps keep all information in one place: 18%

  • Connects well to payment devices: 16%

  • Sends texts for reminders, updates or changes (travel times, cancellations, reservation times): 15%

  • Provides a seamless, intuitive experience: 14%

  • Feels secure; info is protected: 14%

People report using apps to coordinate various aspects of travel – everything from booking flights and accommodations to making meal reservations and entertainment purchases, such as tickets and tours.

Travel and hospitality organizations are doing a good job personalizing customer experiences. Most survey respondents said they felt like travel apps understand their preferences at least sometimes and are personalized to their needs. Only 6% reported that the apps they use do not understand their needs or offer any personalization at all.

While things seem to be looking up for travel and hospitality companies, seamless digital experiences will remain key as the industry continues to recover. Thorough testing that ensures customers who veer off the happy path can use apps to maintain – or regain – control over their trips will set leaders apart. Learn more about how to meet and exceed customer expectations in the recent State of Digital Quality in Travel & Hospitality report.


State of Digital Quality in Travel & Hospitality

Ever-increasing customer expectations and fierce competition mean travel & hospitality organizations can’t afford mistakes.

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Jennifer Waltner
Global Content Marketing Manager
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