Woman using booking app in hotel lobby

An amazing hotel stay starts with social booking app features

Hotel booking apps. Whether visiting a new country on holiday or checking out the deals for a weekend staycation, they’re what we reach for to reserve a stay. The online travel market is growing fast and is expected to be valued at 691 billion US dollars by 2026. No surprise, as the smartphone has quickly become a proxy of the customer experience, and people expect to have quickly accessible and customized information always at hand.

Today, 7 out of 10 travelers use mobile devices to perform research, and travel company apps secure approximately 60% of their booking via mobile devices. Given the size of the market and the ever-growing traveler demands, it's clear that there is tremendous opportunity in hotel booking app development. 

But, with all the competition, a mere list of hotels and a reservation system won't give you an edge. A successful hotel booking app with a committed user base adds a special touch to the experience using social features.

How to develop a hotel booking app with social features

You can make a guest’s user journey smoother and more memorable by making connection a primary part of the service. With social features, guests have opportunities to socialize, receive quick support, and enjoy a bespoke experience.

So what social features can you build into your app to draw users in? In the hospitality industry, it’s all about connection, an interactive experience, and personalized service. 

Bring guests together for a visit to remember

Whether your booking app caters to backpackers or spa weekend-goers, connecting people with similar interests is a wonderful way to enhance the guest experience. 

Enable guest in-app chat

There are many reasons why live chats can help you scale user engagement and retention. One-to-one chat, group chat, and live chat features allow guests to socialize from the convenience of your app. Making it easy for people traveling together to connect could make your app their go-to, whether they’re looking for company on a bar crawl or want local tourist attraction recommendations.

It’s best to offer guests a variety of in-app chat methods, including broadcasts (for all users), live chats (for immediate response), and private individual or community chats. A chat SDK can help you deliver these functionalities without having to build from scratch.

Add community features

A group of tourists will be taking a day trip to an attraction nearby. Instead of allowing them to turn to a different app for easy communication, why not allow them to set up a temporary community platform using your hotel reservation app? 

Users can join communities relevant to them, using it to follow updates, ask questions, and share photos and videos in public chat channels accessible to all members. Travel is an adventure, and guests often love having the opportunity to engage with each other. Community features can make your app the virtual clubhouse for the journey!

Make every guest’s experience their own

One of the most important parts of creating an extraordinary guest experience is customizing every visit. But if you aren’t a small guesthouse that only welcomes a handful of new faces each day, it can be difficult to create a warm, personal touch. 

Making social features a priority during hotel booking app development can help. User profiles and customizable booking options simplify personalization by giving you a way to track each guest’s needs. On the other hand, curated feeds and push notifications can add value by ensuring customers always have access to relevant details about their stay.

Build user profiles

A booking app feature you can’t neglect is the user profile. Guests need to be able to track accommodation details, bookmark hotels they want to visit, access events and offers, and store personal information to use app-wide. 

Personalizing the guest experience starts with designing a simple and intuitive sign-up flow. Reducing friction at this time increases the chances of a guest completing sign-up and booking a stay.

Personalize with curated groups and individual activity feeds

Mobile app users today expect relevant information to be delivered to them. Hotel owners and product teams can do this with personalized activity feeds, which put applicable features, offers, and discussions right at users’ fingertips. 

Social SDKs that come with built-in newsfeed features also allow users to browse group feeds, which is useful when looking for information specific to a place or trip. With updates curated for each person, your hotel app offers much more value at a minor cost. 

Keep guests updated with push notifications

Notifications that pop up on guests’ mobile devices prompt action and make sure urgent updates are conveyed. They improve the hotel booking experience by keeping guests informed when the rooms they were eyeing are about to be sold out or if they can use loyalty points for an upgrade. 

Notifications are powerful decision drivers but can also be invasive if overused. When developing your booking app’s features, ensure they are only used to convey the most relevant and timely updates.


Create an interactive experience with user-generated content

The social revolution has made its mark on the travel industry, with 97% of millennial travelers sharing travel photos while on a trip. User-generated content (UGC) makes FOMO (fear of missing out) something all-too-common. 

But for hotel operators and booking app product teams, the travel photo movement presents an opportunity: using UGC to inspire wanderlust and spark conversation.

Drive engagement with photo and video-sharing

Modern social network apps need to have photo and video-sharing capabilities. This is especially true in the booking industry, where visual content is a significant influence on decision-making. 

Guests will love the option to create and share wanderlust-inducing photos and short-form videos related to their travels. What’s more, they have fun engaging with other people’s content. If your app is a fun place to discuss everything from the hottest summer vacation destination to the city’s latest hidden gem, it will become the community travelers gravitate towards.

Gauge user sentiments with reactions

Words aren’t always necessary for engagement, and reactions are the perfect example. Using emojis to convey emotion is another way to communicate in this era.

Enabling reactions gives guests another way to engage with user-generated content. Aside from giving the original poster a serotonin boost, reactions allow you to gauge user sentiments and apply the insight to your service offerings.

Complete an exceptional stay with thoughtful service

Direct contact with staff members contributes to guest satisfaction, and technology can even address some smaller queries without a human involved. Take service the extra mile with social features.

Use chat to connect guests with service providers

Aside from connecting users to each other, chat features make it possible for guests to contact service providers and receive quick support. Perhaps they need an extra pillow or would like to extend their stay for another night or two—an option to contact the front desk via in-app messaging adds an extra layer of convenience and bolsters user satisfaction. 

Visitors who have questions they want to be answered before they create a hotel booking benefit from chat because concerns are clarified quickly and easily. With leads who use chat 2.8x more likely to convert to paying customers, this is a feature a successful hotel booking application can’t go without!

Build a review system

Show your guests that their voices matter by building a review system where they can leave feedback. Transparent reviews not only indicate that you care about the guest experience but also act as social proof that reinforces your hotel brand. 

With 81% of travelers reading reviews prior to booking accommodation, reviews from happy customers definitely put you on the path to more conversions. And even if you’re an aggregated hotel booking app, plenty of reviews show confidence in your platform.

Integrate a chatbot

What time is checkout? Where is the breakfast buffet? How much is a massage at the on-site spa? The answers to these questions are simple and can be delivered without human intervention. Integrating a chatbot allows guests to receive quick answers to simple queries within a few taps on their phones.

A chatbot can help you integrate this feature in an easy and cost-effective manner.

Social features: The pathway to a smoother guest experience

If you want to stand out in today’s competitive app market, social features are non-negotiable. Chat, activity feed, community groups, and photo- and video-sharing capabilities are a few of the social features required in hotel booking app development. 

While you can build these features from scratch, your dev team’s time would be spent much more productively with software development kits (SDKs) that reduce experiential redundancy and provide a framework to launch from. 

Modern travelers want to spend less time hung up on the details of planning a trip and more time enjoying their experience. Social features meet both needs by simplifying the guest experience and enabling connection throughout the journey. If you’re developing a hotel booking app, don’t neglect these features—they could very well be what sets you apart!


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