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Booking Strategy Travel Technology

The 8 Best (and Worst) Travel Apps

Betting that the future lies in mobile booking, the travel industry is investing millions in developing and refining mobile apps. Which are the stars, and which are the also-rans?

Betting that the future lies in mobile booking, the travel industry is investing untold millions in developing and refining mobile apps. So far, the results are decidedly mixed, with some apps overdelivering on the promise of usability and elegance, while others fall short.

So, which are the stars, and which are the also-rans?

Applause Analytics rated the apps available from the 40 most popular travel brands on the basis of almost 400,000 user reviews. The best apps, beginning with the highest rated, are:

  • Booking.com
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Kayak
  • TripAdvisor
  • TripIt
  • Hotels.com
  • Zipcar
  • Orbitz

And, at the other end of the spectrum, the lowest rated:

  • United
  • Delta
  • Hilton
  • American
  • Marriott
  • Southwest
  • Hertz
  • US Airways

Note that while US Airways was the lowest rated of the 40 most popular brands, it wasn’t the worst of the airline apps. That dishonor goes to Frontier.

There’s an easily discernible pattern among the results. With one exception (Alaska Airlines), the best apps are from Internet companies, which live and breathe digital commerce. And the worst performers are from traditional travel suppliers, that are struggling to change with the times.

No doubt the old guard will catch up eventually. They have the will and the deep pockets to do so. But for now, if you’re looking for the best in travel apps, youth wins.

Reader Reality Check

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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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