37% give travel apps the thumbs down, mobile app tooltips are the key to user happiness

With the holiday season on the horizon and the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions downloads for travel apps are up 56% Q2 2022 after having returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 according to the website Business of Apps

However, according to a survey of 5200 mobile travel app users by the app quality firm Applause 37% find that travel apps are not helpful when it comes to changing travel plans and 20% said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their overall travel app experiences. 

Top of the list user gripes:

  • Not being able to find the information they were looking for (18%)
  • Slow app response (13%)
  • Localisation issues (12%)
  • Payment problems (11%)
  • Seat or bookings not being honoured on site (10%).

travel apps research

The survey found that the main uses for travel apps are;

  • Planning accommodation (23%)
  • Flight reservations (21%)
  • Purchasing train, ferry or bus tickets (17%)
  • Renting a car (12%)
  • Entertainment bookings (12%) 
  • Restaurant reservations (10%)

*source: Applause

travel apps case study

One of the more interesting outcomes of the survey revealed that while most users installed 1 to 2 travel apps 45% had installed between 3-6 or more travel apps.

travel apps user happiness

The majority of users (67%) tended to be overall somewhat or extremely satisfied with their travel apps – as long as their plans don’t change.

The survey highlights that just like most other apps, travel apps are optimised towards convenience; however when it comes to performing deeper, more complex functions the lack of mobile in-app help can easily lead to customer dissatisfaction and user churn as reflected in the fact that nearly all users had multiple travel apps on their smartphones.

Industry studies have shown that you cannot offload the support burden on users and expect them to look for help on the service providers web site or knowledge base, with over 60% users resorting to Google for help instead. The lack of contextual mobile in-app tooltips to help users access and use advanced features within the app, like modifying a travel booking leads to either a phone call, on-line chat or an email to your customer service department which can become costly with industry data showing that a customer success intervention of just hour per day spent on mobile user help can cost up to $744.00 in a month.  


The Applause study also highlights the glaring fact that when it comes to mobile app services customers have a lot of choice and app developers often have minutes if not seconds to give the user what they need.  If users’ needs aren’t immediately satisfied they will churn and install a competitor’s app.  This is where a well thought out and designed mobile app contextual user onboarding walkthrough can not only help familiarise new users with all the features of a mobile app, especially the more advanced and complex features, but also help users during their entire user journey by repurposing the onboarding guide content as a mobile in-app contextual tooltip.

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    Contextual & StreetHawk Inc 2023.