The Only Travel Apps Worth Downloading

Erica Gonzales
·Food & Travel Intern
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Only eight out of 40 of the most popular travel apps were ranked as “quality” in the latest biannual Applause Travel App Index. (Photo: British Airways/Flickr)

In a world where anything from getting a cab to booking your hotel can be done on a phone or tablet, there are thousands of travel apps to chose from. But according to a new study, most of them are actually not useful.

Luckily, the Application Research Center (ARC) from Applause waded through all the nonsense to find out the best ones.

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The study shows that these eight travel apps racked up the highest scores in quality: Booking.com, Alaska Airlines, Kayak, TripAdvisor, TripIt, Hotels.com, Zipcar, and Orbitz.

So what was so great about the top apps? They make it easy to view deals, switch between devices, and receive time-sensitive notifications, according to Ben Gray, the author of the study.

Meanwhile, the lowest scores belong to a list of big names: United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hilton, American Airlines, Marriott, Southwest, US Airways, and Hertz.

There were also some on the most-improved list. Since ARC’s last 2014 study, JetBlue’s app showed a seven-point score increase and Hilton Hotels’ increased by 15 points, by adding more user-friendly functions (for example, Hilton added a more transparent reservation process, and JetBlue started letting users view their flight’s status). Other brands, like Uber and Best Western, weren’t as lucky, falling by five and nine points respectively. Although he didn’t list specific reasons for their decline, Gray concluded that those companies need to work on winning their mobile customers’ loyalty and trust.

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Out of over 400,000 apps with over 150 user reviews, ARC examined the 40 most popular in hotel, airline, car-rental, cruise, and train industries. The research center measured the correlation between the number of star ratings and the number of reviews users left on an application’s page on App Store (for iOS) and Google Play (for Android), and gave each score from 0-100.

Do you have a go-to travel app? See how it scored in the full study.

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