7 Mobile Marketing Tips for Travel Apps to Accelerate User Retention
Written by
Pradyut Hande

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7 Mobile Marketing Tips for Travel Apps to Accelerate User Retention

Published : October 19, 2018 | Updated : October 4, 2023

The advent, expansion, and popularity of mobile apps have disrupted many industries. The rapid transition to an increasingly digital ecosystem – both web and mobile channels – has revolutionized the travel industry as well. With the best mobile marketing tips to acquire users, the emphasis on retaining is now picking up. The online travel industry is rapidly advancing to valuation of over $1,835.6 billion by 2031, focusing on continuously engaging users to boost revenue.

Data-driven marketers are in a competitive market almost 5% of apps across both Android and iOS are travel apps. While user acquisition is challenging; engagement, monetization, and retention also pose major challenges in the evolving app user lifecycle.

Customers are always going to look at 3 factors before translating a purchase intent into a concrete transaction:

  1. Element of convenience associated with booking online
  2. Value-for-money, in terms of best possible prices and deals
  3. Past purchase experience with the brand

In price-sensitive markets, where alternative options are plenty, switching behavior is rampant, regardless of how great the end-to-end user experience. According to a Google report, 88% of travel app users are liable to switch to a competitor if their needs aren’t fulfilled. And 20% of users will ditch the travel app after one-time use, regardless of whether their needs remain met or unmet.

Thus, building app brand loyalty becomes pivotal to long-term retention. It pays to adopt a smart data-driven approach that bridges the gap between user-specific analytics and multi-channel engagement.

7 Mobile Marketing Tips Travel Apps Can Implement to Boost Retention

Tip #1: Leverage data to highlight bitter truths

As a mobile marketer, actionable insights gained from deep-dive analytics offer meaningful fodder for your retention campaigns. Through strategies like cohort analysis, marketers can identify user groups with similar behavior and analyze behavioral trends exhibited over days, weeks, and months.

These insights can be used to deliver optimal marketing campaigns with a firm focus on driving higher engagement and retention. The effectiveness of these campaigns will reflect in the rising or falling user retention numbers, mapped from the day of app download or user registration.

Tip #2: Nudge users to make new bookings through incentives

Marketers can leverage relevant insights from a unified view of their customers, especially when it comes to historical in-app behavior.

Historical behavior includes flights booked to specific destinations, hotel accommodations viewed or booked, requested information on tour packages, etc.

Such mobile marketing tips can nudge users who have made at least one in-app booking to make more transactions. This can be accomplished with highly personalized and relevant message campaigns delivered through dynamic channels such as push notifications and emails.

Calls to action can be made more compelling. Incentivize purchase decisions by communicating offers, limited-time discounts, price drop deals, easier payment options, and new bundling plans based on a user’s most frequent travel destinations, airlines, modes of payment, travel frequency, and duration of stay.

India-based MakeMyTrip sends periodic contextual push notifications and emails highlighting limited-time offers and sales based on users’ travel history and preferred payment options. The effective use of deep-linking is also leveraged to direct users to relevant pages on the app or mobile site.

Tip #3: Provide users with relevant information for better conversions

One of the most common reasons why users abandon travel apps is because they’re unable to access all travel or trip-related information on the platform easily.

Most users compare other market options based on the availability of flights, destinations, timings, prices, promotional offers (if any), etc.

Hence travel apps need to empower users with information on their app every time they return before making a purchase decision.

Skyscanner does a great job of this by offering an easy-to-use interface to search for flights to specific destinations. It also highlights valuable insights, such as the time difference between various locations, to facilitate easier decision-making.

Skyscanner also has a “Watch” feature that lets users monitor ticket prices for a particular flight and be notified of changes.

This is another way to keep users hooked and encourage app relaunch at a later date with the prospect of transaction completion.

Mobile marketers can add greater depth by leveraging multi-channel marketing automation. This can be done by triggering messages via push notifications, in-app messages, or emails, depending upon user response rates to each channel.

Tip #4: Create a habit-building purchase cycle through relevant rewards

Marketers can always lure users back to their app by offering discounts. But another great way to drive app usage is by offering meaningful rewards.

This incentivize bookings and brings users back to the app to track their progress toward unlocking valuable rewards.

Once marketers have inculcated a reward-based usage, it gives them a chance to convert irregular users into loyalists.

Tip #5: Promote loyalty programs that supplement the user experience

Other mobile marketing tips include loyalty programs or membership programs that encourage users to return to your app.

These programs shouldn’t be designed with the objective of playing catch up with the competition but as a legitimate extension of the overall user experience. The corollary also holds true. Loyalty programs alone cannot constitute the foundation of the entire retention strategy.

Users are smart enough to differentiate between a leading and inferior app. In such a scenario, if marketers force-fit and push users to sign up for their loyalty programs, it can backfire.

Such campaigns are best delivered through personalized reminders, updates, and alerts. By communicating the key differentiating value proposition travel apps can bring back lost customers.

It is also important to target the right users with these campaigns. Targeting first-time users in such a scenario would completely defeat the purpose. It’s advisable to leverage insights derived from features such as RFM Analysis that can identify and automate user segments based on the recency, frequency, and monetary value of their purchases.

Once marketers have identified their promising and star users, it becomes easier to craft appropriate engagement campaigns to these segments.

Tip #6: Engage effectively with post-booking transactional messages

Mobile marketers need to remember that delivering satisfactory end-to-end experience is the only way to build brand loyalty. Right from app discovery and download to onboarding and information provision, from transaction facilitation to the completion of the physical travel journey.

In such cases, it’s important to embed greater value at every stage of the travel experience at a customized level.

How can this be done?

By sending personalized reminders, alerts, and updates that are timely and destination specific.

Tip #7: Invest in the power of seamless customer support

Effective customer support is an important cog around which long-term user engagement and retention can be built.

Travel apps are best served by responding to their users’ queries, requests, grievances, and recommendations through a robust multi-channel customer support network.

This could be accomplished through a call center, SMS, email, and social media.

Marketers can utilize AI-driven Chatbots that intuitively converse with users based on the most frequently asked questions or historical communication.

The objective is to communicate genuine reliability and a constant desire to better the entire purchase and travel experience. Bringing a subtle emotional angle to the messaging across relevant channels can enhance brand resonance in the minds of users, thereby encouraging them to stick with the travel app that delights them the most.

Relevant Metrics to Track User Retention Success

While deploying these mobile marketing tips, here are some key metrics that mobile marketers at travel apps ought to monitor and gauge user retention by:



Industry Benchmark

Average Retention Rate


(for 3 months)

The percentage of users who continue to use your app over a period of time post download

18% – 28%

App Stickiness

The ratio of your Daily Active Users (DAU) to your Monthly Active Users (MAU), expressed as a percentage



A high app stickiness percentage indicates that more number of users keep coming back to your app

20% – 30%

Average Time in App (per session)

The time a user stays active on your app

5-15 minutes

Average Session Frequency

The time between two consecutive user sessions.



This is a way to measure the addictiveness of your app as it tells you how soon users are returning to your app

10 – 60 days

Buckle Up, for Retention is a Long Ride!

Long-term retention is essential to long-term app success. The only way you can make that happen is by backing up a great product with effective user engagement and retention strategies.

The better the user experience, the faster the grievance redressal, and the higher the provision of discount-driven or value-adding campaigns and services, the greater the chances of building brand loyalty.

As data-driven mobile marketers today, it is important always to remember two sacrosanct truths regarding app user retention strategies:

  • There is no “set it and forget it” strategy. Periodic user feedback is pivotal to creating an iteratively improving product and user experience. The idea must be to build a platform that maximizes stickiness
  • No app is churn-proof. It’s impossible to keep everybody happy, so there will be user segments that immediately or gradually become inactive or resort to uninstalls. While winning such users back is important, travel apps don’t need to hit a 100% retention rate to be successful truly

While engagement and retention should always remain marketers’ north star metrics, there are a variety of high-conversion mobile marketing tips that can be adopted, targeted at diverse user segments, to build greater user loyalty and advocacy…one personalized, contextual, and timely campaign at a time.

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