Do I build my own app, or buy one?
June 5, 2019
So, you are a tour operator and you have made the decision to offer your clients an app to make their experience with you the best is can possibly be. Good decision! (If you have not yet made this decision, check out our post on whether or not an app is right for you).
Now you have to make your next choice, which is whether or not you build the app in-house, or whether you buy a pre-existing app. Below is a list of questions which you should consider before making your decision:
- How big is your business?
Do you have the resources in house, or can you partner with a tech company who has the understanding and knowhow to create an app from scratch? If you are able to put a project team together that is able to scope out your requirements, build, review, test, and update, then you might be in a good position to build your own app.
If you do not have this internal resource or knowledge, however, it may be best to explore pre-built options. This is much less time consuming, requires very little technical knowledge and capability, and will take away the stress of having to build something from scratch and keep it updated.
- What can you afford?
It doesn’t take much searching on the internet to find how varied the cost of building your own app would be. Of course, this all depends on all the features and functionality you would like to include, whether or not you want it on Android and/or iOS, as well as many other factors. The cost of building a basic app could start anywhere between $10,000 – $50,000, and if you wanted an app with all the bells and whistles, this could cost up to $500,000. You then have your ongoing maintenance costs on top of this – so it doesn’t come cheap!
The cost of a pre-built app may be more manageable for a lot of companies. There are a couple of really great options to choose from, all with varying monthly and annual pricing. You may experience small price increases from time to time, but you would never have to worry about being hit with a huge bill.
If you don’t want the hassle of building your own app, and want something that can be set up in minutes, view a Vamoos demo by clicking the button below.
- How much personalisation do you need?
If your travel company varies dramatically in terms of the information you provide your clients compared to the average travel company, you may need to consider building your own app. This entirely depends on what it is you would like to use the app for. Most off-the-shelf apps will likely have core functionality that consists of: daily itineraries, weather updates, local points of interest and flight information. There are some apps that do more and some that do less, so based on the information you like to give your clients, you should have a look around at your options and see what best suits you.
What’s more, some apps will be completely customisable, allowing you to toggle what features you want your clients to see, and also the ability to change the language to whatever your clients need it to be.
- Do you want to compete with bigger companies?
This is a key area for a lot of travel companies, and can seem daunting as a lot of big names in the travel industry have their own app. Having an app automatically makes a company will look much bigger, credible, and professional. Some big companies have certainly spent the time and money to develop their own app, which works really well for them. However, a lot of big names have simply white-labelled an off the shelf solution, which means they did not built it, but all the branding is completely their own.
- How quickly do you need an app?
If you are looking for something that can be set up quickly then a pre-build app is the one for you. Many of these solutions can be set up in minutes and will allow you to start working on them and sending out to your clients the very same morning. This is a great option for anyone who wants a quick and simple solution.
Building your own app could take months, if not years of piloting, testing, building and everything else that comes into producing a really helpful app. If you have the time to do this then great, but if you want more of a quick win then buying is a better idea.
- Do you want the freedom to change your mind?
Building your own app requires a lot of investment, and if after spending all this time, money, and energy on an app that is unsuccessful or that your clients don’t like, then it could be a big loss for your business. With monthly subscriptions, you are able to change your mind and cancel an account with a pre-built solution with very little hassle. At most you could be tied into a 1 year contract, but you will not lose much time or money if you do decide to cancel.
Similarly, you have the freedom to try multiple solutions to see which suits you best. Many pre-build solutions also offer free trials, so you could try some of them before even parting with any money. You could even try a few months with 2 or 3 different options to see what you and your employees prefer to work with, and which gets the best feedback from your clients.
- Are you able to keep up with technology?
Technology is moving very fast. Especially in the travel industry where using technology has really caught traction in the last couple of years, so you need to ask yourself if you are able to keep up with this on your own.
If you were to build your own app, it would be your responsibility to keep updating the app, reviewing it, and ensuring you are complying with data protection laws. Buying an app however takes the owness off you, and you can relax in the knowledge that the technology company who has built your app will be handling all of this.
Here is a quick glance at the advantages of each option you have available to you:
|Advantages of building your own app
||Advantages of buying a pre-built app
|The app can be completely personalised to the functionality you need.
||You have an app that you can start using instantly.
|You would have an in house tech team who will be able to fix bugs/issues as soon as they arise.
||You have support from not just a tech team, but generally an account and marketing manager too.
|You will have something different to anything else in the market which could be a good USP.
||You have access to data to understand how the app is used best.
||More manageable monthly or annual payments.
||You can take advantage of any updates that are built.
||You are likely to have the option to white label the app so it looks like your own.
||Better for smaller businesses who do not have the resource (people, time, money) to spend on own app build.
Vamoos is an out of the box, pre built solution which has been developed by travel companies, for travel companies. We are confident that we are one of the best apps in the market, offering a wealth of functionality, customisation, and editable branding.
We offer a demo or free trial which you can check out here, or you can get in touch with the team who would be happy to talk through any questions or concerns you may have.