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5 iOS 11 Tips for Apps in the Travel Category

Ashley Sefferman  //  October 17, 2017  //  5 min read

Apps in the Travel category have begun prepping for their busy season, but big changes in Apple’s rollout of iOS 11 means most app publishers need to update their strategies. Methods that have helped drive consumers to book holiday travel through a company’s mobile app may not be as effective this year, and there’s no time to spare in making sure your Travel app is prepped and ready for the new App Store before holiday travel plans are in full-swing.

But before covering how to prepare your app for the iOS 11 changes, it’s important to
understand what’s actually changing:

  • First, third-party ratings prompts are not permitted in apps built on iOS 11. Apple wants publishers to use the provided API for requesting reviews and will reject apps built for iOS 11 that are using custom review prompts.
  • Second, you will have a choice to reset your ratings between app versions. Similar to the Google Play Store, an app’s rating won’t reset with each new version. Instead, it will reflect the overall rating. You will have the ability to reset the app’s rating at your discretion.
  • Last, app publishers can now only present Apple’s Rating Prompt three times per year. This emphasizes the importance of finding the right time and right place to engage with consumers. Now that you can only ask for an app rating three times per year, it’s imperative that you identify evangelists, determine when to activate them and measure all interactions with your customers.

Reaching out to the right customers with the right message, at the right place, and the right time has never been more important, and the busy season for apps in the Travel category is just around the corner. Here are five tips to update your Travel app before the holidays in accordance to changes in iOS 11.

1. Update your app’s App Store description

Has it been awhile since you updated your app’s App Store description details? iOS 11 includes various enhancements to apps’ description pages that gives consumers a more holistic view of an app before they download. Before consumers rush to the App Store to begin booking their holiday travel, get ahead by giving your app a fresh look.

The newly designed product page is more streamlined, with clearer calls to important information. App publishers can now do more with:

  • App preview through images and video
  • Localization to help personalize a consumer’s preview experience
  • Clearer details around in-app purchases
  • Age appropriateness of the app’s content
  • New text fields for promoting limited-time events and time-sensitive messages

For more guidance on how to improve your App Store discoverability with iOS 11, check out Apple’s detailed explanations.

2. Find the right time to message

Consider when you’re sending customers in-app messages—especially ratings prompts. As an example, we’ve all been prompted to rate an app while we’re in the middle of completing a purchase, but it’s particularly frustrating when booking a flight, hotel, or another travel-related item.

Rude retailer

If your customer is in the app, you want to make sure they’ve had sufficient time to use the app before you ask them to rate it. We recommend focusing on the quality of interactions with customers instead of blanket, timed trigger points. If someone has only used the app once and you ask them for a rating, they probably don’t have enough experience to give you quality feedback, and it’s better to wait until further down their customer journey. Otherwise, your three ratings prompts per year (new in iOS 11) may be wasted on a customer who has no interest in rating you, or is prone to give you a negative rating.

3. Offer holiday promotions exclusively through your app

By now, your company likely has a plan to offer some awesome deals in anticipation of this year’s travel season. If you’re looking for a way to drive customers to adopt your app as another (or a main!) channel for booking their travel plans, consider offering your promotions exclusively through your app.

According to Statista, there are over 88,000 apps in the Travel category, which makes it incredibly difficult to stand out. The more incentive you give consumers to book their upcoming holiday plans through your app, the greater chance you’ll have to stand out in the crowded sea of apps, and—most importantly—the more likely consumers will be to take a chance on you, even if they aren’t part of your current customer base. Win-win for drumming up holiday-focused attention in your marketplace and for gaining new customers!

4. Segment customers before communicating

Consider who you’re sending your in-app messages to. Breaking your customers into segments will help you understand behavior, sentiment, and more in order to nurture similar actions across larger groups of your customers. The deeper you’re able to segment your customers by their in-app actions, the closer you can get to understanding which actions trigger loyalty status, along with building customer profiles to identify future loyal customers.

Customer segmentation

For example, consumers in different segments use airline apps in different ways. People who fly more regularly likely have a different pattern and cadence to their in-app actions than those who are new app users. By segmenting the messages these two customer groups get, you can enhance their in-app experiences by pointing them toward relevant content and information in a quicker, more useful way.

5. Don’t disrupt your customer experience

Be cognizant of how often you communicate in-app with your customers. While communicating 1:1 with customers in-app is generally helpful, it is possible to offer too much of a good thing. Make sure you understand your customers’ in-app behaviors as much as possible before putting together a communication strategy so you can align your messages at times that help instead of disrupt.

Finding the right in-app communication cadence also plays into Apple’s new limitations on the number of prompts app publishers are allowed to send customers per year, and their desire to make each interaction with customers a meaningful one. We recommend waiting at least 120 days after sending a customer Apple’s Rating Prompt before doing so again.

Use iOS 11 to your holiday season advantage

iOS 11 brings plenty of changes to the App Store, and from what we’ve seen so far, Apple is putting the consumer at the center of their new updates. We’ll continue to work with consumers and Travel app publishers alike to understand how these changes affect App Store search and discoverability, and to gauge whether or not they meet their intended positive impact.

Looking for more tips to update your app in accordance with iOS 11 changes? Grab a copy of our latest guide iOS 11: How to Prepare Your Mobile App.

Do you have other strategies to prep your app for the upcoming holiday season? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

About Ashley Sefferman

Ashley Sefferman is Head of Content at Apptentive. A digital communication and content strategy enthusiast, she writes about multichannel engagement strategies, customer communication, and making the digital world a better place for people. Follow Ashley on Twitter at @ashseff.
View all posts by Ashley Sefferman >

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