“ Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand. ”
Top stories of such well-known bus ticket booking and reservation systems as Flixbus, Greyhound, Omio (GoEuro), and MakeMyTrip motivate lots of entrepreneurs and startup founders to repeat their success and become even better.
According to the TechNavio’s report, the global online bus ticketing service market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 25% during 2018-2022.
However, here comes the question of how to build a ticket reservations software in 2021?
In this article, we want to cover the key aspects of the online bus ticket booking and reservation system, must-have features for customers and owners, and the development process step-by-step.
Let’s begin our story with discussing the key benefits you can get by developing a bus ticketing service that rocks.
Bus ticket reservation software benefits for business
#1 High automation of bus ticket booking
Millions of people book bus tickets daily to reach their destination points like office, school, college, shopping centers, hospitals, etc. The large volumes of incoming requests definitely take lots of time to process and confirm by phone.
Bus ticket booking and reservation allows you to fully automate the bus ticket booking process and facilitate hundreds of bookings daily.
This way, automation enables you to reduce customer service costs gradually as you just need to set up autoreply emails and adjust technical aspects to send tickets to customers.
#2 24/7 availability for customers
The Forrester research states that almost 80% of customers would prefer companies that offer 24/7 service with an effortless and transparent process
Online bus ticket reservation software is about full availability which means that customers can reserve and buy tickets whenever they want. It means that clients can avoid contacting sales reps and purchase bus seats through a mobile/desktop application in a contact-free manner.
This greatly benefits your business as you don’t have any downtimes when your bus booking service is unavailable for customers.
So, it allows you to boost sales and focus on more strategically important and major tasks like promotional activities, product improvement, and expansion into the new markets.
#3 Instant and contact-free payments
According to the PR Newswire report 2021, the global payment processing solutions market is expected to reach over $52 bln by 2026 at a CAGR of 6% during the 2021-2026 period. By way of contrast, in 2019 the global payment solutions market size was at the level of $33 bln.
These statistics mean that online payment processing products are gaining momentum and covering the key needs of most digital businesses.
In the case of online bus ticket reservation software, payment solutions are a must-have feature that allows customers to perform instant and contact-free purchases through the Internet. Everything you need is to establish a legal entity (if needed) and create a banking account that will accept payments from customers.
#4 One-click performance analytics
According to the McKinsey Global Institute Report, data-driven companies that actively use analytics services acquire 23x more customers, retain 6x more clients, and are 19x more profitable.
If you build a custom bus ticket reservation software, you get lots of opportunities to analyze, monitor, and enhance the product’s performance in real-time. This way, you receive the power to make data-driven decisions and enhance the customer experience to keep them as satisfied as possible.
Analyze every aspect of your online bus ticket booking and reservation system from service level performance, bus seat booking, and ticket management to security management, promotional activities, and product management.
Must-have features of a bus ticket booking app
Key functionality for customers
Easy Registration & Social Login
You need to keep track of your customers, analyze their behavior, personalize discounts and loyalty program aspects, save their routes and schedules to provide the best user experience.
What’s more, clients often need help or feedback which means that your customer service and 24/7 support (if any) should know each user’s history of bookings, payment options, and other personal details to provide instant and useful feedback which solves their problem.
All this becomes possible by implementing an intuitive sign-in/sign-up functionality complemented by a one-click social login feature.
According to the Smart Insights Report, the social log-in functionality boosts the click-to-registration rate up to 50%. Moreover, over 65% of users come back to a website in case they are welcomed by a social login feature.
Below you can see our designed mockups of sign-in/sign-up screens for Flibco.com, one of the top shuttle bus providers in Western Europe.
Destination, date/time, passengers
Once your users are registered or logged in, they most likely want to book a ticket for their trip. It means that you should provide an easy-to-use and visually-appealing user experience which will allow customers to choose:
- Departure and arrival points
- Date time for their outward and return (if any) journeys
- Number of travelers (with infants, if any)
- The Search button.
Below you can see mobile-designed mockups of the main screens we created for Flibco.com.
There are multiple ways to build an intuitive and highly conversional UI/UX, but we want to share our tips on the main screen’s user experience:
- Make sure you add the ‘one-way journey’ option so that customers can book tickets in a unidirectional manner.
- Implement the autosuggestion feature which will help users accelerate the process of searching for the desired departure/arrival locations. Also, cache their search field values so that customers will be able to choose the location from the list in the future.
- Add the ‘location swap’ feature that lets users to invert locations in case of incorrect field completion.
- Complement each field with push hints and suggestions to guide users through the bus ticket booking process and boost conversions.
- Display the minimum ticket price throughout for each date throughout the calendars when users try to choose the preferred date. This will give them a better understanding of current pricing and may increase conversions to choose a cheaper trip date.
What’s more, make sure you show the disabled days that are unavailable for specific trips that will save customers’ time and improve their user experience even more.
Trip choice and tour details
Once users enter the preferred departure/arrival points, date, and the number of passengers, you need to show them the available trips with time, price, and trip details. We recommend showing a list of trips with the following aspects:
- Trip bus provider
- Departure/arrival time
- Journey time
- Trip price
- Duration of transfers (if any).
Also, users should be able to see trip details by clicking on the desired journey option. Here you can show a specific tour flow with all bus stops, transfers, exact timing from station to station, and the overall trip duration.
Below we share the designed mobile mockups of the trip choice and tour details steps for Flibco.com.
After choosing the preferred journey that meets customers’ needs, users proceed to filling in the passenger details:
- First and Last name
- Phone number with the country’s code
- Email (optional).
This stage is crucial to identify passengers and assign specific bus seats to them. This screen shouldn’t include multiple fields in order to keep your online bus ticket booking and reservation system flow as simple and user-oriented as possible.
Below is a designed mobile mockup for the passenger identification stage created for Flibco.com.
Confirmation and payment
Once filled in the required information, you can navigate customers to the checkout form where they confirm booking and purchase tickets.
At this stage, we recommend providing customers with multiple payment options to increase sales and boost customer’s experience.
According to the PR Newswire study, small businesses that provide different payment methods increase revenue by over 30% in average.
Entrepreneur.com states that Stripe, PayPal, Payoneer, Apple/Google Pay, and Amazon Payments are among the most high-demand payment gateways across users.
Apart from these methods, you should also add the opportunity for customers to pay via cash as over 23% of users still prefer cash on delivery option.
What’s more, add the feature to download an invoice (optional) which will allow users to get a digital copy of the ticket purchase bill with the payment details.
In case you build marketing campaigns that include promocode activities, you can add an extra field for promocodes that will make a discount for users.
Right here is a designed mobile mockup for the passenger confirmation and payment experience which was created for Flibco.com.
Key features for business
Control Hub & Dashboard
This feature allows you to manage, monitor, and analyze any aspects of your online bus ticket booking and reservation system from a single place.
Most often, it looks like a web-based panel with charts and dashboards that can show the number of daily/weekly/monthly booked tickets, bus drivers in service, revenue generated, etc.
If you want to keep your eyes on the ball in real-time and be able to make data-driven decisions quickly, then a control hub with dashboards is a must-have feature to hold up your online bus ticket reservation software well.
Routes & Schedules
A bus ticketing service is about well-thought-out routes and schedules which lead to win-win logistics for both customers and your company.
It means that you should create a functionality dedicated to the creation and management of routes, pickups, drop points, schedules, and other bus tour details.
For example, if customers leave their feedback desiring to add a new drop point at a specific bus stop, schedule and route management features will allow you to add them with one-click ease.
You may think that inventory management is of utmost importance only for e-commerce businesses and their analogs, but actually, it plays a huge role in an online bus ticket reservation software niche as well.
Inventory management functionality enables you to keep a stock of the in-service buses, their types and models, seat layouts, tariff rules, and other details.
This data is crucial to analyze your capabilities and verify whether your supply fully covers customers’ demands.
If you need to scale your business, inventory management of your online bus ticket booking and reservation system will help you save much time and find new resources based on users’ needs. This way, you will also reduce costs as you avoid purchasing needless bus fleet units.
GPS Bus Tracking
A real-time bus tracking feature allows you to gradually reduce operational costs by analyzing the fuel consumption, idle and bus misuse time. How does it work?
You build a tracking functionality and supply your buses with GPS trackers to see their location, driving direction, and fuel consumption rate in real-time.
This way, you can analyze routes and overall logistics remotely and even set up push notifications that will help your bus drivers change their average moving speed, direction, etc.
What’s more, a GPS tracking system allows your customers to see a bus location in real-time which directly influences the estimated arrival and departure times. This also provides great transparency which allows building a better customer experience and satisfaction.
Ultimately, a GPS tracking feature is a cornerstone of high automation of operations which is a win-win strategy for both your online bus ticket booking and reservation system and customers.
Bus driver management
Driver management software plays a huge role in your bus ticketing system. It allows you to automatically eliminate the lack of visibility in real-time by alerting or dispatching managers of any trouble emerged.
What’s more, it helps you to identify drivers’ risky behavior instantly as managers can contact bus drivers quickly if any situation happens.
Bus driver management software also enables you to enhance fleet efficiency by times. It becomes possible as managers can inform drivers immediately in case of traffic, road, or weather conditions’ changes that may affect travel time and passengers’ safety.
Besides, you can develop a built-in predictive maintenance system that helps you to keep all bus fleet units repaired and breakdown-free. This way, you greatly reduce the downtime of drivers as they no longer need to stay inactive waiting for a vehicle repair.
Moreover, one of the latest online bus ticket booking and reservation system trends is telematics. It stands for a connection between computer science and vehicle technologies.
According to the Mordor Intelligence report 2020, the global telematics market is going to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% during the period 2021-2026. The key world telematics providers are Cisco Systems, AT&T Inc., Verizon Telematics, and Geotab Inc.
Telematics allows your company to generate valuable data-driven insights into vehicle maintenance, fuel usage, driver performance, and fleet-related reports.
Finally, bus driver management functionality allows you to automate the rewards program which greatly improves driver retention rate. Drivers get safety scores for high performance which can be summed up at the end of a quarter to reward drivers and keep them from leaving your company.
Bus ticket booking app development process
#1 Create and validate your project idea
Bob Proctor, a Canadian author and philosopher, once said:
First, come up with your online bus ticket booking and reservation system idea. What will be the key product goal and what exact problems of customers will it solve?
Answering these questions, you will form a high-level vision of your booking software that will help you move further and create specific requirements and milestones.
Next, do competitor research and analysis. Try to find the top market players and review their products in detail.
Compare 3-5 online ticket reservation software solutions, analyze their key features, benefits, drawbacks, and customer-oriented approach. You can navigate through the user flow of each one making notes on each stage from the point of a real customer.
Competitor research is of utmost importance to take all the best from your market rivals including the key features and create an even greater ticket booking software that rocks.
Write down all the blind spots and weaknesses of your competitors to avoid them while building your own solution.
Afterward, validate your project idea. There are multiple ways to do it, but here are the most cost-effective and quick options:
- Ask your friends, colleagues, and relatives
- Use social platforms to conduct surveys and interview users
- Set up focus groups.
#2 Choose a development option
Once you’ve validated your product idea, it’s high time to prepare the requirements and the list of core features you will implement first in your software for ticket sale in bus.
As we have listed the core functionality of bus ticket booking systems above, let’s discuss what development options you can use to reach your goals.
According to the GlobeNewswire report, the freelance platforms market size is expected to hit the level of $9.2 bln in 2026 compared to $3.3 bln in 2019 at a CAGR of over 15% during this period.
This statistics means that more and more entrepreneurs and startup founders come to freelance services to transform their online bus ticket booking and reservation system into life.
What are the top freelance websites?
G2, UpWork, Freelancer, 99Designs, Outsourcerly, and Credo are among the top platforms to find freelance software engineers, QA specialists, UI/UX designers, and other tech stuff.
These sites list thousands of new specialists daily including their portfolios, rates, client reviews, and in-platform rating.
Find a CTO/Technical Partner
A Chief Technical Officer is a highly experienced professional who perfectly knows how to reach business goals through technology implementation.
What’s more, this specialist understands what technologies, languages, and frameworks will meet the project budget and goals as cost- and time-effective as possible.
For these reasons, finding a CTO is a great option to start building your own in-house development team or even outsourcing to a bus ticket booking app development company around the world. This person is an ideal combination of a business partner and director of development within your project.
Where to find a CTO?
There are 2 ways: offline and online.
The first one means visiting tech-related conferences, meetups, webinars, and other events that gather lots of experienced technical professionals.
In 2021, we recommend paying attention to the following tech events:
- Black Hat USA: July 31-Aug. 5, 2021 [Las Vegas]
- HIMSS21: Aug. 9–13, 2021 [Las Vegas]
- GMIS MEETS: Aug. 22-25, 2021 [Lake Buena Vista, Florida]
- AWS re:Inforce: Aug. 24-25, 2021 [Houston, Texas]
- VMworld 2021: Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2021 [San Francisco]
- EDUCAUSE 2021: Oct. 26–29 [Philadelphia and Online].
Develop your networking skills, communicate with other conference attendants, and briefly share your project idea in order to find an engaged professional who will have a strong desire to make your bus ticket booking app a complete success.
An online option may seem easier as it does not require your physical attendance and can be done remotely.
First, we recommend visiting CoFoundersLab.com – one of the world’s largest entrepreneurship networks. To date, it unites over 40,000 entrepreneurs throughout the world and verticals which greatly increases the chance to find a relevant partner for your bus ticket booking system project.
The platform provides several pricing plans starting from $20 per month for 3 months and so on.
Apart from CoFoundersLab, here is the list of top platforms that worth your attention:
All of these websites are good to find a technical partner for your bus ticket booking app project so leverage the benefits of all of them to maximize the efficiency and accelerate the hiring process.
Outsource to a development company
According to Statista, the global IT outsourcing is expected to reach the level of $409 bln in 2022 compared to $64.3 bln in 2017. This statistics shows that more and more companies opt for software development outsourcing to build high-quality bus ticket booking systems that rock.
At Ascendix Tech, we have passed through the way of IT outsourcing to 5 locations around the world which allowed us to gather useful knowledge and understanding of how to find a technical provider in a fast, reliable, and long-term manner.
What are the benefits of IT outsourcing?
To be short, you get the following advantages hiring a bus ticket booking app development company:
- A large talent pool out-of-the-box
- High expertise and turnkey solutions
- An opportunity to engage closely with the team or fully delegate the project
- Cost reduction in the long run
- Risk management
- After-launch support and maintenance.
Apart from the mentioned above benefits, you can also review a company’s case studies similar to your project.
For example, if you are looking for a bus ticket booking app development company having solid experience in building an online bus ticket software, then you can review our case study for Flibco.com.
There we share the key challenges, solutions, and results we achieved throughout the development and launch processes.
#3 Perform a discovery phase
The discovery phase is about transforming your project requirements into sprints, timelines, deadlines, and exact development tasks. This process includes engagement from Business Analysts, Solution Architects, UI/UX designers, and other specialists.
Business analysts collect your project requirements to prepare an in-depth specification a clear project development plan.
Solution architects take care of transforming your business model and logics into up-to-date and user-oriented functionality and architecture. These specialists can offer alternative technology solutions to your project ideas in order to make your online bus ticket software more customer- and result-oriented.
UI/UX design professionals create prototypes and mockups to illustrate what will your future bus ticket booking system look like. This way, you can analyze how will a real user interact and navigate through your booking app.
Ultimately, these specialists will take care of the final online bus ticket software design to make it as visually appealing and intuitive as possible.
At Ascendix Tech, we always insist on conducting a project discovery phase to better understand the project and show our technical expertise and transparency to clients.
Do You Really Need a Project Discovery Phase?
What is a project discovery phase, why is it crucial for your project’s success, who takes part in it, and what do you get after? Read the full blog post to find the answers to these questions.
#4 Build the key MVP features
A Minimum Viable Product approach is a perfect option to save much costs, launch fast, and collect valuable feedback from customers to improve your product.
Put it simply, you build the must-have features only that allow early users and customers to get the core value of your online bus ticket software and make sure they find it problem-solving.
After a project discovery phase, we recommend building an MVP of your bus ticketing system software implementing the must-have features we mentioned above.
Let’s briefly overview the core functionality for customers that your MVP should include:
- Easy Registration & Social Login
- Destination, date/time, passengers
- Trip choice and tour details
- Passenger’s information
- Confirmation and payment.
Here are the key features for you as a business owner:
- Control Hub & Dashboard
- Routes & Schedules
- Inventory management
- GPS Bus Tracking
- Bus driver management.
#5 Release and collect feedback
Once finished with the development, UI/UX design, testing, and deployment processes, it’s high time to release your bus ticket booking app MVP version to public.
Now your key goal is to collect as much relevant feedback as possible in order to improve your bus ticket booking software. Prepare and distribute high-quality press releases through the relevant platforms like:
- PR Fire
- PR Web
- Response Source Press Release Wire
- 24-7 Press Release
- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
- YCombinator, Reddit, IndieHackers.
Press release distribution will help attract users’ attention, get first trial users or even customers, and collect their feedback and notes.
The latter should be your top priority in order to prepare a new V2 release including bug fixing, functionality improvements, security enhancements, and so on.
#6 Scale and support
When you take into account the feedback from first customers, you should instantly improve the product, scale, and support it. Modify/add/remove features based on users’ notes and enhance the overall bus ticket booking app architecture.
One of the crucial aspects of keeping your bus ticket booking system in demand is constant maintenance. Most applications and solutions have bugs, but your task is to minimize them and eliminate them immediately.
This will help you keep the churn rate on a low level and client satisfaction on a high level. Always make sure that your online bus ticket software doesn’t have downtimes and customers get a bug-free experience.
At Ascendix Tech, we provide 24/7 concierge and support services to keep our clients’ software error-free and solve their users’ challenges on time.
Our Expertise With an Online Bus Ticket Booking and Reservation System Development
At Ascendix Tech, we have solid experience and expertise in building custom online bus ticket software solutions.
One of them is cross-platform online bus ticket app development for Flibco.com and now we want to briefly cover the key details of this project.
What is Flibco?
Flibco.com is a leading private airport shuttle service provider with a passenger turnover of 1.9 million/year in main Western European countries with headquarters in Luxembourg.
What challenges we had to solve?
- Migrate an old system to a new modern solution
- Develop powerful route generation tool
- Build advanced security management
- Conduct cloud migration to an advanced online ticket reservation software
- Integrate multi-payment functionality
- Create front-rank performance analytics tools.
What solutions have we built?
- Powerful bus ticket reservation software
- Ticket management
- Integration with TomTom services
- Google maps integration
- Security management
- Performance analytics
- Multi-payment integration
- Intuitive sign-up process
- Drupal CMS integration.
If you want to learn more details about the bus ticket software development for Flibco.com, keep reading the full case study below.
To sum up, the Ascendix Tech team has accomplished lots of work related to bus ticket software development, system integration, cloud migration, DevOps services, etc.
Considering the results, we helped Flibco.com boost their customer support and marketing teams’ efficiency by times along with lots of improvements for subcontractors.
What’s more, we achieved more reliable and clearer structured data which allowed Flibco’s business analytics team to perform reporting and analysis procedures in a time- and cost-effective manner.
Here is what Alex Tregubov, Product Owner at Flibco.com, said:
“ In early 2019 we were in need to outsource the development of a mobile application to an external bus ticket booking app development company. We were blessed to find Ascendix!
A number of other initiatives followed after the online bus ticket app delivery, including a unique system to manage our Door2Gate product and a complete overall revival of our IT infrastructure.
Our partners at Ascendix have been phenomenal all the way, showing an exceptional level of efficiency, transparency, expertise, and quality. It’s no doubt that all of our future initiatives are with Ascendix Technologies. ”
How We Built a Shuttle Bus Ticketing System Software for Flibco.com
Check our case study to know the key challenges solved and solutions built that may be of great help for your project.
Also, you can check the full version of our interview with Tobias Stueber, CEO of Flibco, sharing his experience of outsourcing bus ticket booking software development to Ascendix Tech.
Want to build a bus ticket booking application?
Ascendix Tech will help transform your project idea into the best app to book bus tickets. Just answer a few questions and get a ball-park estimate.
Software for ticket sale in bus is gaining popularity day by day due to the flexibility and convenience it provides to customers. However, bus ticket booking software development is a complex process which requires engagement of experienced professionals with relevant background.
At Ascendix Tech, we offer enterprise-level travel and transportation application development services. We will transform your project requirements into a reliable and customer-oriented bus ticket booking software that your users will enjoy.
If you want to discuss your project idea, feel free to check our case studies and contact us. We will be glad to engage in a discussion to better understand your goals and objectives and if appropriate, provide you with a free estimate of your project development requirements.
Daniil specializes in content marketing and has a deep knowledge of promoting the company's products and services through high-quality content. On the Ascendix blog, Daniil shares his tricks and tips on custom software development, provides technology trends and insights, and helps you get valuable content to make your business even more successful and profitable.
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