The Best Travel Apps, As Per J.D. Power

J.D. Power is known for lots of surveys, including travel-related ones for airlines and hotels. But one thing they hadn’t covered was U.S. travel apps. I guess they decided to rectify that, because they recently came out with the inaugural U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study…


Just about every travel brand has an app nowadays, and some are admittedly more helpful than others. But which are they best?

Joe and I have talked about a wide variety of travel-related apps in the past. Among others:

But still, life is a Your Mileage May Vary situation and what works well for us might not work well for everyone. So we were particularly interested when J.D. Power came out with this list.

The Study & Scoring

The study measured user satisfaction with apps made by airlines, hotels, rental car companies and booking sites and results of the study were based on more than 12,000 evaluations fielded from December 2018 through January 2019.

The study explored the key variables that influence customer choice, satisfaction and loyalty based on four factors:

  • clarity of information provided
  • ease of navigation
  • overall appearance and speed of screens loading
  • range of services and activities.

Scoring was based on a 1,000 point scale.

The Best Airline Apps

JetBlue‘s app was #1, with a score of 864, but Southwest was right behind them, at 861, which was followed by Alaska Airlines, with a score of 849.

The Best Hotel Apps

World of Hyatt ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among hotel apps – it had a score of 867. Following them were IHG (855) and Hilton Honors (853).

The Best Car Rental Company Apps

National‘s app got first place for customer satisfaction (860), Enterprise earned the #2 spot (854) and Hertz‘s app was awarded #3 (844).

The Best Online Booking Sites/Online Travel Agents (OTA)

Orbitz ranked the highest or overall customer satisfaction among OTA apps with a score of 866, It was followed by Priceline (859) and Expedia (847).

Key Findings from J.D. Power:

Travel apps lag far behind customer financial apps in overall satisfaction: The average overall satisfaction score for Hotel, OTA and Rental Car apps is 849 (on a 1,000-point scale). Airline apps score lower (840). By contrast, overall user satisfaction scores for credit card apps (874) and retail banking apps (867) are substantially higher. Both credit card and banking apps also have considerably higher levels of utilization

Day-of-travel performance is critical to travel app satisfaction: Across all segments of travel apps, the key performance indicator (KPI) with the most influence on overall satisfaction is ease of use during travel. Hotel apps that users cite as “easy to use” score 130 points higher in overall satisfaction compared with apps that are perceived as more difficult to use. Among airline apps, that gap is 125 points. However, just 58% of hotel apps and 62% of airline apps currently achieve these levels.

Rental car apps have lowest rate of adoption in travel industry: Among app users that indicated they have a travel app already downloaded on their smartphone,airline apps lead the industry in customer adoption rate at 90%. They are followed by hotel apps (84%); OTA apps (78%); and rental car apps (59%).

Weak point for airline apps: Airline apps have the highest levels of customer utilization of critical features during the day of travel, but the lowest performance in the industry when it comes to speed of screens loading during travel. OTAs perform best on this metric, with an average page load speed satisfaction score of 856. The average score for airline apps is 824.

What does this all mean?

In a nutshell, with the assumption that they will become more and more important to the overall travel experience, travel apps can and hopefully will do better in the future.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

One thought on “The Best Travel Apps, As Per J.D. Power”

  1. What a joke. If JDPower hasnt already lost all credibility this will surely do it. Southwest’s App, no offense is hot garbage and JetBlue and Alaska are almost as worthless. UA and DL have, hands down the most superior airline apps in not just this country but the entire world and honestly, it’s not even really close.

Leave a Reply