Travel Category Rebounding to Pre-Pandemic Download Levels Following the pandemic outbreak, the travel category was one of the most affected categories in the app stores in 2020. With restrictions on mobility within and across countries, people all over the world had to cancel travel plans. Exactly two years after the first lockdown, AppTweak data shows that the travel category is finally climbing back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of app downloads. Hopper and VRBO come out strong from the pandemic, whereas ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft are still struggling to reach pre-pandemic highs.

Hopper hits 4.7M downloads in the US

Canadian travel app Hopper has emerged from the pandemic as the top travel booking app in the US, surpassing Booking.com and Expedia. Data from AppTweak Market Intelligence shows that in Q1 of 2022, Hopper received a total of 4.7M downloads in the US, 19% more than Booking.com and 52% more than Expedia.

Hopper was hit hard during the first lockdown. Downloads decreased 96% to a low of 2,690 daily downloads on March 26, 2020. Today, the app is the leading travel booking app in the US. In Q1 of 2022, downloads for Hopper were 145% higher than pre-pandemic levels (Q1 of 2019).

VRBO is surpassing Airbnb as the most popular vacation rental booking app

VRBO, part of the Expedia group, is now the most popular vacation rental booking app in the US. According to AppTweak analytics, in Q1 of 2022, the app received a total of 4.7M downloads, 22% more than Airbnb.

Vacation rental apps recovered more quickly than traditional hotel booking apps after the first lockdown.

VRBO, in particular, has seen impressive growth during the pandemic. Downloads in Q1 of 2022 were 231% higher than the same quarter in 2019. In comparison, downloads for Airbnb only grew 10% in the same period.

Airline travel back to pre-pandemic levels reaching 6.5M downloads

Airline travel recovered much slower than any other category as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions.

In 2020, app downloads for the top 3 US airlines (United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines) dropped 51% compared to 2019.

As restrictions worldwide started to ease, downloads for airline apps surged and reached a high in July 2021. Today, the airline category seems to be back to pre-pandemic download levels. In Q1 (2022), the top 3 airline apps received a total of 6.5M downloads, 23% more than Q1 in 2019.

Uber downloads are still 10% lower than before pandemic

Uber and Lyft are recovering more slowly from the turbulent pandemic years. AppTweak Market Intelligence data shows that downloads for the ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft are respectively 10% and 21% lower than before the pandemic times (comparing Q1 2022 vs Q1 2019).

Stepping towards recovery

The travel category has certainly been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. However, as countries and economies open up and most restrictions are lifted, app downloads in the travel category are soaring again. But the travel app landscape has changed.

Established apps like Booking.com and Airbnb need to make room for Hopper and VRBO. And the category’s most downloaded apps, Uber and Lyft continue to struggle to recover from stay-at-home guidelines.

The data in this report are estimates calculated by AppTweak. You can export download and revenue estimates for any app with AppTweak’s App Store API. The App Store API is now available with your AppTweak subscription (Pro, Guru, Power, and Enterprise Plans).