About TravelTech

It’s overwhelming how much technology transforms the way we travel. Mobile check-ins increase customer satisfaction tenfold, content from travel brands helps travelers make a final decision about destinations, and the whole 83 percent of millennials don’t bother about personal data sharing as long as it gives them the desired personalization. AR tours, data-driven flight shopping, Alexa in hotel rooms - this is just the tip of the TravelTech iceberg. Here, on Techtalks, you can discover new opportunities for your travel business, ask about the integration of certain technology, and of course - help others by sharing your experiences and reviews. Let’s grow the TravelTech community together.
Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Apr 1, 2019

Hi there,

It’s nearly impossible to get access to all airline seating info as some airlines may not share this data in the first place.

However, there are two main options. The first one is obvious: you may contact airlines directly and ask for their API access with seating capabilities. For instance, Lufthansa Open API provides seat maps. But most airlines don’t support APIs at all.

The second option is to source seating info from GDSs.

Amadeus provides seat maps in their enterprise APIs.
Sabre has a broad set of APIs for seating.
And TravelPort Universal API has a seat map capability.

They still may be limited by the data that carriers provide.

It doesn’t look like SeatGuru has an open API, but it’s also worth trying to contact them directly.
Getting access to GDS APIs isn’t that simple, but it seems like the best option for your problem.

112 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered May 22, 2019

EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. Basically, it’s a network established between two physical computers that can exchange data using messages with a data transmission protocol. In the modern world, EDI systems can use internet connection and modern data exchange protocols like HTTP.

EDI systems are used to exchange different sorts of standardized documents between two computers. The documents are formed by the computer itself, so human involvement is minimized. Traditionally, document types generated by EDI are purchase orders, invoices, bills, or shipping statuses. Those are generated in a standardized form to avoid language barriers or other human factors making its possible for two agents understand each other. EDI is actively used in transportation and logistics for shipment document exchange.

answered Jan 22, 2019

Thanks a lot for your descriptions. What are the conditions for get access to enterprise API? Where I can find a sample of contract for access to Enterprise API services?
 
Best regards

1.6 K views 0 answers 0 votes
asked Nov 1, 2018
238 views 1 answer 0 votes
Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered May 2, 2019

Hello tanguy colou,

The most precise answer would be: Skyscanner doesn’t need to connect with GDSs, as long as GDS provides distribution and booking capabilities. Which is not the case for Skyscanner, as they consolidate flight data from various sources, and allow users to find this data.

As we can judge from the available information, Skyscanner may source their information in a couple of different ways:

  1. API connection with data aggregator platforms like OAG and ATPCO. Since 2018 Skyscanner also participates in IATA’s NDC exchange platform along with ATPCO and SITA.
  2. Skyscanner is also known for screen-scraping RSS feed data from OTA or airline's websites, that don’t have travel APIs in free access. Nevertheless, Skyscanner is allowed to source data via screen-scraping, like in the case with Ryanair.
  3. As an exception, Skyscanner took part in Altea NDC platform development, which is owned by Amadeus. As a result, Skyscanner allows booking Finnair tickets without leaving Skyscanner.com.

So, basically, Skyscanner uses API connectivity with available carriers or OTAs to source data, or screen scrape it. If you are interested in connecting with Skyscanner, you may read about their available APIs in our dedicated article.

Hope it gives you the answer to your question!

281 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Apr 25, 2019

Hotels.com has an affiliate program that you may try. But it’s hard to tell whether their affiliate program provides you with an API. Since Hotels.com belongs to Expedia, it shares hotel inventory with most Expedia brands, including Hotwire, Orbitz, Trivago, Travelocity, and many more.

Instead of Hotels.com integration, we’d recommend considering Expedia Partner Solutions. Check what they offer at their website or in our article on travel APIs.

answered Apr 23, 2019

Hi Olexander
That’s really helpful thank you.
I’ll likely have more questions in time but for now I’ve got a much better understanding.
Best regards
Ted
 

Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Apr 15, 2019

Hello Ted,

Booking.com, as well as most major OTAs, has its own web interface, an extranet. Basically, the extranet is a dashboard for managing a property. There you can add photos of your property, provide rates, define policies, configure payments, etc.

But there’s a problem with using an extranet. If you want to list your property at multiple OTAs like Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, and more, you have to manually update room availability in each separate extranet belonging to different OTAs.

That’s why some hotels -  those that want to distribute their properties via many channels at once - use channel managers. These systems have their own dashboards and automatically update room availability and property details across all connected OTAs. So, hotel owners can operate using channel manager software only.

But since there are many small property owners that are fine with managing their rooms manually in a handful of OTAs, they stick with extranets. It’s likely that the majority of hoteliers listing their properties at Booking.com are doing so.

429 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Apr 9, 2019

Kayak has an affiliate program that you must enroll in before integrating their API. Keep in mind that Kayak doesn’t permit integration unless your platform has more than 100,000 monthly visitors.

If you have more, you can use their API or white label. To proceed you have to define which kinds of search data you want to receive and contact them directly.

If you have fewer than 100,000 monthly visitors, Kayak offers an affiliate programs trial using third party affiliate networks like CJ or Webgains. They will connect you with smaller brands belonging to Booking Holdings, like Momondo.

Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Apr 2, 2019

Hi Cho

Yes, Travelpayouts looks like a nice option. Rome2Rio doesn’t have booking capability. It has search only.

If you’re fine with affiliate programs, also check Skyscanner, Allmyles, and KIWI. You may also consider Booking.com and Expedia affiliate programs, but they mostly address accommodation booking.

Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Mar 29, 2019

Hotelbeds doesn't publicly publish their rates. As their APItude service has multiple sets of APIs and various types data that you can request, the end pricing can be very different depending on your needs.

So, the best option would be to contact Hotelbeds directly and provide them with the list of services that you plan to use.

However, you can test the APIs in the sandbox mode prior to opting for some specific services.

962 views 0 answers 0 votes
asked Nov 1, 2018
459 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Mar 28, 2019

Klook doesn’t provide APIs for businesses (like OTAs) that distribute tours and attractions. Currently, they suggest a number of tools within their affiliate program. You can add Klook banners, deep links, and search boxes to your product.

If you’re interested in integrating Klook as a merchant and you want to distribute your T&A services on their platform, they suggest API integration on top of the web interface.

393 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Mar 27, 2019

Orbitz doesn't provide its own API. This OTA is a brand of Expedia Group. So, look for a connection with them.

If you’re an OTA, TMC, metasearch, or other travel provider, Expedia has its Rapid API. It lets you retrieve hotel data and booking rooms. To get access to Rapid, you first have to apply for a partnership with Expedia. If they approve you as a partner, you can start testing the API. Here’s their Expedia Partner Solutions page.

Before going live, you must make sure that you comply with their requirements.

If you're a hotel, use Expedia Connectivity to hook your property to all Expedia products. Check their API documentation. The API manages bookings and sends updates about your property, rates, availability, etc. To become their lodging partner, first, register your property by joining Expedia Partner Central.

433 views 1 answer 0 votes
Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Mar 25, 2019

Hi Bhavesh,

It’s almost impossible to give specific - read useful - advice, because of the many unknowns to clarify.

Let me provide some general assumptions though.

First, it doesn’t seem like you need to build a channel manager. A channel manager is a tool that hotels use to effectively manage their bookings. It connects to multiple OTAs and wholesalers. And as soon as a traveler confirms a booking at some OTA, a channel manager reserves a room at a hotel and updates other OTAs that this particular room is no longer available. This way, hotels don’t have to manually update each room status in all OTAs and other platforms that they distribute through.

According to your description, you're considering building a new booking portal. So, in this case, you would act as another channel for hotels that you want to distribute. And there are multiple scenarios.

1) The most straightforward approach is to connect with channel manager software that the hotels in question already use. This way, your customers will be able to book through your portal and a channel manager will update room status across other OTAs. Here are the most popular channel manager products. This doesn’t mean though that the hotels you’re interested in use these specific channel managers. Of course, they may have custom channel managers. You should ask hoteliers directly and then contact channel manager providers for their connectivity options.

2) Also, these hotels (or some of them) may not be using channel manager software at all and may manage their channels manually. This means that they use multiple room management panels provided by each OTA they work with. For instance, if someone books a room through Booking.com, they manually update the room availability in Expedia. Or they may be using Booking.com only and have no listings in Expedia.

If this is the case, you may develop a booking portal and a room management panel the way OTAs do. Then you’ll have to persuade hoteliers to use your panel on top of the existing ones.

3) If you know the specific OTAs your hotels use, you may look for affiliate programs that these OTAs suggest and sell using those. Check this one by Booking.com. Large OTAs usually have multiple connectivity options, including white labels, widgets, and APIs.

4) Another approach is to connect with bedbanks and wholesalers like Hotelbeds if they use those.

5) And finally, if you have a handful of hotels, you may try directly connecting with their internal property management systems. This is not the option if there are hundreds of hotels you want to work with and connecting to each of them would be difficult.

Basically, it all comes down to exactly how the hotels you want to work with distribute their rooms. Hopefully, this provides a jumping-off point to help you decide.

1 K views 0 answers 1 vote
asked Nov 1, 2018
495 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Feb 27, 2019

Revenue management is a set of practices to maximize returns. In terms of the hospitality industry, revenue management entails finding the right clients for the right room and selling it at the right moment. To achieve this complex goal, hoteliers break the problem into four main problem areas:

  1. Customer segmentation - understanding the groups of customers, their requirements, price expectations, and booking patterns. For example, business travelers are more likely to book alone, they don’t care much about price, and may resort to last minute bookings. Leisure travelers, on the other hand, are likely to book in advance, be looking for cheaper rooms and may be traveling as a couple and their children.
  2. Demand forecasting - the name is pretty self-explanatory. Hoteliers look at the past demand numbers to predict future demand. E.g. there’s a higher demand for our rooms in July than in October unless there’s a football match in our city.
  3. Yield management - finding the best price that would both allow you to sell all rooms and sell the right rooms at the highest price possible.
  4. Dynamic pricing - a rather advanced technique of regularly changing prices depending on the demand at the moment to sell the room at a higher price. It’s usually solved with machine learning algorithms that consider multiple factors impacting the demand. For instance, we may increase the price if the weather is good and most hotels around look fully booked.

These problem areas and their solutions aren’t siloed. You would normally approach them simultaneously to improve gains. So things may get a bit complex and require active investments in IT, channel management (finding the best place to sell rooms), improving and selling ancillaries like food, transportation, or spa, and better managing overbookings (when the same room is booked twice). We’ve explained revenue management in more detail in our article, so check it out if you want to learn more.

538 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Feb 15, 2019

There’s no best software for all. It may depend on the type of hotel you run and the kind of property management system you have. There are several market leaders that fit large hotel chains, independent hotels, and even those who have a private home for rent.

The market leaders are SiteMinder and Cloudbeds. Both have large pools of distribution channels, Airbnb connection (not all channel managers have this one) and can integrate with many PMSs.

PMS integration must be the first criteria of choice if you have one. For midsize and large businesses, other essential things would be real-time property updates to avoid overbooking, analytics, and centralized content management to update hotel info across all channels. SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, STAAH, and eZee fit these criteria.

For small property owners and vacation rentals, you may look for Airbnb integration and well… low price. E.g. eZee Centrix and Lodgable look like the cheapest options for properties with 10 rooms. Lodgable is actually free for its main features and caters to vacation rentals.

We have a broad review of the main platforms in our article about channel management, so you may check this one as well.

701 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Jan 15, 2019

Check our articles on top hotel PMS systems as we’ve done a broad research and mentioned the best providers there. Here are our top picks by categories of hotel business:

Beasty PMSs for hotel chains: Oracle Property Management, 5stelle, Maestro PMS, Clock PMS, IQware.

For business-oriented hotels with conference and catering: Protel, eZee Absolute, MSI cloud, RoomKey PMS, SkyTouch Hotel OS, StayNTouch.

For apartments, vacation rentals, and timeshares: Vreasy, Stays PMS, eZee Front Desk, Guest Tracker, innRoad, Hoteliga, Xotelia.

Small hotels: Little Hotelier, Hotelogix, Amadeus Hotel, Charts Beds, Cloudbeds, WebrezPro, Sirvoy Software, Frontdesk Master, Ikonnect PMS, HotelTime.

837 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Jan 4, 2019

It depends on what’s you’re looking for. Check our research on the best travel agency software providers to get a broad view. In short, there are four main software categories that travel agents use. We’ve curated the best representatives within each category:

Booking and reservation systems with GDS connectivity and payments: Bookinglayer, Lemax, PHPTravels, Dolphin.

Accounting and invoicing with bank integration: Xero, TravelWorks, OnlineInvoices.

Tour building tools: Tripcreator, Tourwriter, Orioly.

Travel-specific CRM systems: Zoho Travel, Agency CRM, LeadSquared, Travel CRM, Kapture Travel CRM.