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.
We totally understand your desire to tap into the cruise line industry, as it’s a rapidly growing sector within the global tourism market. However, it’s not that simple. You must have noticed that there are significantly fewer APIs for cruises than for flights, hotels, and car rentals as it’s a quite reserved space. Still, we’re not agitating for web scraping as it’s a quite unreliable way to aggregate data.
Out of all global distribution systems, only Amadeus provides APIs to access 53 connected lines. Have a look at their SOAP Enterprise Cruise APIs. Their Fare Availability API can respond with available prices from a particular cruise provider on a certain date. You can ask Amadeus for access to try it out.
Also, there are technology partners in the distribution of cruises. They offer cruise aggregation platforms you can connect to and have access to the integrated suppliers (e.g. Travelopro, Traveltek, Trawex, IST). But of course, none of them are free.
You can also go your own way of partnering and making XML connections with each cruise supplier separately. For example, MSC Cruises offers its partners an API Technology allowing for prices, availability, and bookings. Alternatively, they have a catalog with their routes and rates suitable for a "search tool" and a "quick request function", as they claim. It’s called Flat File and you’ll need to download it daily from their database. But not many cruise lines are as integration-friendly as MSC. If you're interested in any specific integrations, contact our sales team and we can advise you on the best approach.
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.
We can tell you’ve done quite a research on this topic. And we feel you.
The functionality of Amadeus’ self-service API has a number of limitations. But the reality is that it’s the only self-service API available among the global distribution systems. Other GDS solutions are truly legacy cumbersome systems. And that’s one of the key hindrances to smooth airline distribution.
As for Skyscanner, you’re right. On a case by case basis they accept only those businesses capable of generating traffic and attracting users. So if you’re only setting your foot in the travel industry, chances are you might not hear from them soon, if at all. In addition, Skyscanner API won’t allow for facilitating bookings as it’s a metasearch.
Now, regarding ATPCO, the main fares provider. In terms of the traditional flight distribution, ATPCO is an intermediary that transmits tariffs from an airline to a GDS.
ATPCO’s JSON Routehappy API has direct connections with GDSs and some airlines. Akin to Skyscanner, they won’t enable booking capabilities. The API access involves monthly payments starting from $2,500, which may not fit into the budget.
If your distribution market isn’t too big, you may try connecting to each airline directly avoiding GDS. If you decide to follow this path, you’ll need to adopt the New Distribution Capability XML standard.
As you can see, many scenarios are possible in your case. As we have extensive experience in building OTAs, we surely can give you good advice, to say the least. But for this purpose, we’ll need to dive deeper into your situation. So why don’t we keep our communication in DMs? Contact our sales team and they’ll sync you with our best experts.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut for building a price comparison tool.
You may think of web scraping - extracting prices using crawlers. But be aware that it will entail a lot of headache such as inventory consistency and even lawsuits.
A legal way of doing so is to get OTAs’ permission to source their prices. By partnering with Expedia, you’ll get access to its EPS Rapid Shopping API that returns available rooms with live rates and other details like promos, rate refundability, cancellation penalties, etc.
As for Booking.com, they offer Demand API that allows for retrieving live rates and availability. However, they prohibit the affiliates to use their property content for price comparison. But maybe you’ll manage to find a way around that through the direct communication with the OTA.
After you’ve affiliated with these hospitality giants, next comes inventory mapping. And here hotel mapping providers may be of help to you. They’ll take care that the prices are correct and all the hotel-related data is aligned eliminating any duplicates.
Once you connect to a hotel’s channel manager and the OTAs via their APIs from one side, and to a hotel mapping provider’s API from the other side, you’re all set to build your price comparison widget. Alternatively, you can turn to a tech company like AltexSoft, so that we can do it for you.
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?
Booking.com-owned OTA, Priceline has Partner Network’s API set for retrieving dynamic rates and availability as well as booking hotels, cars for rent, flights, and bundle packaging. You don’t have to integrate everything but can opt for a certain product. Besides the HTTPS-based API, Priceline partners can also get an adaptable private label solution. Note that they only consider partners who produce no less than five bookings per day. You’ll also have to tell about your company, its target customers, and make predictions as to your bookings growth. So if you meet the entry requirements and would like to make use of the Priceline API, fill out their contact form.
You can enroll in their affiliate program and then use a RESTful API. Useful info can be found here. Basically, you apply and, if approved, you get all needed credentials and can find the key in their Partner Portal.
Then you can enter a testing environment to try you requests and configure the integration.
The final step is to ensure that your site meets Expedia requirements. You’ll undergo their review prior to going live and then you’ll start working with end-users.
Hotelbeds is the leading wholesaler on the market with proven technology support and rich inventory. So, it’s definitely the first place to try. HotelsPro is much smaller, but it’s also worth checking out as they claim to have content mapping technology. If you get hotels from multiple sources, content mapping is a need-to-have feature. But keep in mind that you can also get content mapping from tech companies that specialize in it, like Giata or Gimmonix.
Besides the technical part of it, your choice boils down to specific deals that you can negotiate with wholesalers. If you can get better rates at HotelsPro, it may be the best option for you.
Also, check out our article on hotel APIs for more detail.
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.
Sabre is one of three main global distribution systems (GDSs) on the market, along with Amadeus and Travelport. GDS is a database of travel data pulled from various service providers that connect travel agents with hotels, airlines, car rentals, cruises, and railways. What used to be a manual system with each reservation taking up to 3 hours is now a global network. Sabre was the first of such GDSs. Basically, you can’t make the reservation process automatic without connection to this system.
You can use just one GDS – Sabre, for example – or a combination of a few, but if you specialize in only cruises or railways, research which GDS gives you a better shot at covering all providers. As you can see from the image below, Amadeus is an undisputed leader in everything but hotels, and with Sabre you’ll receive an average number of companies, only if you don’t want to cover all the cruises.
Hotelbeds Group has a huge market coverage allowing you to distribute accommodations, activities, and transfers in 185 countries. It has a few APIs but all with the same integration process, so we’ll walk you through it.
- Register for a test key. This will create an account in Mashery – an API database that powers Hotelbeds and many other APIs in different industries.
- After receiving a confirmation email, generate your API key, which will give you access to documentation and the Sandbox. At this stage, you’ll also need to choose at least one Hotelbeds API that you’re planning to choose. There are three: Booking API, Content API, and Cache API. Read a brief explanation here.
- Be prepared for integration. You will be contacted by a Hotelbeds representative.
Thanks for asking.
In the API integration, there are two parties. So how you establish the connection will depend on what you are attempting to achieve and the API you pick.
First, you. What’s your flight website? Do you want to enable booking or only provide flight-related information to your users? Are you targeting specific regions or want to service worldwide? Not in the last place are such constraints as budget and resources. Based on these facts you’ll be choosing an API with the corresponding capabilities and coverage.
Whether you choose to integrate with a GDS, a tech service provider, an OTA, or a metasearch, the process will differ. For instance, GDS will feed you pools of raw airline data, while OTAs and metasearch have it sorted out but in their own way. If you haven’t settled on the API provider yet, read our article about flight booking APIs.
Once you know the platform you’d like to pull data from, go through its API documentation and play around with its test version, if it’s available. You’ll need an HTTP client to make calls to the API.
Now that you’re sure your website will benefit from using this API, obtain the API key for access and find out if the provider assists with integration or offers a pre-built API connection. If not, you may involve a third-party integrator. Prior to the release, make sure to validate the API responses from your side.
We at AltexSoft specialize in travel APIs integration. Only recently, we’ve rebuilt an OTA’s booking engine integrating Amadeus GDS into it. So you can specify your situation to us and we can give you more tailored advice.
Galileo is one of three GDSs along with Apollo and Worldspan that comprise Travelport GDS. Travelport has a pretty straightforward workflow to get started with product.
- Request trial access to Galileo APIs and submit a form on Travelport’s website. There, you’ll have to choose your preferred GDS from the three (Galileo in your case). This is free, and you will receive a key to Galileo in a few minutes. Here’s a link to documentation to help you.
- When you’re done with testing, contact an Account Manager from your profile or Travelport itself, and they will supply you with authorization.
- After you are authorized, contract finalization and certification will start. This is called the Pre-Production stage. Travelport asks you to complete a Universal API Requirements Questionnaire [.docx] to evaluate your capacity needs. After completion, you should request a sales representative call to review your questionnaire and finalize certification.
- When you receive your API certification, you enter the Production system. Make sure your developers and systems comply with Travelport’s requirements. You will receive further instructions from your account manager.
It depends. There’s no single best flight API. Your choice depends on the specific problem you’re trying to solve (e.g. enable flight and fare search, or track flight status with departure and arrival times, or enable flight booking). Generally, there are two basic options: source data from global distribution systems (or GDSs, the major, worldwide flight aggregators) or directly from airlines. In some cases, you can check APIs by tech providers like FlightStats.
If you need the widest airline coverage and you want to implement flight booking, check GDS APIs by Sabre, Travelport, and Amadeus. Each of them covers about 400 active airlines. They search for flights and low fares, and do booking and ticketing. The problem with this approach is that some airlines like Lufthansa set surcharges for booking through GDSs because they want to encourage direct booking or direct cooperation with resellers.
So, the option is to integrate and partner directly with each airline you need. That, however, presents an even larger number of problems as there are only about 40 airlines that have standardized XML-based APIs and each of them is slightly different. So, the engineering effort may be enormous. On the bright side, with direct connections, you get the widest ancillary booking support, seat selection, baggage customization options, etc. The most balanced approach to flight search and booking is to combine GDSs with some direct integrations.
If your goal is general info without booking capabilities, you may not need GDS or direct integration. The first place to go for fresh flight fare data is ATPCO, the main fare distribution provider. The largest pool for timetables, routes, and connections is provided by Innovata, a travel tech company. Also check FlightStats and Flightradar24 for flight and airport details like delay indexes, arrivals and departures, aircraft equipment, airport FIDS, flight status, etc.
If you need something simple and don’t want to go through raw airline data, you may contact OTAs or metasearch platforms to integrate their APIs. The key provider here is Skyscanner, but also consider Expedia or Kiwi.
For more details, have a look at our travel API's articles.
That’s actually the question small partners of QPX Express asked themselves in 2018 when the API was ceased. Modeling on Google Flights API, what we seek in substitutes are:
1. search for multiple airlines, including low-cost carriers
2. diverse filtering options
3. easy-to-use interface
Booking processing isn’t first on our list, as it’s not what a metasearch engine like Google Flights is aimed at. Now, to the candidates.
Skyscanner. Another metasearch engine, Skyscanner offers a suite of subscription-free flight search APIs. It pays commissions according to your conversion and traffic quality. The APIs aggregate over 250 airlines and compare them using powerful search algorithms to retrieve the cheapest prices, routes, and dates. This also includes Inspirational search features. Use Flights Browse Prices API for cached content and Flights Live Prices API for real-time queries. Besides flights, Skyscanner also provides APIs to connect car hire and hotel fare data. You can request the API access here.
Travelfusion. Over 150 low-cost carriers are in your pocket if you connect to the Travelfusion Direct Connect XML API. This API also supports fully automated booking processes. So you can either book from your side or redirect to the supplier's website. If you aim at packaged tours, consider Travelfusion Fast API. Prior to using the XML APIs, you’ll have to register and sign the license agreement with set fees.
Kiwi.com. The coverage of Kiwi’s API set is about the same size as the Travelfusion’s. It includes both legacy and low-cost carriers. The booking is processed on the OTA’s side. Besides the general flight API capabilities, there’s an API that offers travel tips to customers helping them save time and money. To use the Kiwi API, register for their partner portal Tequila. You’ll get a 3 percent commission on every processed booking.
Kayak. If your traffic exceeds 100,000 visitors a month, you’re able to integrate Kayak searches and results into your platform. You can do so by enrolling in their affiliate program. You select the data you need among flights, cars, hotels, trains, packages.
For more options, check out our article on flight booking API providers.
Thank you for your question.
We haven’t found any proof that the GDS has stopped supporting e-Power. Moreover, we communicated with Amadeus representative who also confirmed that they do sell e-Power as usual.
Have a look at a non-customized standardized e-Power instance on staging at https://staging.epower.amadeus.com/noramstarterbase/. Amadeus warns that it might work slowly which doesn’t reflect the real response time in production.
If you still have any questions regarding e-Power left, we advise addressing them directly to Amadeus.
For those who don’t know, here are a few words about the product.
e-Power is an online booking engine fully integrated both with the Amadeus system and a travel agency website. e-Power enables OTA customers to book flights, cars, and accommodations. OTAs can customize e-Power design, including banners and logos. The e-Power platform also includes:
1. marketing tools to manage customer relations and conversion rate,
2. technical tools to expose content on metasearch engines,
3. set of service fees and mark-up rules to resell services with benefit,
4. mobile-friendly interface,
5. available ancillary services to upsell.