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.

AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

There are mainly two types of use cases for integrating Booking.com APIs.
Accommodation booking by travel providers. The model is quite simple. You enroll in the affiliate program and then use the Booking.com API and other affiliate products to either sell rooms from their inventory for a part of a commission or redirect users to Booking.com. The example of the former integration is Aegean Air, a Greek airline that allows travelers to book rooms in addition to flights. The latter is Rome2Rio.com, an itinerary planning and travel search platform. While Aegean uses full Booking.com functionality under its brand, Rome2Rio suggests accommodations, ratings, and pricing with range filters coming from the Booking.com inventory.
APIs for channel managers. Another major API package is Connectivity. It suggests channel managers and other connectivity providers integrating Booking.com as one of the sales channels. Examples for integration are all the popular accommodation channel managers that you can think of (SiteMinderDhiscoDerbySoft, etc.) Also keep in mind that Booking.com doesn’t allow properties to connect directly. If you’re a hotel owner, you must connect via a channel manager only. You can set your property management page on the Booking.com portal and pick your channel manager from there.

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asked Nov 21, 2019
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asked Nov 19, 2019
10.6 K views 3 answers 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Dec 11, 2018

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.

Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Nov 18, 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.

244 views 1 answer 0 votes
Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Nov 14, 2019

Hello Mayur,
 
Thank you for your interest. First, we’d like to specify that further by a car hire aggregator we’ll mean a metasearch that aggregates car rental offers from multiple suppliers. Please let us know if you had another idea in mind so that we can advise you accordingly. 
 
So, building the infrastructure of a car rentals aggregator, you’ll have to take care of: 
 
Inventory connection via APIs. Global distribution systems can give you access to a large car rental inventory. But car rental companies are increasingly switching to direct connect solutions rather than traditional distribution channels. Deciding on suppliers to connect to, our car rental APIs catalog should be of use to you. 
 
Crawlers for web scraping. Sometimes suppliers don’t allow for direct connection, so aggregators resort to web scraping. They launch a program that mimics human activity to extract data from the supplier’s website.
 
Data mapping. Each provider you distribute has its own way of presenting data. So you’ll need to group and process data first and then display it comprehensively on your side while keeping it up-to-date.  
 
Meta ranking. You need to compare car rental prices using business rules aka algorithms.
 
Database. Integrates with all the suppliers, database stores all the fetched data, that later can be used for tracking, reporting, and statistics. Such modules as a background sync process for static data and data cache control will help you manage the up-to-dateness of your DB. 
 
Search engine. The core of any aggregator system, search engine handles queries and searches through the databases. From the backed, it crunches data. From the front end, it provides the customer with the search results - cars for rent, in our case. 
 
If you plan to distribute car rental offers worldwide, you’ll need language and currency functions. Since aggregators don’t facilitate booking, you don’t have to worry about accounting and payment processing modules.
 
AltexSoft has expertise in building booking platforms. So, you can consult our team to get more specific recommendations. 

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asked Nov 13, 2019
145 views 1 answer 0 votes
Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Nov 12, 2019

Hello Roman,

Thank you for your feedback.
We assume you’re considering which database to integrate with: a metasearch or a GDS.
Let us know if we misunderstood your request.

Now to the point. The flow you describe is indeed common for metasearch engines aka aggregators like Skyscanner, Google Flights, or Kayak: they answer queries using formatted and ranked results from third-party search engines or directly from airline and OTA partners. Once travelers proceed with booking, a metasearch redirects them to the actual owner of the deal. And that’s how they make money - for every click on their link.

A metasearch engine’s business model is to provide the richest flight options that exactly match the traveler’s needs. They are able to reach more precise fare returns for a lower cost than GDS. They achieve that by aggregating data from millions of flights both past and present and comparing prices using strong search algorithms.

Some metasearch engines tap into New Distribution Capability to enable direct bookings through their websites. An example is Skyscanner’s direct booking platform. They can connect directly to the airline’s Central Reservation System via an NDC API to aggregate flight data.

As per your question, a metasearch engine pulls information from the APIs by flight data providers. Airlines and OTAs are usually the ones to initiate a connection with metasearch, as they want to broaden their customer base. Besides direct partners, aggregators integrate with:

Some airlines don’t provide direct access, though. Low-costers are the majority of them, as they strive for direct bookings. In this case, aggregators have the practice of mimicking human activity on airline websites aimed at extracting fare info. It’s called web scraping and it’s semi-legal so aggregators had better agree on that with an airline first.

For a full picture of airline distribution, check our infographic.

Speaking of the metasearch APIs capabilities, they don’t enable booking on your website. For this purpose, you’ll have to redirect users to either the aggregator itself or directly to the deal owner.

132 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2019

Currently, Moovit doesn’t provide a public API for their services. Instead, they suggest using their widget, links, and buttons. So, you should contact them directly to access the API.

And there’s another thing you can try. Since November, 2018, Movit is a partner of Microsoft’s Azure and their transit data is available through Azure Maps service. It supplies developers with a variety of APIs and a rich customization toolset. To start using Azure Maps, you must create an account, sign into the Azure portal, choose subscription, pricing options to start working with APIs.  You may check their documentation first.

Still, working with Azure maybe more expensive than getting access to the API directly.

Olexander Kolisnykov
answered Oct 29, 2019

Hi there!

Yes, ATPCO would be the first place to go to get fare classes. Unfortunately, we haven’t worked with their API directly. Also, have you checked Kiwi API? They provide fare basis, fare family, and fare class info.

AltexSoft
answered Oct 28, 2019

Well, if we’re comparing a reservation system to an Excel spreadsheet or even a paper notebook, it has all the pros, and the costs pay off in the long run. Reservation will basically automate main booking operations like:

  • Showing room status (booked/vacant)
  • Collecting payments made online
  • Managing inventory
  • Sending confirmation emails, etc.

Besides, it’s not always fair to talk about reservation software as a separate unit - often, hotels would purchase this functionality within a property management system, so the whole hotel can be managed via a single platform.

The pros would be are those, usually addressed to software - sometimes, you will need the help of support, but they won’t be available, or the price may appear too high (though, often, it depends on the hotel size), or your staff would have to learn a new workflow, which always takes time. Also, in case of a power outage or if your Internet is slow, you may have problems checking in clients, but that’s manageable if you choose a provider who has offline access or simply use a backup solution.

2.4 K views 3 answers 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.

198 views 1 answer 0 votes
Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Oct 11, 2019

Hello Dipali,

Thank you for your question. If we’re on the same page, you’re a property owner whose properties are listed on the Booking.com platform. So you’d like to sync the data regarding your bookings there with other services like a cleaning company.

For this purpose, Booking offers its partners a property management interface to retrieve and modify data for their properties - Connectivity APIs.

But if you leverage multiple channels, you may want to use the help of a channel manager. It will connect you with every platform you expose your properties on. If that’s your case, read our article that will help you choose a channel manager product for your hospitality business.

Please let us know if we addressed your point.

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.

2.7 K views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

The TripAdvisor Content API allows you to display detailed information about accommodations, restaurants, and attractions on your website. Integrating TripAdvisor Content API is fairly easy.

  1. Of course, first review the display requirements because it should be approved before the launch on your website.
  2. Submit an application form. Note, that access to the API is limited and it may take a while to receive a confirmation or rejection email.
  3. In the last section, you’ll have to describe how the API will be displayed, which is where you need to know the requirements from the step one.
AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

Skyscanner is a large metasearch engine that provides a set of info APIs totally free. This means you can source their data, but you won’t be able to set booking on your website. You have to redirect users to either Skyscanner or straight to a supplier. But, you can earn a commission once you generate more than about $1300 worth of revenue per month. To do that, you must first get API access as Skyscanner vets candidates and not all of them are rewarded with access. Once you reach the $1300 threshold, you can sign a contract with Skyscanner and directly negotiate your commission.

Advantages:

  • Skyscanner is a well-recognized metasearch business that has been on the market since 2001 and currently accesses about 1200 providers worldwide.
  • They keep their tech and documentation up to date. It’s transparent: You can always ask questions and solve problems.
  • They use RESTful API with both JSON and XML available.
  • You get access to both cached and live data. For instance, you can use cached data (that updates up to every 14 days for unpopular routes and more often for popular ones) to make flex search comparison of flight fares and retrieve live quotes for specific dates that a user requests.
  • You can enroll in a partnership for free. And once you start generating more than £1000 or ~$1300, you can start earning.

Disadvantages:

  • The main problem is that not just any business gets accepted by Skyscanner. Even though theoretically everyone can get access, they’ll vet your company to make sure that you are capable of generating revenue and attracting users.
  • No surprise, there are limits. If you’re looking for live prices, you can make up to 100 calls per minute.
  • Skyscanner forbids caching on your side. In other words, you can’t store old prices to build, say, a flex-fare search based on previous user requests. You still have to use their cache, which is limited to 500 fares per minute.
  • You have to make sure that all your customers know that your app is powered by Skyscanner by adding a message to that effect. Theoretically, you can negotiate something else, but you must refer to them by default.
2.8 K 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.

AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

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.

  1. 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.
  2. When you’re done with testing, contact an Account Manager from your profile or Travelport itself, and they will supply you with authorization.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
1.3 K 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.

1.6 K 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.