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.
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?
We haven’t heard of that kind of software. Usually, channel managers and other travel data providers reveal their data to hotels, property/revenue management systems, online travel agencies, and metasearch engines – basically, customer- or hotel-facing businesses to support room reservation.
Without any detail about the problem you're trying to solve, it’s hard to suggest anything specific. But if you consider data mining and analysis, consider open datasets like these on data.world. Also, check what’s available on data.gov for hotels, and Kaggle for hotel reviews.
Have a look at our article on mining public datasets. These datasets can provide you with locations, reviews, and some inventory details. But if you're looking for pricing and changes in pricing over time, this might be a much trickier data-mining problem. There are some datasets with pricing like this one but usually the pricing and demand data isn’t available in dataset formats.
I hope this helps.
We don’t have direct experience with Skyscanner, so it’s hard to tell how exactly their vetting process works. But it’s true that they don’t reply to everyone and may expect some traffic before letting you use their products.
You may try working with GDSs that support small businesses with a handful of APIs. Amadeus, for instance, has flight APIs that are free for test environments, have a limited number of free calls, and fees once this threshold is exceeded.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s also some support at online travel agencies (Skyscanner, Priceline, etc). To access those, you normally must use affiliate partner contacts. Finally, one of the largest car rental suppliers, Avis, has a public API.
Besides APIs, many suppliers support affiliate links and banners, if that works for you. You may check car rental connectivity options in our article in more detail.
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.
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.
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.
- Of course, first review the display requirements because it should be approved before the launch on your website.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
The most popular backoffice solution available for SABRE is TRAMS Back Office, which comes as a part of SABRE Red Workspace. Unfortunately, both solutions are desktop, meaning they have to be installed on each computer. As for the pricing, there is no publicly available information about the subscription price.
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.
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.
Perhaps, there are not many options rather than described in official PNR retrieval guides by SABRE. Concerning the price, retrieving PNR doesn’t require any payments, despite the fact you have to be subscribed to SABRE.
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.
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.
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.