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.

Avatar
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

Avatar
answered Apr 19, 2019

Hi Olexander
It's likely my lack of understanding so apologies in advance.
Is it correct that a channel manager product connects to an OTA (or multiple OTA's) seamlessly for transferring as a minimum room rates and availability and in return receives bookings from the OTA via the channel manager to pass onto the PMS??
If an hotel is using a particular channel manager and they want to connect to say Expedia then when they configure Expedia (having got a partnership agreed) then does the hotel 'simply' select from within the Expedia setup the relevant channel manager product and they're on line through that OTA?
If the channel manager connects to multiple OTAs then can I assume the channel manager product has either supported the OTAs API 'for channel management' or less likely in terms of the larger OTA's the OTA has supported the channel manager own API?
Sorry if this is incorrect but in a nutshell I'm trying to understand the pieces and the integrations.
Thanks again for any help.
Best regards
Ted
 

Avatar
answered Sep 11, 2019

Yes, their API has low entry requirement, but I often find their prices incompetitve.

7.9 K views 2 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.

1.9 K views 2 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.

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.

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

There are almost no absolutely free APIs in the travel industry. One way or another, you have to pay for product use. That said, you may enroll in affiliate programs to share commission fees with a provider or just try sandbox versions for your MVP. Here are some popular APIs that you can get kinda free or with shared fees.

Travel Innovation Sandbox by Amadeus
Sandbox APIs include: flights, hotels, cars, trains, and points of interest.
How? Just register, get your API key, and you’re good to go.
Limitations: No commercial use. No more than 5 concurrent transactions and no more than 5,000 calls per user per month.
Use cases: PoC, testing, student works.

API Explorer by Sabre
Flights, hotels, ground transportation, and cruises. Additionally, fare ranges, low fare forecasts and history, top flight destinations, and air travel seasonality.
How? After you fill out the test API form, the Sabre account manager will contact you and provide you with a token.
Limitations. No commercial use. You get access to REST APIs only, while Sabre also suggests a set of SOAP APIs. Depending on your profile, some APIs may not be available at all.
Use cases: PoC, testing.

Skyscanner API
The API includes info on flights. As soon as you generate over about $1300 worth of revenue per month, you can start earning.
How? You directly request API access from Skyscanner.
Limitations. Only info sourcing with no booking. They’ll vet you. Live flights calls are limited to 100 per minute, flights cache up to 500 per minute, car hire up to 100 per minute.
Use cases: Metasearch startups.

OpenSky API
You get real-time flight and aircraft info.
How? It’s open and can be used right away.
Limitations. Noncommercial use.
Use cases. PoC, student works, nonprofit projects.

Booking.com API
The API is mostly aimed at accommodations. You become their affiliate partner and receive part of the booking fee.
How? Apply for an affiliate program and receive your API access.
Limitations. Booking will vet you. Some APIs may not be available and no more than 20 simultaneous API connections are allowed.
Use cases. Accommodation booking.
Very similar terms are available at Agoda Affiliate Program as they belong to Booking Holdings.

Expedia Rapid APIs
The APIs are also aimed at accommodations. As with Booking.com, you get an affiliate fee.
How? Apply for the affiliate program and receive your API access.
Limitations. Each API has its limits of updates per message. Consult the FAQ at each API documentation for specifics.
Use cases. Accommodation booking.

Ticketmaster APIs
Ticketmaster provides info about and ticket reservations for concerts and sport events. They have two open APIs that are free to use.
How? You have to create an account on the developer portal.
Limitations. Up to 5000 API calls per day.
Use cases. Tour and attraction services.
Other suggestions to try?

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.

Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Jun 12, 2019

Hello,
 
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.

AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be prepared for integration. You will be contacted by a Hotelbeds representative.
172 views 1 answer 0 votes
Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Aug 13, 2019

Hello Smail,

At the current moment, nearly all the largest low-cost airlines signed distribution agreements with GDS’s. You may contact their sales managers to get an API connection to some of the low-cost carriers.

As a matter of fact, the first GDS to consolidate only low-cost carriers was Navitaire, currently owned by Amadeus GDS.

Or, you can contact dedicated platforms, that consolidate low-cost only airlines. These are Pyton Flight Portal that offers over 100 low-cost carries via an XML API, and tfFlight platform owned by travel content aggregator Travelfusion.

You can learn more about the available low-cost API’s in our dedicated article.

We hope it answers your question!

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.

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

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.

Maryna Ivakhnenko
answered Jun 7, 2019

Hi there,

Traditionally, GDSs offer access to back office via dedicated account. That assumes you will have to sign a contract with whichever GDS provider you choose and discuss the price to access this data personally. In any case, there is no well-known GDS back-office system that offers openly-published data without any subscriptions.

We hope it answers the question.

181 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Aug 22, 2019

Expedia is the second largest player in the online travel agencies market with about 32 percent market share, according to 2018 data. It’s second to Booking.com, which has 41 percent of the market. Actually, we’ve compared these companies in our infographic. Keep in mind that it uses 2017 data.

1.4 K 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.

AltexSoft
answered Nov 1, 2018

While they are subsidiaries of the same holding company, there are some differences both in terms of business models and the ways they partner with affiliates.

Booking.com is an online travel agency, meaning that travelers pay a hotel directly for a stay including a fee to an affiliate and Booking itself. They use a progressive approach to affiliate earnings. In other words, the more checkouts per month you generate, the higher your earning rate is. For instance, if you bring only 0-50 customers, your rate will be 25 percent. If you make 501 or more, you get 40 percent. Booking provides an API. You can also place branded banners and widgets on your website or integrate a search box.

Agoda combines a travel agency model (similar to Booking.com) with that of a wholesaler. The latter means that at some hotels they purchase an inventory in advance to sell at a higher rate. Agoda also suggests a progressive approach, but in this case, you can get 35-60 percent in commission earnings. You can use an API, Agoda ads, links to integrate with the portal, and some other tools.

As you’ve guessed, Booking is a more robust and complex product than Agoda. And it deals with a lot more customers daily, being the largest accommodation OTA in the world. It’s also a more trusted one. On the other hand, with Agoda you have the potential of earning a higher commission per checkout.

Alayna Alva
asked Jun 15, 2019
122 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Aug 28, 2019

Klook is a travel activities (tours and attractions) platform. It allows travelers to book tours, diving activities, park visits, even train tickets, and more. It mostly targets travel in Asia.

From the inside, it works just as most big online travel agencies do. From the end-customer side, it has a mobile app and their website to book activities. And it connects with activity suppliers either via a SaaS interface (extranet) or an API. To get the idea, you can read how OTA back office works.

565 views 1 answer 0 votes
AltexSoft
answered Jun 27, 2019

First, you need to become OpenTable affiliate. You have to fill in the form and pass their vetting procedure. If they approve you as a partner, you’ll be able to source restaurant info via their API and place reservation links in your app or website. Currently, OpenTable doesn’t allow for running full reservation process via the API. Your users will have to complete reservations using the OpenTable interface. The API sources publicly available restaurant info such as addresses, postal codes, aggregated scores, number of reviews, and food categories. The data is sent and received in JSON.

If OpenTable API doesn’t work for you, you may check other restaurant and review APIs that we’ve talked about in our article.