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.
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.
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.
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.
White label and an API are two different solutions which serve a similar purpose - communication between the two platforms.
White label is a ready-made unbranded template that you can deploy on your website and it will link you to the provider of certain services. So now your customers won’t need to leave your site as they can access what they need from your page. Additionally, you can tailor a white label to match your brand. This way your customers won’t tell that it’s not a part of your website but a third-party template.
An example of a travel white labeled product is a template solution by Expedia that allows for adding their accommodation bookings to your website. You can read more about it in our article about Expedia Partner Solutions.
Working in the back end, an API pulls out the requested data from external servers and displays it on your side in your way. This means that you design your own interface and use the data only. When deciding on a travel API, you can check our article with the major APIs on the travel market.
Of two options, API involves a more sophisticated integration but at the same time, it’s more adjustable. Prior to getting at it, answer yourself whether you do need an API for this specific product. Oftentimes it turns out that a white label solution will do for you. And with minimal tech resources (the company you take the white label from, does the work for you) you can quickly include a travel solution in your platform.
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 (SiteMinder, Dhisco, DerbySoft, 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.
I’m afraid we don’t have a full list of those. We are planning to release an article with a wide overview of the largest room suppliers this month. So, stay tuned. Meanwhile, you may read our article about travel APIs. We mention many suppliers there.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
GDS industry is monopolized by three players, Travelport included. So we’ll compare it with the other GDS - Amadeus and Sabre.
First, we have to admit that Travelport is less popular among OTAs than Amadeus and Sabre. Still, it has strong sides and we’ll tell about them.
Industry coverage. It all depends on what travel service you want to integrate. The table below shows that Travelport is a good choice to reserve airplane seats, hotel rooms, and cruises. But when it comes to railways and car rentals, they don’t cover that much.
Market share. Using the most popular GDS for a region means better seating options and pricing from carriers. Amadeus is the best fit for Europe but it’s weaker in the US. Sabre suits the needs of North America. Travelport’s advantage over the rivals is that its coverage is more evenly distributed across the world. It outperforms in Eastern Europe and Africa while growing in Asia and America.
API functionality. Actually, Travelport comprises three GDSs: Galileo, Worldspan, and Apollo, which are combined into a single Travelport Universal API. Unlike Amadeus and Sabre, the universal API is a bundle of functions and you can easily try it out with no strings attached. However, Amadeus certainly provides larger API variety.
Travelport also was the first GDS to obtain level 3 compliance as a New Distribution Capability aggregator - a required status to provide NDC services. Some consider NDC the future of communication in the travel industry. If you’re out of the loop, our article has all you need to catch up.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Regarding Kayak, they don’t use iframes. If you consider making metasearch functionality similar to Kayak, you’ll likely need to integrate both Expedia and Booking.com APIs to source IDs and other hotel content. Again, to connect Booking APIs, you’ll have to sign up for their affiliate program. To access Expedia API, apply here.
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.
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.
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.