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.
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.
There are many flight API available in the market like Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, etc. First, you have to decide which suppliers you choose for your flight booking system, We, at TIWD integrates flight API as per the requirement of the clients in the given time frame. Our team of expert developers is always ready to help you. We have great experience in the travel portal development. Just visit our website and mail us your requirement
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you tried contacting Amadeus support with this challenge? Perhaps, they will be able to help. You may also connect with our experts via firstname.lastname@example.org or using the chat in the bottom right corner. It may take several hours to solve the issue.
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.
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.
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.
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!
First, this business model is viable. There are hundreds of online travel agencies that work with flights and hotels only.
But it’s actually hard to give absolutely accurate numbers. Why? The thing is, every online travel agency tries to get a competitive edge over others by finding the lowest rates possible to increase their margins. This can be done by negotiating rates with GDSs, suppliers, and consolidators/wholesalers. And, these negotiated deals aren’t usually disclosed.
Traditionally, commissions that large OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com receive range from 15-30 percent in the hotel industry. If you use the Booking.com API as a partner, expect an average commission of about 15 percent going to Booking.com with commissions differing based on the region.
Flights are more complex and commissions there are usually lower. But they will depend on the agreements that you negotiate with providers, GDSs in particular. Also, keep in mind that you won’t be able to issue tickets if you aren’t IATA-certified. This also comes at a cost that will depend on what kind of travel provider you are and the regions you operate in.
Also, a large part of online travel agency success revolves around the search and commission engine that you tweak on your side.
Finally, you have to invest heavily in marketing to jumpstart your traffic.
So, yeah it’s a viable business model if you do a lot of things right.
So, a few things to have in mind when choosing a channel manager:
Your desired reach, meaning the number of connections it has to distribute your rooms at. For example, the most popular CM Siteminder has 350 channels, and TravelClick (according to its website) will connect you to 400 OTAs. Not bad at all.
Next, what niche of channels does it connect to? Do you want to be listed on the biggest websites or specialty ones? Dig through their list of connections to make sure it works for you.
Also, of course, the price you’re willing to pay. CMs usually have you pay a service fee per month plus the percentage of revenue from each channel or fee per each booking. Usually, the monthly fee will be below $100, but it greatly depends on the number of rooms you have. TravelClick doesn’t have the pricing listed on the website, but if you contact them directly and describe your situation, they should give you that info. Don’t forget to compare it to the prices from other CMs, we have described the main competitors here.
We can’t give you a direct answer whether you should use TravelClick. Try as many channel managers as you can (thankfully, many have a trial period) and make an educated choice.
I don’t think you can, because Dohop uses a Booking.com affiliate solution to run its accommodations. So, you should try Booking.com affiliate program instead.
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.
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.