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Techtalks: Traveltech

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Chinny Anthony

answered  Feb 16, 2021

Good evening all
Please how do i create a flight booking, after getting data from flight offers, will i use the array i got from flight offers into "flight-orders"?
I have done all the process of flight search and my challenges now is the process of booking, please help

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Kseniia Bezuhla, Copywriter at AltexSoft

answered  Apr 7, 2020

Hi there,
 
Thank you for this insightful question.
 
Every flight search API has access to airline schedules that include connecting airports. But not always this API is capable of processing stopover requests.
 
Pulling flight data from Global Distribution Systems, you can set a stopover airport as an additional search parameter. So the API will return you only the flights with the leg in the selected airport.
 
Also, you can do it from your side: Once the itineraries are retrieved via the API, сreate a business rule for this data that will execute filtering by the stopover airport.

OTA Commission on Airline Tickets

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Olexander Kolisnykov, Editor at AltexSoft

answered  Mar 10, 2020

Hi there,
 
Thank you for the question. 
 
Airlines used to pay commissions to travel agencies for reselling their tickets but they rarely do it today. Commission cuts started in the 2000s and these days they’ve been brought down almost to zero. Though, airlines still give agencies a productivity-linked incentive of two percent on average. 
 
If not commissions than what?
 
These days, OTAs rather make money by topping the flight price with markups. OTA’s commission engine adjusts markup sizes depending on a number of factors like current demand, competition, season, etc. 
 
Agencies have other income streams like service fees, consultation or planning fees, insurance costs. In addition, OTAs provide other services like hotels or car rentals where the commission situation is more favorable.
 
Besides that, OTAs have agreements with some airlines that allow them to negotiate more favorable terms for selling their tickets. Usually, it means aligning with a host agency or consortium.

Travel agent Vs affiliate

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Olexander Kolisnykov, Editor at AltexSoft

answered  Jan 31, 2020

Hi Rob,

Yes, generally it’s better to become a travel agent, more expensive, but if you get returns they will be way higher than those of an affiliate. As an agent you’ll must be able to do all customer service (e.g. cancellation management), which isn’t the case for an affiliate. 
 
You can start off with contacting wholesalers (or bed banks) if you plan on working with hotels. Check Hotelbeds, WebBeds, and there are a whole lot of other niche wholesalers. They provide access to content, availability, pricing, and booking capability. And it’s easier for newcomers to work with hotels rather than flights as usually you get higher commissions and can test your hypothesis and marketing strategy.  
 
Then you can try flights using either the affiliate model or by working with flight consolidators. In fact, there are very few ways you can start selling flights and ticketing them without the IATA agent certification.

Cruise prices API (no booking)

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Maryna Ivakhnenko, Copywriter/Editor at AltexSoft

answered  Jan 20, 2020

Hi there,
 
We totally understand your desire to tap into the cruise line industry, as it’s a rapidly growing sector within the global tourism market. However, it’s not that simple. You must have noticed that there are significantly fewer APIs for cruises than for flights, hotels, and car rentals as it’s a quite reserved space. Still, we’re not agitating for web scraping as it’s a quite unreliable way to aggregate data.  
 
Out of all global distribution systems, only Amadeus provides APIs to access 53 connected lines. Have a look at their SOAP Enterprise Cruise APIs. Their Fare Availability API can respond with available prices from a particular cruise provider on a certain date. You can ask Amadeus for access to try it out.
 
Also, there are technology partners in the distribution of cruises. They offer cruise aggregation platforms you can connect to and have access to the integrated suppliers (e.g. Travelopro, Traveltek, Trawex, IST). But of course, none of them are free.

You can also go your own way of partnering and making XML connections with each cruise supplier separately. For example, MSC Cruises offers its partners an API Technology allowing for prices, availability, and bookings. Alternatively, they have a catalog with their routes and rates suitable for a "search tool" and a "quick request function", as they claim. It’s called Flat File and you’ll need to download it daily from their database. But not many cruise lines are as integration-friendly as MSC. If you're interested in any specific integrations, contact our sales team and we can advise you on the best approach.

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AltexSoft Team

answered  Feb 6, 2020

Hi there,
 
Unfortunately, as of January 23rd, SAP Concur terminated this travel metasearch turning down its co-founders’ buyback offer. While there might be some efforts taken to revive the brand, in the meantime, we suggest looking at some other alternatives. 
 
The first substitutes that come to mind are Skyscanner and Kayak. Both offer flights, hotels, and car rental APIs while Kayak also distributes trains and package tours data. 
 
But getting access to these APIs might be hard for small businesses. Kayak doesn’t permit integration unless your platform has more than 100,000 monthly visitors. In case of no response, we advise considering APIs of Global Distribution Systems like Amadeus. Their self-service air and hotel APIs are free for test environments, while fees apply when you exceed the number of free calls.

You may find more providers to consider in our extensive article on travel APIs.

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Nadia Severino

answered  Feb 18, 2020

You can use Flight Price Comparison API, which will help you to get prices from more than 70 vendors  & airlines. You can search for any route or for any cabin class(Economy, Business, First , etc) and for any type of journey(One-Way or Return). It also offers a FREE pack with 100 requests. Definitely check it out.

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Nadia Severino

answered  Feb 18, 2020

Well, you can use Hotel Price Comparison API for that purpose. It compares more than 200 Hotel OTAs like Booking.xom, Exoedia, Agoda, Priceline, Orbitz, TripAdvisor, ZenHotels, Hotels.com, MMT, HRS, etc. It provides JSON response with all the hotels in a city with top 6 cheapest vendors. You can either search for a city or a particular Hotel. This API will help you get what you are looking for.

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anonymous

asked  Dec 17, 2019

How to integrate Priceline API?

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AltexSoft Team

answered  Dec 16, 2019

Booking.com-owned OTA, Priceline has Partner Network’s API set for retrieving dynamic rates and availability as well as booking hotels, cars for rent, flights, and bundle packaging. You don’t have to integrate everything but can opt for a certain product. Besides the HTTPS-based API, Priceline partners can also get an adaptable private label solution. Note that they only consider partners who produce no less than five bookings per day. You’ll also have to tell about your company, its target customers, and make predictions as to your bookings growth. So if you meet the entry requirements and would like to make use of the Priceline API, fill out their contact form.

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AltexSoft Team

answered  Dec 2, 2019

Hi there,
 
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.

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Nadia Severino

answered  Feb 18, 2020

You can use Flight Price Comparison API, which will help you to get prices from more than 70 vendors  & airlines. You can search for any route or for any cabin class(Economy, Business, First , etc) and for any type of journey(One-Way or Return). It also offers a FREE pack with 100 requests. Definitely check it out. Not just that it also provide Flight tracking API with coordinates, speed, weather, altitude and other stuff. It provides Autocomplete API, Airport Schedule API and IATA code API. It's the last Flight API you will ever need.

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Maryna Ivakhnenko, Copywriter/Editor at AltexSoft

answered  Nov 27, 2019

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.

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Olexander Kolisnykov, Editor at AltexSoft

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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Maryna Ivakhnenko, Copywriter/Editor at AltexSoft

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.

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AltexSoft Team

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.

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AltexSoft Team

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.

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Nadia Severino

answered  Feb 18, 2020

You should use Hotel Price Comparison API for Hotel and FLight API for Flights. They both compare prices from several vendors to provide Hotel and flight prices respectively from multiple vendors.

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Maryna Ivakhnenko, Copywriter/Editor at AltexSoft

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.

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AltexSoft Team

answered  Sep 30, 2019

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.

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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.

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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.