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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.