Travel agent Vs affiliate
Hi folks, Great site - there's so much quality info up here. I am hoping someone could explain how to begin partnering with OTAs as a new entrant to the traveltech space. I note a general unwillingness of large OTAs to offer affiliate accounts (or access to their APIs) to newcomers without an existing user base. I might understand this in the case of bloggers. However, when building an app that relies on access to availability and pricing data, how can one get started in this area? Is it generally better to become a travel agent instead of an affiliate? Thanks for sharing any insights.
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.