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Travel APIs: Types and Integration Specifics

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7 minutes read

Nowadays, software products are tightly connected, and it is a gift for many industries and Travel tech, as you can provide users with all the necessary services to plan a trip in a single place. In that case, one can skip visiting dozens of websites to plan their vacation or trip. Different APIs help software products reach such a level that they become synonymous with the word “comfort”.

There are many types of APIs, but for this article, we will consider Travel APIs. They are a so-called bridge between airlines, car rentals, hotels, transfers, and online travel agencies, allowing customers to find, book, and pay for flight tickets, hotel rooms, cars, and transfers on one platform.

The main types of Travel APIs

Before describing the main types of Travel API, it is essential to define such terms as GDS (Global Distribution Systems) and OTA (Online Travel Agencies), which are used to provide travel-related services.

Global Distribution Systems (GDS) is a system that collects and stores data from services to allow agencies to book flights, hotel rooms, cars, etc. With such a system, agencies do not need to contact each service provider and manually book services such as flights and hotel rooms.

Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are smaller in scale but can provide the same services. It is a wise and profitable option for small startups and businesses which temporarily cannot afford GDS.

Having defined these key terms, we can move to consider their kinds, purpose, and role within travel tech products.

Flight, data, schedules, and fares search

This type of API specializes in providing such searching services as:

  • flight tickets;
  • the most profitable fares where you can find the lowest price offers, dates, and the most demanding offers;
  • airports;

What APIs can you integrate?

Amongst the Flight search APIs, the most popular and reliable are the next:

  1. Sabre Flight APIs. Sabre APIs include flight bookings, payments, pricing, reservation management, etc.
  2. Travelport APIs. It is a united provider consisting of 3 GDS: Apollo, Worldspan, and Galileo. Travelport Universal API provides such services as:
  • fares;
  • air shopping;
  • seat maps;
  • air content and merchandising.

Travelport Trip APIs can offer you:

  • air searching and booking;
  • payments support;
  • ticketing.
  1. KiwiAPIs connect about 750 carriers, 250 of which are low-cost carriers. It provides the following services:
  • booking and payments
  • luggage bookings
  • flight search and multi-city search
  • nomad search
  • location data
  • Carrier IDs
  • aggregated search
  • NDC (New Distribution Capability) merchandising and rich content integration

Hotel booking

There are three types of hotel booking:

  • Direct hotel bookings;
  • Partner room reservations;
  • Hotel booking with aggregators.
  • Direct hotel bookingsDirect hotel bookings are performed with the help of PMS (Property Management System) and channel managers. For immediate hotel bookings, you can use the following APIs:
  • SiteConnectAPIs can connect hoteliers’ properties to OTAs and GDSs via a cloud interface and also helps to increase direct bookings and analyze performance.

Cloudbeds APIs have approximately 20,000 hotels in their portfolio.

Hotel booking with aggregators

Such aggregators are GDSs, connectivity providers, and switches. We already know the definition of GDS, but let’s define connectivity providers and switches.
Сonnectivity providers and switches are major aggregators that connect hotel reservations, availability, and content from different sources. That can work as directly with hotels as with mediators.

A switch is a subtype. It connects hotel CRS and distributors and becomes a point of contact for both.

You can use the following APIs:

  • Hotel Aggregator by MakCorps works with about 200 OTAs and collects info from 1000 providers in 30 markets. It also provides Hotel Price Comparison API.
  • RateGain and Switch API has access to 125000 properties from more than 1000 channels.

Partner room reservations

This type of API fits small businesses the most. For room distributing rooms, there are two primary API providers:

– Booking.com APIs are for affiliate partners and channel managers PMS providers.
For affiliate partners, APIs provide the ability to retrieve and book hotel rooms.
For channel managers and PMS providers, there are such functions as rates and availability, promotions, reservations, problem reporting, and content.

– Expedia Partner Central contains a set of APIs that can provide the following services:

  1. product management;
  2. hotwire connection;
  3. availability, retrieval, and notification of booking.

Hotel mapping

When you use more than one supplier, there is always a chance duplicates emerge due to different names and IDs. To prevent duplicates, you can seek help through the following APIs:

  • GiataAPI has identifications that are mapped to codes, geocodes, and addresses from over 500 suppliers.
  • Gimmonix Mapping. Works API uses ML-based text analysis to check meaning from different descriptions and conduct rooms and hotel mappings.

Car rental booking

These two reliable car rental providers in the market can satisfy your needs:

  1. Car Trawler offers more than 2000 travel agents, OTAs, and also international airlines with the support of local car rentals. The company works in 190 countries right now.
  2. RentalCars allows you to put a customizable banner on your website, but in this case, customers will be redirected to the RentalCars website, or you can become a Rentalcars partner. Rentalcars works in 160 countries and 60000 locations at the moment.

Business travel management and expense tracking

When you need a proper API for business travel management, there is always Concur, ready to provide you with everything you need to track expenses during business travel. Concur API offers travel expenses management services and travel and itinerary support.

Reviews and ratings

Reviews and rates from real people have a crucial impact on customers’ decisions, so it is vital to have such a system.

TripAdvisor recommended itself as the best tool for such purposes. It allows users to:

  • read and write reviews on your website or in-app
  • see ratings and awards
  • have price level, accommodation category, and attraction type divided by categories and subcategories.
  • see location ID, name and address, or latitude and longitude.

Tours, attractions, and experiences

Except for accommodations, flights, and car rentals, you can provide your customers with different tours and other experiences. The brightest representatives APIs are:

  • ViatorAPI has around 200.000 activities worldwide.
  • MusementAPI includes an incredible diversity of experiences: nightlife, food, activities, tours, etc. It provides more than 5.000 deals in 300 cities around the world.

TiqetsAPI distributes museum and attraction tickets and allows you to search for a ticket near you or to take the ticket to a specific place.

What are the advantages of Travel APIs?

Travel APIs became core parts of any travel software product because of their numerous advantages. Amongst many of them are the following ones:

– Up-to-date information for OTA

Thanks to API systems, online travel agencies constantly have updated information about fares, availability, and offers for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.

– Improves user experience

Users can skip visiting a few more websites to book a flight or a hotel. It increases the comfortability of using the services, as the user can book in a few clicks in a single place.

– Easy integration

API’s integration process explanation

The integration process has five steps. They organize the process to make it consecutive and effective.

Step 1. Defining goals and systems of the business

The first thing to do is define what systems exist in the business and which require improvement. After that, it should be outlined how and what exactly API can provide a solution for the system.

Step 2. Identifying integration options

Integration has many options, so we need to answer the following questions to choose the best choice:

  • Which API type can fulfill a business’s needs the best?
  • What way of sending data is the most efficient?
  • Is there proper API documentation on established platforms?

Step 3. Developing Data map

It is time to organize all the gathered information with all the details that will be used during the next two steps. With a good understanding and a well-organized data map, the integration process will be as flawless and fast as possible.

Step 4. Beginning of the development

During this step, the development of the interface that integrates systems begins.

Step 5. Testing

After the integration, tests should be conducted to ensure that it has no bugs and during the integration of other services.

In the end, Travel Industry is vast and involves many different technologies and types of software to provide customers with flawless and comfortable services. Moreover, due to the high level of software diversity, you can choose any APIs to customize your product to get what you need and reduce redundant things.

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