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Revolutionizing the Travel Industry with APIs: A Guide for Travel Tech Companies

Research shows that when planning travel, including booking hotels, tours, and other experiences, people visit up to 35 different websites. However, only four of these websites are typically used to make bookings. Travelers prefer to consolidate their bookings on a single platform, encompassing everything from restaurant reservations to airline tickets. To enable this, the travel industry relies heavily on the sharing of data, facilitated by API solutions. This article will examine the significance of APIs in travel technology and highlight notable trends in this domain.

Why Do You Need an API?

An API, or application programming interface, is a crucial component in the world of travel technology. The benefits of utilizing an API in your service or product are manifold, as it enables streamlined access to data sources that can provide improved experiences to customers.In practical terms, an API allows for the collection of data from lodging and transportation providers, as well as traffic updates, all on a single platform. This consolidation of data from disparate sources can enhance the efficiency of travel companies by providing a centralized repository of information, enabling them to better serve their customers. 

Additionally, the implementation of an API can simplify the development process for travel companies, as it allows for the reuse of pre-existing code modules and can expedite the creation of new features. Overall, the use of an API in travel technology is an essential tool for improving the customer experience and streamlining operations.

What are the most common API types in the travel industry?

  • Global Distribution System (GDS) API is essentially a collection of web services for obtaining supply from various providers, such as cruise lines, airlines, railways, car rental companies, and hotel chains. This solution accessible via a hypertext transfer protocol and runs on a system that provides the necessary services. In plain English, this allows a business to gain legal access to the outcomes of other businesses. The GDS API is in charge of the automated updating of inventory knowledge.

  • Accommodations and Bedbanks API collects data on room reservations as well as niche lodging information. Booking the room and managing the reservation from the same platform is convenient. VacAgent AB, which provides GDS for professionally managed vacation rentals, is a good example.

  • OTAs. If using GDSs and Accommodations APIs is too costly for your company, starting by collaborating with online travel agencies that offer affiliate programs and APIs can be a great solution. While this method is not as popular as GDSs, it’s a viable option for small businesses, startups, or enthusiasts who need access to booking APIs.

  • Public Transportation. APIs help support getting-around experience. Car rental is not a necessity for every traveler. In addition, there has been a recent movement toward making cities more pedestrian-friendly, particularly in Europe. Consequently, using public transportation is an essential component of the travel experience. Uber has its own API for integrating the "request a ride" function into third-party applications. The API is now used in well-known products such as TripAdvisor, Google Maps or Transit App. There are also numerous alternatives to consider when it comes to APIs for public transportation.

GDS systems provide the most extensive data coverage, whereas niche providers provide more task-specific APIs.

How API Can Benefit Travel Tech?

It may seem obvious, but without an API, it will be too difficult to improve the user experience or provide the best booking options in the modern travel business. But what else does it have to offer the industry?

  • Connecting data and users in an efficient manner: API allows you to not only connect data from various sources, but also manage it appropriately and respond quickly to changes in reservations.

  • Obtaining information on a great deal of destinations: To manage flight, tour activities or lodging arrangements you must rely on real-time data from various sources. API allows users to share availability and pricing data, which is useful for monitoring and comparing the rates from various suppliers.

  • Developing new solutions: API also enhances the possibilities for creative solutions. It is a great boost for websit’s operators because it allows them to identify the issues in real time and respond accordingly. Manage the data, for example, based on how extreme weather conditions or local government restrictions may affect the destination.

  • Improving user experience: What could be more effective in communicating with clients than providing them with all of the necessary information? API enhances user experience and, as a result, strengthens client relationships.

How to Select the Best Travel API?

We've only scratched the surface of the available travel APIs iceberg to provide you with basic information on integration capabilities shared by the travel community. Whether you decide to use one of the products described above or look for something else entirely, there are some general guidelines that can help you choose an API that is appropriate for your needs.

  • Popularity matters: Popularity isn't just a sign of quality; it also builds a product's community. More developers using the API means more pitfalls your team can resolve through communication. A developer forum is another good sign!

  • Check paperwork: Look for FAQs. Some providers don't display paperwork upfront, requiring an additional contracts. Try a demo if the documentation is not public.

  • Customize: How customizable are APIs? Can you retrieve specific data records or the whole bundle? Sabre or Amadeus APIs are customizable.

  • Limits: Linguistic, regional or partnership-related limitations. Most owners will ask to contact their support teams or describe limitations.

  • Consider specific APIs: Don't use only standard APIs and always look for market opportunities – 3rd party APIs and solutions can help solve problems you've tried to solve for a long time.

  • API marketplaces: such as Cyclr, that provide an interface to search and evaluate popular APIs. The travel API market is large, and new marketplaces are emerging.

  • Standardize: Even if an API has a great feature list and functionality, make sure your developers check REST and SOAP compliance.

As the world and the travel industry become more connected, APIs implementation and the appropriate strategy for working with them will determine whether you are able to source the appropriate data and, ultimately, provide sufficient value to your customers. 

Final Thoughts 

API became the most efficient tool in the industry for facilitating clients acquisitions and user experience while optimizing revenue streams. It also facilitates the acceleration of digital transformation and the rapid response to changes. If you work in the travel industry and are thinking about API integration or development, DevPals experts can help!