What is Travel XML API Integration & How it Benefits of For Travel Agencies
IT modernization has really boosted the travel & tours’ industry with its impeccable solutions. Online travel agencies are going through cut-throat competitions as they are willing to offer more & more options for customers to select from; in terms of hotels, flights, tours etc. and the large inventory of the same will enable the travel agent to sell more and ultimately earn more. Customers are more inclined towards a website which deliver one roof solutions for all the travel needs. And therefore, offering an enriching booking experience is not a piece of cake for every travel company.
However, the concept of XML Integration has made it possible by enabling travel agencies to provide real-time inventories of flights, hotels, tours etc. XML integrations are also called as third party suppliers & it is a connector which performs as an interpreter between the suppliers & travel agencies to be compatible so that the information of various kinds of suppliers can be fetched on the online travel portal, even if they have distinctly structured databases.
What is API?
As a travel agent, third party suppliers are integrated with the system through API Keys. API stands for application programming interface which is also widely known as web services. These API keys are integrated into the system in order to fetch the real-time data or information. To put it in travel technology terms, API keys grant the access to a travel website to use the live inventory of flights, hotels, rental cars, tours etc. in a legitimate way.
Steps Involved In XML API Integration:
- The pre-requisite which needs to be done is to select the suppliers. Analyzing the business requirements, rates offered by the suppliers, regions where they serve – all such factors are essential to be scrutinized while finalizing the supplier.
- A travel agent might need different suppliers for different modules & hence, multiple APIs are required. It is the supplier who sends the API document to the website owner & his technology partner with the ‘Test Access’. This API document covers the technical information about its implementation, API names, URLs, methods, parameters etc.
- The technology partner studies this API document & checks its feasibility to be implemented in the development. Through this, they will be able to analyze whether this API is ready to deploy or they have made modifications accordingly.
- Once the modifications are done, the approval is needed from the suppliers whether these modifications comply with their set of standards or not.
- After the approval, technology partner looks after the remaining part. A testing environment for the website owner is prepared in which IP needs to be whitelist in staging server that is the testing server. The website owner has to provide IP address of his server, username, password, services name etc. A live environment is given to the owner in which live inventory which can be seen by the end users through the online portal & they can go ahead with the bookings.
Benefits of XML Supplier Integration :
- Multiple inventory options for flights, hotels, tours, rental cars, payment gateways etc. in various regions or countries, enabling consumers to select from various options
- Centralized management of inventory
- Allows OTAs to opt for target marketing on the basis of geography by integrating with dominant suppliers of the particular location.
- Hassle-free maintenance of the system as the inventory is managed by the API owner.
- Multiple integrations can be implemented in one system in order to have a large inventory.
Getting global exposure for your travel business is no more a kind of bite off more than you can chew, the vision now. You can go ahead with many such integrations to serve the customers as per your target marketing strategy. Geographical factor in market segmentation plays a significant role when we talk about such integrations. For example, GTA is a hotel XML supplier which dominant in the Middle East, Asia, London & Spain, therefore, if you want to make your presence in this area; you can go ahead with the GTA integration. Likewise, there are GDS suppliers who serve globally as the name itself implies Global Distribution Suppliers. Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre are the GDS suppliers who can provide the inventory in global regions. Opting for third-party integrations will empower you to meet customers’ endless needs and improve their booking experience.