What is an API?
This is one of the issues we have been dealing with, since the first day of this blog. I started uploading articles and opinions on that, as well as tutorials. Dealing with this question again doesn’t feel like repeating myself, but more like I want to revisit it with a fresh approach.
Most of the web services that are being used these days have an API. As much as this word has become common in the field of information technology a lot of people with no technical background have little to no knowledge of what an API actually is. API stands for Application Program Interface and it is a set or collection of standards, routines, and protocols which help in accessing any software application that is web-based. APIs basically govern the communication between two applications or software. Explained simply, APIs can be considered as doors or windows that allow different data messages to go in or out of different web-based services or applications. The rules of these APIs allow them to control the flow of information and communication is completely governed and controlled. API doors will only be open to the software or applications that have the keys to the lock on the door. One thing that must be clarified over here is that an API does not interact with the user in any way. It is just an application to application interaction tool. The user is neither aware of this communication nor can they intervene with it.
APIs in Online Travel Industry:
The online travel agency in the world is a giant and complex web of several channels, networks, and applications working together simultaneously. The communication between these channels and applications is of paramount importance and the entire online travel industry depends on it. The main reason why any traveling company develops an API is that the application of the company is able to interact with other travel companies and suppliers such as hotels and airlines. Both applications are able to send and receive dynamic information to each other and create a system of communication between them. The information that is usually transferred via APIs are the prices and availability of different travel related product such as airline tickets and availability of rooms. Different suppliers of products in the field of traveling such as hotels and airlines also use API to make sure that their products are being viewed by a large audience.
The importance of APIs in the online traveling industry can be understood by its widespread usage. The whole industry is based on a complex and huge system of APIs that connect different applications and websites and make sure that correct information is always available for the users. Different entities in the traveling industry such as distribution system, traction hubs, reservation systems, merchandising platforms etc. are all connected with each other in a systematic manner. The main aim of this interconnectivity is to make sure that the link between supply and demand is always in the most effective and efficient form. This system is very complex mainly because of the fact that the users on different traveling websites are always expecting fast and accurate results in terms of availability and price. Most of the traveling websites are now also supporting several other facilities for their users such as car rentals, parking spots, local event bookings, tours etc. This adds to the burden of the system and new APIs are to be defined to make sure that the application or system is up to date according to these additional factors as well.
If we look at the overall online traveling industry a lot of information is always being sent and received between various different software and websites. Most of this information is in the API call, no matter if the response is in XML, JSON or YAML. APIs make sure that the transfer of this information is done in the correct and most effective way to make sure that the system is running correctly and no wrong information is being conveyed to the users. Following are some of the major travel industry related APIs.
TripAdvisor proudly calls themselves as the “world’s largest travel site”. They have more than 200 million customer reviews and opinions about different travel-related products such as restaurants, hotels, and airlines. The website of the company is the main thing that has attracted so many customers towards it. The website also gives developers the information about the APIs that the company is using. The developers who are eager to build their own travel-related applications can use The TripAdvisor Content API for this purpose. One of the best things about their API is that it even provides the information about the destination of the data that is being transferred to it. TripAdvisor also offers other APIs that can be used for B2B connectivity. The company is constantly at work to farther improve their system and make sure that their customers are always satisfied when they leave the website.
XML Travelgate is a company that performs XML integrations for various travel-related purposes. The main aim of the company is to make sure that those API services are provided to different travel-related programs based on the three basic principles of cost saving, high service level, and extensive product catalog. The company provides their customers with a market leading technology to make sure that they become successful in the field of the online travel industry. The experts that are working for XML Travelgate make sure that the clients they are working for are able to focus more on the actual business than on the technology that is being used to run it. With dozens of highly satisfied clients from all over the world, this is one of the best companies doing XML integrations in the field of the online travel industry.
Sabre is another big name in the online travel and tourism industry. With clients ranging from airlines to car rental companies and hotels to travel agencies, Sabre has the ability to provide with just the right type of traveling solution for your company. Sabre Dev Studio provides developers with a nice and organized platform on which they can easily design and develop any travel related website or web application. Sabre also provides a number of APIs to their clients and their APIs can be used to feature their different traveling related platforms in different new and already existing applications or websites.
We are reaching the end of our journey into the Travel API Industry review. It remains in this section to summarize some of the key takeaways from the article in order to reinforce the main concepts. In this article, I did not even begin to scratch the industry, and you can definitely find more in the awesome stack network by Kin Lane, who needs no introduction. The idea behind such articles is that we can discuss our thoughts and our incentives in the business even though we may are not experts in that particular domain.
It is obvious that the Travel Industry has greatly been benefited by the new technology of sharing data through APIs. It has scaled the business to a whole new level of experience for the end users. No matter if you are Booking.com or just a small house that gets rent for Airbnb. You are still part of the ecosystem and APIs is where your clients will look for before eventually reach you out.
Interested in API strategy, architecture, and design. Working to improve the quality and usability of information on the Web. CTO @OrfiumMusic