A huge range of choices is now available at every stage of the travel process, from last-minute online bookings to smartphone apps that cater to unique needs. The reservations systems for airlines, hotels, and other service providers are integrated in a myriad of ways, and aggregators such as online travel agencies (OTAs) offer a host of impartial options to every traveler.
Yet research shows that despite all of the options available, the entire process, from scheduling to booking and beyond, makes for a frustrating customer experience. Providers are even unhappier as profits are down, brand loyalty is obsolete, and there is no clear playbook for working with the OTAs. Nearly every constituency seems to be facing fragmentation and commoditization.
Enhancing the customer experience is an important part of the equation. Uniting services from different providers only works when it leads to a seamless experience for the end user. This requires optimal data flow among providers, aggregators, and consumers—and that’s where APIs come in.
API management isn’t just another technology solution. It’s about enabling and managing access to data so that every constituency—or each link in the chain—is stronger as a result. However, companies are often reluctant to share internal information, even if it helps their business, because they’re afraid of losing control. A solid API strategy strikes a unique balance between offering convenience and retaining control.
API management is the essential to overcoming inefficiencies and poor customer experiences in the travel industry:
- Develop better customer experiences faster to capture ancillary revenue
- Expose availability, inventory and rate data directly available between hotel/airline and OTA or travel search
- Easily parse API to expose select information to appropriate parties and offer self-service documentation through a robust developer portal
- Enable internal developers to quickly create branded mobile apps and dynamic web content