Traveltek chief commercial officer Cressida Sergeant explains how cruise companies and travel agents can reap the benefits of using an API.
Welcome back to the world of travel technology and translating its complex language into something that can really help travel agents understand the benefits.
So, let’s take a look at APIs. First, what is an API? It stands for application programming interface. Essentially, it’s a technical language that allows communication through asking a request and getting a response.
This language is no different to how we communicate with each other through speech – we ask a question, and we get an answer, but the systems must understand the question that is being asked to enable the right response to be received.
A usual transition of this data is between a customer-facing website or desktop application and a database. The database could be all the cruise prices, cabin types and availability, for example.
At Traveltek and all travel companies who want to distribute their product through the travel trade, this delivery of data will happen via an API.
It is a set of programming instructions that allows this API software to communicate with your desktop booking tool.
This means it is incredibly easy to consume and benefit from this data through a desktop technology solution with no requirements for technical resource.
Customisation and flexibility
However, some travel companies will choose to utilise an API directly from technology companies and there can be real benefits from this, including increased flexibility and control over how and what data you access and use.
The downside is that any organisation who wants to have increased customisation and flexibility will need to employ technical resource for the necessary skillset to be able to translate the API data into something that a cruise company can consume and understand.
The benefits of technology companies such as Traveltek is that we consume multiple APIs from cruise lines.
We then consolidate this data into a single API and pass this to our customers, so they only have one integration to manage and not 30.
Economically this makes sense for any company, but it’s also about the ongoing cost to manage and maintain this data.
There are many API languages out there. At Traveltek we use XML, JSON and now GraphQL. Our aim is to make the process as simple as possible for developers to be able to consume the data from us and then use it effectively.
An API should be easy to read (with the right skillset) and will reduce the level of resource an organisation needs to translate the data.
- APIs can sound scary, but once the solution is in place, it can be very easy to manage
- An API can provide flexibility and control over what data you access and use
- Traveltek uses multiple APIs and consolidates this data into something customers can use