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Customer loyalty and engagement is becoming increasingly dependent on the personalized experiences that brands can deliver, especially in the travel industry.
In order to meet the demands of modern travelers, travel providers must make sure they’re getting the right content into their systems to enable the right offers for customers as conveniently as possible. Add to the fact that airline and hotel mobile bookings now account for one in four online travel bookings worldwide, according to Criteo—the stakes are higher than ever for businesses looking to stand out.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are helping give travel providers a competitive advantage by removing technology barriers to help fuel greater traveler choice, whether a customer is searching for a low-cost flight, hotel room or car rental. With APIs, travel providers can expand their reach to a global set of mobile-first travelers, give their customers easier, more convenient access to rich, relevant and valuable content, and strengthen the range of their products and services. Additionally, the enormous quantities of data that APIs offer give providers unprecedented insight into the changing wants and needs of their customers.
Greater travel choice, richer content, enhanced performance and accelerated intelligence means higher conversions for travel providers. However, the travel industry has been slower to adapt this business model than other industries, which means there’s major opportunity for brands in the space to maximize the value that an API platform approach can offer.
As Mike Croucher, Chief Architect at Travelport, a travel commerce platform providing technology solutions for the global travel industry, explains, “Though still in its ‘teenage’ phase, the API economy is fueling one of the most dynamic changes the travel industry has ever seen.”
While companies such as AirBnB and Uber have harnessed the power of APIs in ways that have transformed their individual sectors, traditional distribution players have also begun embracing API strategies to evolve their operations and deliver the right content to the right person at the right time and enhance traveler choice.
Viva Travel, one of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) in Greece, is one example of a more traditional player in the travel space that implemented an API platform to upgrade its customer experience. The company was facing the challenge of promoting the sale of airline ancillary services and branded fares on their site, instead of only presenting travelers with basic results of flight times and price, to heighten the probability for the traveler to book with them.
Viva implemented an API to customize its airlines’ products and offerings within its own distribution channel. The implementation resulted in a 30% average upsell on branded fare carriers, higher average revenue per ticket, and an increase in business class sales for Viva.
Viva’s experience following the API implementation—along with the those of larger brands such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Marriott and Hilton, which have all launched APIs—shows how tailored content and greater travel choice can translate into high returns to meet consumer expectations.
The greater choice, performance, experience and intelligence that APIs offer are giving travel brands the ability to provide the customer-centric experiences that modern travelers now expect. And according to Croucher, this is only the beginning. “The API economy is really starting to kick off in the travel space, with new technologies emerging from different players allowing for integration in ways that was never possible before,” he says.
This article was created collaboratively with Travelport, which is spearheading the API economy in the travel space by working with travel providers and resellers to connect them with the right content for their customers. To learn more, please visit https://www.travelport.com.