The Travel Club Option for Travel APIs
What are Travel APIs, and more importantly, how can they help your business grow and increase revenue? This blog will take a deeper dive into Travel APIs and how Custom Travel Solutions uses them to build and grow branded travel clubs for non-travel brands and organizations.
Using Travel APIs to Grow Revenue and Loyalty
The topic of Travel APIs may seem remote for those outside the B2B travel sector who are not familiar with the evolution of travel technology. But Travel APIs are an important topic to understand because they can help virtually any brand, organization or website increase revenue and drive loyalty.
Travel APIs are the technology that makes it possible to connect new channels, platforms and apps (such as Uber or your loyalty app) to legacy systems (such as airline reservation systems) that contain travel information such as fares, prices and availability. This has lead to an explosion of popularity in online travel agencies and travel apps that are able to connect different sources of inventory and information in different ways, depending on which customer or user segment they are targeting. The two top online travel agencies (OTAs) – Priceline and Expedia – are actually a portfolio of different OTA brands catering to different user segments (for example, some users just want fare deals while others want photos, comparisons and reviews).
Previously, only a travel agent had a connection to supplier inventory, and putting together a trip required the agent’s expert knowledge of the global distribution system (GDS). Now any online booking engine can use Travel APIs to connect the end customer to travel inventory – no travel agent expertise required (unless the customer wants their advice and planning services which are still very much in demand).
Travel Clubs and Travel API Providers
There is a Travel API for everything – flights, hotels, car rentals, tours and activities and much more – but not every website or app needs the same inventory. They may only want to enable their customers to search for flights in the Asia-Pacific region or hotels in New York City, for example. The larger OTAs pay for access to virtually everything (via their chosen GDS) and use that range of inventory to create all-in-one booking experiences.
But there are alternative and niche options for companies that want a less expensive or more customized set of APIs. The biggest challenge is how to choose the right Travel API set – especially if you are a non-travel organization like a bank or credit union that needs an easy plug-and-play solution with ready-built APIs.
One alternative is to offer a private label travel club that provides ready-built Travel API connections to most of the same inventory offered by Priceline or Expedia. But in addition to these connections, a travel club facilitates the full user experience with a private booking engine (with exclusive fares and rates), travel fulfillment services and access to elite travel and lifestyle benefits at discount prices.
Travel Clubs Help Drive Customer Loyalty
Essentially, a travel club is an online travel agency “in a box” or “as a service” (a SaaS service). Rather than only a few OTAs accessing inventory and earning commissions from all the traffic they get, any company can offer a travel club to their customers or members and leverage theircustomer base/online traffic to profit from the booming travel industry. The travel club also functions as a private portal that adds value to any loyalty program, member club or credit union – and reinforces customer loyalty by bringing them back to the site any time they travel (which can be often for today’s connected traveler).
The opportunities opened up by a travel club are made possible by the Travel API connections that the club brings together and makes available to any company that wants to increase revenue and loyalty. Contact Custom Travel Solutions today to learn how our travel club APIs can help boost your bottom line, and in the meantime enjoy another blog on enhancing loyalty with a travel club-as-a-service.