In theory, APIs should be unlocking travel activities or “things to do.” There should be ubiquitous travel apps that not only have solutions for how to get there, but what to do. Better yet, you may reference an experience like a concert and a museum in another city and the app figures it all out. There are examples of very localized capabilities, but nothing at scale.
This is not a technology problem because AI/ML solutions, along with the cloud, are already capable of this. The problem is getting to the necessary data, the problem is APIs. In technical forums, there is way too much attention on the developer of the APIs and the costs to publish them, with way too little focus on the consumer of APIs and their related costs.
Way too many travel solution providers still think proprietary APIs are a good idea, such as to discourage a customer migrating to a competitor. It’s needless differences between APIs that all have the same purpose to find, reserve, and purchase travel content that drives up costs. High APIs consumption costs shut down the long tail of content, as the cost to access versus potential profit is underwater.
It’s in the interest of all parties in travel, the suppliers, the channels, the apps, from the very large to very small, to cooperate on the technology aspects of APIs to lower costs. This will enable not only experience led retailing, but personalization across supplier and channels. It’s not a technology problem, it’s lack of industry alignment on the use of technology.
OpenTravel, along with existing standards bodies and trade associations, can provide that alignment.