Travel products such as air, car, hotel, cruise, restaurant, golf, tours, etc. are overwhelmingly purchased on an individual basis. Some trips only require one type of travel product, while most trips involve multiple types of products. Products such as hotels, restaurants, tours etc. could be bundled together for a better overall experience and price.
Technology exists that could provide trip level solutions at a massive scale, but data and access to products stand in the way. A major contributor to this is the tendency of travel industry sectors to define message, data, and API standards in a silo.
If one were to build an AI/ML based shopping solution that would provide the most relevant trip level solution to a traveler, offers and orders would need to act similarly regardless of product type. This would require at the data model level to avoid needless confusion over global constructs like customer, location, address, station, etc.. Identity management, security, payment, invoice, and many generic business functions would also need to be common.
Yet today’s common practice is that each major sector defines its own object models, schema, and API behaviors as the industry moves to JSON APIs. Established industry sectors continue to define their own silos, including newer areas of restaurant and tour operator groups.
OpenTravel, as the only organization spanning travel sectors, is advocating a better way. This includes supporting travel industry sector-based standards bodies and trade associations to drive responses to sector business needs but cooperate at the technical and data level through OpenTravel. OpenTravel provides the means for a common object/data model where business objects are built upon common objects and core elements are shared across the sectors.
There is the means to turn those models into XML and swagger schema that provides a common approach at the message level avoiding needless differences that have no business value. This common repository also makes differences between sectors, and there will still be easily discoverable differences.
All of this works to lower costs and speed time to market for all. Lower API costs brings more travel products to the market especially for restaurants, tours, and other areas where there is a massive number of participants. Let the business leaders in each sector lead by setting the direction and priorities, but let’s cooperate on the technical details to avoid unnecessary costs.