Technology has revolutionized distribution in the tourism industry. Nowadays, travel products follow an online path through booking engines and their XML connections. A Booking Engine is online software used to manage and distribute tourism products. But, what do we call XML integration? If you have a travel company, do you need to have XML integrations?
What is an XML integration?
To understand XML technology, we need to think of a connector that acts as a “data translator” between clients and suppliers, and vice versa. This translation makes the differences – that may exist in terms of programming languages and formats between these two players – compatible over the Internet. Most of the time, if not the whole time, this language is XML. XML is a computer language that has the ability to enable data exchange by transferring large amounts of information in a fraction of a second.
Furthermore, this language is not privately owned, which means that its use is universal and free.
PUSH and PULL integrations
There are two types of integrations: PUSH and PULL. PULL integrations establish two-way connections that enable intermediaries to make availability or rates requests, etc. to suppliers who will immediately respond to these, so that intermediaries can sell the available allotment. The difference between PULL and PUSH integrations is that whereas in PULL integrations suppliers do not offer availability unless it is required, in PUSH integrations the responsibility of notifying clients about changes made in their systems is the suppliers’. Therefore, in PUSH integrations, clients and suppliers communicate with each other only when the latter have changed their conditions (rates, allotment, etc …)
What is XML connectivity used for?
The ultimate objective is facilitating distribution and sale of tourist products in different markets. Thanks to these connections, offers from accommodation, flight, car-rental, excursion, and cruise suppliers … can be sold on a travel agency’s web page, although information on their respective databases – the suppliers’ and the agency’s – may not be structured in the same way.
The connection process is as follows: a client (which can be a travel agency or any tourism intermediary) makes an availability request to a supplier of a given tourism service. This supplier will respond instantly. But this client may be working with an indefinite number of suppliers who will be simultaneously offering information about the same tourism product. XML integrations enable clients to access all this information right away, and also show all the available options to the client’s final customers: tourists.
What are the advantages of all this?
- Multiplying product offer
One of the great benefits of XML connectivity when it comes to tourism-product suppliers is that any travel company can simultaneously offer on its web product from its own inventory as well as products from complementary inventories that are fed from a transparent connection with external suppliers via XML. This way, travel companies expand their offer thus differentiating themselves from competitors and offering better service.
- Making companies go global
The best way to expand in the travel industry is making your offer go global and reaching potential, international clients. Through XML integrations, you can add external product to your own product, thus enriching and multiplying your offer. The more inventory on your web, the more chances for selling.
- Increasing profit
In summary: connectivity will boost the number of customers and sales, thus increasing your profit – regardless of whether your business model is B2B or B2C – as potential customers will grow exponentially.
Tips for connecting via XML
Your company needs a powerful booking engine with broad global connectivity with suppliers and customers. The first step is selecting the right solution for your business.
The development of each integration is usually a long process, so we recommend that you seek a technology supplier that has already developed a high number of XML connections with suppliers throughout the world, which will lead to faster growth.
This will give you the freedom to set your own growth-pace and decide which product you wish to sell, by choosing your connections without having to wait for months for them to be completed.