How app developers design tomorrow’s online travel


By Antonella Vecchio, vice president online and land & sea, Sabre Travel Network, EMEA

The online travel industry in EMEA is highly competitive and growing at a rapid pace – in 2015 online gross bookings are forecasted to account for close to half (47%) of the total European travel market (Phocuswright).

High growth and high competition have resulted in the emergence of various niche players making the European Online travel ecosystem more complex than ever – in this situation, innovation comes from being easier to work with and with fewer barriers to entry.

Accessible and open developer spaces empower Online travel businesses to address the demand for agility and innovation in the travel space and differentiate effectively by meeting the needs of travellers – today and tomorrow.

Travel is widely recognized as a hotbed of innovation due to the close proximity to consumer trends – and today’s consumer behavior is changing rapidly.

The next generations of travelers constitute a growing demographic with huge connectivity to all-things-digital, includind online, smart and wearable devices. These empowered consumers are ever more tech-savvy, driving higher expectations from all players in travel.

Success in the highly competitive online travel industry faces challenges of additional expectations which are not obvious at first glance: the expectations that developers have in the technology industry.

In the end, it’s what developers need

The widespread adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices has led to an increasing demand for travel-related apps. As development lifecycles are shrinking there’s an increasing need for new and faster services and tools.

Travel APIs and travel data are the keys to innovations in travel, historically both have been notoriously difficult to access.

Today, when it comes to technology, developers expect to get what they need instantly – they want to come and learn about different services and get immediate access to a sandbox environment and resources. REST-enabled APIs, which are easy to consume and optimise for modern development technologies such as mobile, also rank high on the developer’s list of requirements.

Open your doors and keep systems safe

Opening up your platform is key for developers wanting to build an app in the travel space. But often, the underlining systems in travel are so broad, you can’t just open up access to everything – a lot of sensitive information can create security issues if misused.

So, you need to find a way to open up your doors, yet keep the systems safe at the same time – sounds like squaring the circle, but that’s the reality.

Providing developers a secure sandbox that doesn’t hit the backend systems in production allows them to code, play and test your services in a safe environment.

It takes a lot of internal discussions to find a way to make this happen – but it’s worth the effort and again, it’s what developers want. There is no reason not to provide an option for developers that can significantly cut down on their development efforts.

Tap into the diverse group of developers

Open platforms empower developers across different industries and from travel companies, OTAs, start-ups, meta-search and social sites to differentiate their digital services from others, deliver travel options on mobile devices or take advantage of data analysis to create value for the business and travelers.

This can lead to a blending of ideas – having an open and accessible developer platform makes such ideas much easier to realise.

Furthermore, open platforms motivate to show up at places where you haven’t been before – like hackathons or general technology events – and create closer relationships with organizations like incubators, accelerators or co-working spaces. And it is often situations like these that make you think much more innovatively about who your customers are.

Top tips

• Address the demand for agility and innovation in the Online travel space and differentiate effectively by meeting the needs of developers
• Provide an open innovative technology platform to stay ahead of technology trends
• Remove the need of heavy lifting in terms of in house technology design, build and test – thereby increasing the speed to market for Online travel businesses
• Base a lot of what you do from the feedback you get from developers and customers

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About Author

Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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