According to TrekkSoft’s report, the number of bookings made directly on hotels or flight companies’ websites fell to 66.7% in 2019. Simultaneously, reservations made through third-party agents grew from 17.5% to 24.3%.

More and more travelers want to book everything — hotels, flights, car services — without switching between many websites. And the best way for travel platforms to adapt to these changes is to adjust their user experience. (Or maybe offer discounts for direct bookings, but that’s another topic).

Platforms like Skyscanner, Expedia, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor have already started to integrate APIs with their various tool offerings. This helps travel resources monitor hotel and flight costs, availability, current discounts, and lots of other travel-related stuff.

Why Does Anyone Need Travel APIs?

Let’s say you’re running a travel website like TripAdvisor or Expedia. These days it may not be enough to make a platform just with “top 10 places to visit” guides. For example, on TripAdvisor, people can also post reviews, check booking prices, and book services. Everything a traveler needs should all be in one place.

Expedia also offers to book a hotel, buy flight tickets, rent a car, and deal with packaging. You can even search for event tickets and cruises.

Expedia requires many different APIs to power various travel booking options.

If you’re developing a travel app or a website, you’ll need to cooperate with hotels, restaurants, and attractions to collect details about their location, address, current prices. You must also ensure information is updated instantly, or you’ll get a lot of disappointed customers.

Travel platforms require travel APIs to fetch current information and show up-to-date details. Luckily, several companies already offer to use their APIs, including some of the travel industry leaders.

APIs for Booking Flights

I’ve divided the list of APIs into three categories: Flight data, Hotel booking, and Car renting. Let’s start with flights.

1. Skyscanner Flight APIs

Documentation | FAQ

Skyscanner is a metasearch engine and a travel agency that lets users research and book travel options, including flights, hotels, and car hire. One hundred million people per month use Skyscanner’s website.

Skyscanner API has two versions:

  • Browse Flight Prices API allows retrieving the cheapest quotes from their cache prices. That means you can set up a flex search. The drawback is that the prices aren’t updated too often for less popular destinations. So it’s possible that your users won’t see the updated price when it changes.
  • Live Flight Prices API shows the exact fares at any given time. Still, you must enter the exact time and route to get prices. Handy if you need to compare prices for specific dates, routes, or both.

Skyscanner API employs an API key authentication model and is a single purpose API with RESTful architecture. To start using the API, you need to fill in a contact form on their website.

2. British Airways NDC

Documentation | FAQ

Some airlines are looking for new, more efficient ways to sell their seats. That’s why companies like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Flydubai, and some others decided to create New Distribution Capability (NDC) APIs themselves. This makes the booking process on the agent’s side faster and more straightforward, with more options available.

British Airways (BA) — the largest full-service airline in the UK — is one such company. Their NDC API allows agents to access flight data and other relevant travel information, change booking dates and times.

BA API offers REST for integrating the data into third-party applications. It supports JSON, XML, and URI Query String/CRUD request format. Developers must register on BA’s website to get access to the code.

3. Amadeus APIs

Documentation | Self-service APIs, Enterprise APIs | FAQ

Amadeus is a Spanish IT provider for the global travel and tourism industry. It offers developers several APIs for booking hotels, cars, and flight APIs like:

  • Amadeus Flight Choice Prediction API forecasts travelers’ flight and shopping choices.
  • Amadeus Flight Low-Fare Search API shows the best prices for flights.

Amadeus offers self-services APIs with a number of free monthly calls. They also provide enterprise APIs to generate a virtual credit card, sell air flights with an optional optimization algorithm, sort and filter travel recommendations, and many other abilities. Amadeus flight APIs work in both REST/JSON and SOAP/XML formats.

Amadeus provides self-service and enterprise API plans.

APIs for Booking Hotels

4. Booking.com Connectivity APIs

Documentation | FAQ

Booking.com is a leading travel agency for short-term hotel reservations. Their Connectivity APIs were created for property management systems (PMS) and channel managers.

If your site is connected to booking.com via the API, you can register property and modify content like photos, rates, rooms, etc. directly in your website’s interface. There’s no need to go to booking.com to update the details manually.

The booking.com Connectivity APIs offer many features. Mainly, they’re focused on:

  • Managing content. Create rooms, rates, and policies, link this info together for the booking.com site.
  • Viewing availability & prices. Load inventory counts, rates, and price availability restrictions.
  • Reservations. Get details about booking, modifications, and cancellations made on booking.com.
  • Promotions. Create promotions for certain data ranges and booker types.
  • Reporting. Report credit card problems, changers to reservations after check-in, etc.

To start using booking.com API, you’ll need to submit your details first. You can check the requirements list here.

5. TripAdvisor Content API

Documentation | FAQ

Most users look through other travelers’ reviews and photos before they book a hotel. TripAdvisor is an excellent place to read comments, compare prices and ratings for attractions, restaurants, and of course, hotels.

TripAdvisor Content API allows to retrieve all these details:

  • Rates, ratings, awards, and the number of reviews posted
  • Shows top 10 hotels, eateries, attractions by location
  • ‘Write-a-review’ link

The Tripadvisor Content API is only provided for consumer-facing travel websites and apps. If you’re working on a personal website, you can use their widgets.

APIs for Car Hire

Online car rentals are quite popular these days. They offer more flexibility for route planning than local transportation, and you avoid purchasing tickets. Not to mention, ride-shares and taxis could be quite expensive. As the popularity of car renting services grows, so does the need for useful car APIs.

6. Sabre Car Locations APIs

Documentation

Sabre provides tech solutions for the travel industry, including agencies, corporations, suppliers, and developers. The company works with more than 40 car rental brands, so they’ve made three car rental APIs for travel websites.

  • Car Availability API shows whether there’s a car available for rent and its cost. The price depends on the pickup location and date. Also shows details like: available cars on the specified location, price by the type of vehicle, and rate plan type (inclusive, corporate, etc.)
  • Car Location API lets users search for cars according to their types, city, and address. Travelers need to choose the pickup point, enter return date and location, and choose the vehicle they like.
  • Car Reservation API is for reserving one or more cars and adding extra details. For example, flight arrival date, address, return location, location code, and so on.

APIs Aid Travel Booking Experiences

Global travel and tourism industries must become leaner in the wake of COVID. That could mean increasing automation and competitiveness with smart APIs. Travel platforms have already started to adopt travel and booking APIs, allowing functionalities like flights, hotel, and car bookings under the same user experience.

Vitaly Kuprenko

Vitaly Kuprenko is a writer at Cleveroad. It’s a web & mobile app development company with headquarters in Ukraine. When Vitaly is not writing about technologies, he spends his free time sharping his coding skills.