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What are Hotel APIs / Hotel XMLs and how to setup an online hotel booking system?

At the present times when you read about a travel portal system, the first words that you will encounter will be hotel XML and hotel APIs.Hotel API and Hotel XML are the very common words that you will come across while going through online booking systems. API is the acronym for application programming interface and is defined as the interface in an application, which facilitates communication with other applications. API is required for the purpose of communication and is specifically crafted for chosen functionalities. XML is extensive markup language used for structuring electronic documents. Hotel booking system forms an important element of Travel portal development. Integration of online hotel booking system  is required and is developed by an software developer.

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Online Hotel Booking System

Online Hotel Booking System

Hotel XML Integration

Hotel APIs / Hotel XMLs are web services provided by the leading hotel aggregators like GTA, Hotelbeds, Agoda, Expedia, Hotelspro, DOTW, RoomsXML and several others alike. Hotel APIs provided unrestricted access to huge hotel inventory compiled by hotel consolidators. Online hotel booking system is a term for web application offering the seamless ability to search and book hotels online. It covers a range the entire range of hotel / rental business, connected or non-connected with hotel aggregators. It is currently one of the most important part of online travel industry as online hotel booking systems are generating all the high bookings worldwide. Hotel booking systems are also having advantage because of its absolutely convenient due to its 24-hour availability, global reach and generally efficient customer service.

Hotel booking system is basically of two types, B2C – which is focused towards end customers and B2B – which is focussed towards travel agents. Travel industry today operates operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, business to corporate and white-label. Hotel booking system can be thought of as a more advanced form of global hotel catalog, where in user can search, check images, check pricing and do the booking online.

Hotel API

Hotel API

Setting up an online hotel booking system can be done in following two ways:

  1. Hotel Booking System with Hotel APIs
  2. Hotel Booking System with Self Contract Inventory (Hotel CRS / Hotel Extranet)

Hotel Booking System with Hotel APIs

Hotel booking systems have expanded rapidly over the past five years and are predicted to continue at this rate, or even accelerate. Carrying out hotel booking transactions electronically provides numerous competitive advantages over primitive methods. Moreover, the hotel inventory, which is one of the most important components of any hotel booking system, is accessed through hotel APIs, which have global data. When implemented with hotel APIs, online booking system becomes faster, cheaper and more convenient than the traditional methods of bartering goods and services.

Which are the top hotel APIs suppliers and consolidators in hospitality domain?

Globally, there are many top hotel suppliers. Expedia, GTA, Hotelbeds, Hotelspro to name a few. At local level, even some of the top DMCs also consolidate very good hotel inventory. One should select a hotel consolidator based on the target geography.


Author is a travel technology expert and has been involved in several travel portal development projects.



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