News

TRAVELOCITY GLOBAL INTRODUCES TRAVELOCITY CONNECT DEVELOPERS PORTAL

 

NEW MAShery-made TOOLS PROVIDE FAST, COST EFFECTIVE WAY FOR HOTELS & Developers TO DISTRIBUTE Commerce WITH TRAVELOCITY, LASTMINUTE.COM AND zuji

 

SOUTHLAKE, Texas – May 9, 2012 – Travelocity Global has launched the Travelocity Connect Developers Portal, a state-of-the art platform that enables developers and system providers in the hospitality industry to easily and quickly scale hotel supplier business with Travelocity, Lastminute.com, and ZUJI. By powering hotel listings and bookings with realtime data delivered through the Travelocity Connect APIs, hotels and developers can enhance the buying experience they deliver customers on Travelocity’s online properties.

“The Travelocity Connect Developers Portal builds upon our legacy of being the supplier friendly online travel company, making it easy for hotels to connect to us seamlessly,” said Noreen Henry, senior vice president, global partner services, Travelocity. “The portal minimizes costs, errors and delays and will help ensure that our hotel partners are always in sync with us, giving our mutual customers a hassle-free experience. Hotels not using Travelocity Connect are missing opportunities to sell their properties on our sites.”

The Travelocity Connect Developers Portal was developed in collaboration with Mashery, the global leader in API management technology and services. The portal includes Mashery-made tools that help developers quickly take advantage of the unique opportunity to integrate complex real-time property and booking data with Travelocity Connect, and sell to customers with a new level of accuracy and ease.

Travelocity's secure portal for developers provides a comprehensive API toolkit for Travelocity Connect's enrolled partner developers. Developers approved by Travelocity Connect can take advantage of the tools to learn about, and engage with, the APIs and the Travelocity Connect developer community. 

Developers can now use the Travelocity Connect API sandbox to test formatting and messages in the full API environment for APIs, including Hotel Direct Update (availability, rates and inventory), Hotel Information, Hotel Booking Retrieve, Hotel Booking Confirmation, Hotel Inventory Verification and Hotel Booking Delivery.

The API sandbox also allows developers to build their own API requests according to specifications for delivery of data to Travelocity and receipt of bookings. The portal also provides the developer community with interactive forums, where they can share ideas, code samples, and learn from other developers how to best use the API to streamline data updates and management in the Travelocity system.

“Travelocity is an example of a data-driven business that is using APIs to give its partners a distinct advantage in a competitive environment,” said Oren Michels, co-founder and CEO of Mashery. “Hotels leveraging Travelocity Connect’s APIs can better promote their current available properties to customers with more detail and accuracy.”

To learn more about the Travelocity Connect Developers Portal, go to http://connect.travelocity.com/, http://connect.lastminute.com/, or http://connect.zuji.com/

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Travelocity signs Hilton while Orbitz waits in the wings

Score one for Travelocitylastminute and Zuji, but at what price?

Travelocity Global, which includes the three brands and others, signed a new multi-year agreement withHilton Worldwide, which means the Travelocity online travel agencies in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe will have continued access to Hilton’s 3,800 properties, divided into 10 brands in 88 countries.

With the new pact, Travelocity can boast of an edge over Orbitz Worldwide, which failed to reach an agreement to renew its Hilton contract in March and has seen its merchant inventory go missing on Orbitz consumer sites since that time.

Although it is working on a turnaroundTravelocity has fallen on tough economic times over the last three years.

The question therefore arises: Did Travelocity cut a financial deal with Hilton that Orbitz wouldn’t stomach?

Noreen Henry, senior vice president of global partner services at Travelocity, says:

The scuttlebutt is wrong. We can’t discuss terms, but I will say that we were able to strike a creative deal, beneficial to both sides that we are happy with and strengthens our long term partnership.

On where things stand between Orbitz and Hilton, Orbitz spokesperson Chris Chaimes says: “We remain in discussions with Hilton on a preferred supplier agreement, but at the moment, distribution of Hilton properties is rather limited on our consumer brands.”

Orbitz Worldwide commented in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in May about the impasse with Hilton Worldwide:

While we do not believe the situation with Hilton will have a material impact on our business, if we are unable to reach a new agreement with Hilton or replace Hilton bookings with bookings of other hotels, or if our relationships with other major hotel chains also deteriorate, it could reduce our access to hotel inventory; put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to other OTCs; reduce our ability to attract or retain corporate customers; and/or have a material adverse effect on our business.

In conjunction with the announcement about the new Travelocity-Hilton agreement, the companies state that Hilton this week began connecting to Travelocity through a Travelocity Connect API, which enables properties to manage rates, inventory and availability.

Travelocity Connect also has a developers portal, which Travelocity states enables hotels “to integrate complex real-time property and booking data.”

Eduardo Schutte, Hilton’s vice president of distribution and channel management, declined to specify the terms of the Hilton Worldwide deal with Travelocity, but says the two parties crafted a deal “beneficial to both sides” that “strengthens our long-term partnership.”

Of the Travelocity deal,  Schutte says:

This leading shopping and booking channel complements our distribution strategy and global reach by helping us tap primarily into leisure travelers who like to shop several outlets before booking.

Those are curious words in an announcement about a new content deal with a specific online travel agency, but Schutte acknowledges that many consumers don’t book on Hilton websites and like to navigate around doing some comparison shopping before booking.

He adds: “The online travel agencies — and Travelocity is no exception — have strong connections with leisure audiences, which is appealing to us.”

Asked where things stand with Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz, Schutte says:

Hilton Worldwide plans to continue working with OTAs, such as Expedia and Travelocity. In addition, Hilton Worldwide recently partnered with Choice, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham to build the first hotel search engine built by hoteliers – www.roomkey.com. It is designed to save consumers time and provide confidence in their selection through convenient access to comprehensive hotel information and relevant pricing data, and has the ability to book directly with the hotel to get the chosen room and earn points.

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LeisureLink claims vacation rental and condo breakthrough on Travelocity with Marketspan platform

Independent owners of vacation rentals, condos and timeshares can toss the Excel spreadsheets.

That’s the word from LeisureLink, which claims its Marketspan platform and direct-connect to a TravelocityAPI are enabling owners of small properties, such as the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort and the Carlsbad Seapointe in Carlsbad, California, to engage in deft revenue management, merchandising and electronic distribution.

Many owners of small properties are known to use Excel spreadsheets to keep tabs on competitors and prevailing rates.

Technology companies in the vacation rental and condo space have been talking a good game about electronic distribution for years, but Erik Hovanec, LeisureLink CEO, claims to have some numbers to back it all up.

As a private company, Hovanec won’t give out precise dollar figures, but he says since launching a direct-connect with Travelocity in July 2011, sales for LeisureLink clients on Travelocity are up 94% year-over-year and room nights have increased 108%.

“Our gross booking performance this year with Travelocity will be solidly in the mid-seven figures range,” Hovanec says.

Hovanec attributes the growth to Marketspan’s ability to enable clients to change rates frequently, merchandising, the direct-connect and Travelocity’s growth.

LeisureLink previously connected to Travelocity through the Sabre GDS.

LeisureLink has direct-connects with other online travel agencies, such as with the almost five-year-oldExpedia QuickConnect, as well as with Booking.com, but Hovanec boasts of greater “merchandising flexibility” with Travelocity.

With an announcement pending about the strides of LeisureLinks’ clients through Travelocity, the two companies clearly are cooperating in a marketing push.

For example, LeisureLink is conducting a webinar March 22, featuring Travelocity, on ways property owners can merchandise more effectively through online channels.

LeisureLink’s Marketspan platform enables clients to keep tabs on competitive market data, and also includes a rate engine to fine-tune rates in real-time, and a “universal distribution” component to get the inventory out to channels ranging from the global distribution systems and online travel agencies toHomeAway and FlipKey, Hovanec says.

Lodging owners making rate updates in Marketspan see their pricing altered on all the OTAs with which LeisureLink has agreements, and thus they don’t have to alter rates on each OTA separately, LeisureLink says.

Owners of small, independent properties “don’t care if it is this channel or that channel,” Hovanec says. “They just want to be out there. We just look at it as shelf space.”

To use Marketspan, LeisureLink charges a monthly fees and gets a cut of transactions.

Hovanec describes the current vacation rental, condo and timeshare market as “fragmented and complex,” and he doesn’t see this easing up any time soon.

And, that’s not bad news for tech companies such as LeisureLink.