Traveling for work can entail many frustrations—flight delays, hotel overbookings, and ground transportation shortages, just to name a few. But as the CPaaS revolution continues to unfold, its API benefits are taking root in the travel industry and already improving the customer experience for road warriors.
APIs make it easier for the business traveler to receive update communications about their plans as well as receive money- and time-saving deals and plan itineraries. Here’s how the travel and hospitality industry leverages APIs to increase travelers’ satisfaction:
Navigating Flight Delays More Easily
Flight delays are a common traveler complaint. Oftentimes a passenger has two or more flights on their itinerary and arrives to find that a connecting fight has been delayed. In the past, the passenger might not get this information until they reached the boarding gate. However, some airlines now leverage API benefits to communicate this delay to their passengers via text and mobile app messaging, according to Skift.
In this scenario, an airline can send messages via a preferred channel, but if the messages are not read, delivery can then be attempted through a different channel. This way, if a text message goes unnoticed or cannot be delivered, the customer can be notified about the delay through the airline’s mobile app.
In addition to ensuring travelers are promptly notified about changes to their itineraries, this can also help to neutralize traveler frustrations by letting them know detailed information about why their flight has been delayed. For example, in the past, travelers told that bad weather was causing delays would be confused if they looked out the terminal windows and saw a clear sky. But now the airline can send a report with pictures of weather conditions along the route so passengers understand that the source of the delay isn’t local. By using multiple channels to alert passengers to these itinerary changes, the airline can improve the omnichannel customer experience.
Itineraries Improve as a Result of API Benefits
When it comes to creating travel itineraries, there are numerous API benefits. For example, a traveler could initially be looking to book a trip to Singapore on a specific airline for a particular set of dates. However, a travel API with intelligent search capabilities can recommend similar destinations or even cheaper prices than the original search and show the best time to travel, according to TTR Weekly.
In addition, travelers can gain the ability to connect to online travel agencies (OTAs) through a platform of travel APIs. Provided as an OTA-branded booking engine that’s accessible by website or mobile app, travelers can complete their itineraries in one streamlined step rather than trying to deal with airlines, hotels, and ground transportation separately.
The potential business outcome for travelers and companies that book corporate travel through OTAs is increased access to high-quality air, hotel, and rental bookings. OTAs meanwhile get support for strong content and a high-quality shopping experience.
APIs: Critical to the New Infrastructure
The imperative for travel service providers is that the benefits of APIs enable them to reach the traveler through any channel, especially when message delivery is critical. For example, when an airline changes the airport gate and the traveler has made the booking through their hospitality app that uses API integration, the flight information update can be communicated efficiently and effectively. If the travel alert requires more hands-on attention, a travel agent can chat with the traveler directly to advise them about quickly changing conditions, such as a flight arriving late at a critical juncture, according to Travel Daily Media.
Travel and hospitality companies are all vying to build the largest one-stop shop for travelers. Whoever amasses the largest network of travel API services will have significant leverage within the marketplace, because like railroads during the Industrial Revolution, whoever owns the infrastructure that other companies must use to deliver their solutions to market stands to make the most money. Today, that infrastructure is the customer experience.
But no company seems to be able to go it alone. According to a special report from Forrester commissioned by Visa, 72 percent of participating companies want outside help with transforming customer insights into customer experience improvements, with the majority interested in doing it using APIs and other solutions. And over half want to use APIs in partnerships to co-create these customer experiences.
Whatever the future may hold for the travel industry, the value of APIs will continue to grow as airlines, hotels, and ground transportation companies seek to strengthen their relationships with travelers.