Thursday, June 21, 2012

Open Standards for Travel Deals

We've been working for few months now to aggregate travel deals data from various websites.  We have come to realize that there isn't a standard format for distributing and consuming these travel deals. We have tried a combination of web crawlers, excel feed, xml feed and some APIs but they are all in different formats, and a bit of a pain to use. The extracted data is incomplete. We’ve been a big fan of Open Travel Alliance (OTA), and we’ve worked within OTA standards in various projects.  If we get some traction and some usage, we plan to contribute this standard to the OTA for review.

From our past experience, we've also heard from lot of  travel publishers that the processing to aggregating these data is a pain.  We want to think about an open and non-proprietary standard, that would facilitate this process. The goal of this format would be to make it easy the exchange of travel deals data information between different systems that should help all parties. Publishers will be able to consume this data and display this data in any format. Suppliers can distribute their deals content across multiple sites, increasing their exposure to a variety of different target audiences and ultimately consumers  will benefit from improved access to the best travel deals on the Web.

To facilitate the discussion, here is our proposed format data elements which will look something like this in JSON.  We want to make it very simple for all the parties to exchange this information without extensive overhead.

The content of the deals would have the following elements.
Category (Airfares, Hotels, Cars, Vacations, Cruises)
Origins  (list of available Locations, usually for Airfare)
Deal URL:
Photo URL:
Thumbnail URL:
Deal Start Date
Deal End Date:
Travel To Dates
Travel From Dates

JSON Format: 

{ "Description" : "An award-winning hotel with perks -- now up to 45% off. Royal Sonesta Boston just reduced rates for travel May 31-September 30. Stay for as little as $199 -- and that includes a $25 hotel credit and complimentary WiFi.",
        "Discount" : 0.0,
        "EndAt" : "6/30/2012 12:00:00 AM",
        "Id" : 9483,
        "LargeImageUrl" : "",
        "Locations" : [ { "City" : "Boston",
              "Country" : "United States",
              "Region" : "United States",
              "State" : "Massachusetts"
            } ],
        "Price" : 199.0,
        "Providers" : [ { "Address" : { "City" : "Cambridge",
                  "Lat" : null,
                  "Lon" : null,
                  "State" : { "Code" : "MA",
                      "Name" : "Massachusetts"
                  "Street" : "40 Edwin Land Boulevard ",
                  "Zip" : "02142"
              "Email" : null,
              "Id" : 3146,
              "Name" : "Royal Sonesta Boston",
              "Phone" : null,
              "WebSite" : null
            } ],
        "ServiceCategories" : [ { "Name" : "Hotels" } ],
        "SmallImageUrl" : "",
        "StartAt" : "5/1/2012 12:00:00 AM",
        "Title" : "Boston: luxury waterfront hotel with $25 credit -- from $199 ",
        "TravelFrom" : "May 31, 2012",
        "TravelTo" : "Sep 30, 2012",
        "Url" : "",
        "Value" : 299.0

Your feedback is appreciated.
If you are working on a similar project and want to discuss few ideas, please email us at support AT

No comments:

Post a Comment