Travelport is trying to meet the needs of third party IT specialists keen to access its data and services by opening up its Universal API programme to developers.
The Developer Network launches officially this week and will initially include access – via an annual subscription – to an array of tools to give third parties access to the company’s API (a multi-million dollar project¬†originally unveiled late in 2010), effectively letting developers play with GDS product feeds.
The Universal API carries full access and functionality across the the spectrum of supplier content, a¬†”pipe” of air fares, hotel availability, car hire and European high-speed rail tickets.
Travelport says during 2012 it will also give developers access to the Universal Desktop system.
Subscription fees to the Developer Network have yet to be released, but Travelport says it will be “competitive” and has been priced with both startups and developers in existing organisations in mind.
The idea behind the project, which has been in development for almost a year, according to chief marketing officer, Gillian Gibson, is to showcase what Travelport has to offer in terms of product data, but also inspire developers to create new applications and services which will eventually benefit the third party, other members of the network, travel agency customers and Travelport itself.
Access to a directory of developers is included in the subscription, as well as a community system for swapping ideas and sharing knowledge.¬†Full technical support is also being thrown in, run by existing Travelport engineers.
It is hoped over time that the directory will include apps created by the developers for wider use amongst Travelport customers.
The launch of Travelport’s Developer Network follows a similar project by¬†Sabre Travel Network to open a business-to-business application store, enabling Sabre-authorised developers to create and sell their solutions to Sabre‚Äôs travel agency customers.
Travelport says around 20 independent software developers have signed up ahead its the network’s official launch, including UK-based Dolphin Dynamics, corporate travel giant¬†Rearden Commerce and tour and activity startup¬†Flextrip.
Ironically, Flextrip chief operating officer Alex Kremer [also a Tnooz Node] has been one of the key figures banging the drum to persuade the so-called gatekeepers of the industry to open up data to third parties such as startups.
NB: Travelport was a sponsor of Tnooz’s THack Vegas earlier this year, giving developers access for a limited period to the Universal API.