Apps, maps and ten top API tips

Ahead of an upcoming webinar we hear why APIs can help travel brands achieve start up agility

APIs are increasingly important. In what is a first for the hotel industry, Hilton guests at its 4,000 hotels around the world will be able to select their rooms from a digital floor plan. This has been achieved by integrating the HHonors app with Google Maps API which helps guests to be more informed about the location of their room at the property within the property’s surroundings.

Says Dana Shefsky, director of Digital Product Innovation at Hilton Worldwide: “By integrating with Google’s API, digital floor plans are updated and this enables guests to visualise where available hotel rooms are located in relation to city streets, public transport, parks, bodies of water and other contextual information.”

Integrating the Google API with the Hilton app might be a first but this isn’t the only travel brand to take this seriously, as we’ll find out in a webinar on ‘How APIs can benefit your travel brand’ next week.

“API's can deliver start up like agility to any business,” says Andrew Williams, Director Customer Success EMEA & APAC, TIBCO Mashery, a technology firm that works with a number of travel players including Starwood, IHG and Lufthansa.   

They certainly play a central role in KLM’s digital strategy, says Marthe van Rooij, Manager Digital Strategy, Air France KLM. “It allows us to quickly and efficiently bring features to our passengers, and at the same time it is a strong driver for huge organisational improvements,” she says.

IATA is another organisation that has developed an airline friendly API. According to Shaunelle Harris Drake, Manager of New Distribution Capability (NDC) Standards, IATA by using NDC’s APInow airlines are able to take a retail approach to distributing their products. 

That’s important in an increasingly digital business world, where the way customers consume data or purchase goods or services is changing rapidly, and they are doing so via multiple channels and multiple devices.

“All of this adds complexity and cost to a business trying to keep up with changes in the way customers want to access information,” says Williams.

On this score APIs can significantly reduce this cost and complexity because the same API's can be used to deliver content to the web, mobile, app, partners, affiliates and the third parties.

Ten top API tips

  1. Get support at highest level from your management
    Ensure consistency of all the API-related initiatives within your company, and close cooperation between business and IT (rethink the way-of-working àagile)

  2. Treat and manage your APIs like products 

  3. Treat your private APIs the same as your public API's; public and private APIs must follow the same quality control processes

  4. Use analytics to review API usage and manage your API program effectively to determine who has access to data as well as how much and how often

  5. Enable greater digital innovation by encouraging external developers to use your APIs to build new revenue streams

  6. Consider factors such as the overall architecture as well as scalability and integration. The ability of these systems to grow with the volume and transactions over time will be paramount to providing a sustainable IT environment. 

  7. Make your architecture modular: a modular architecture leverages existing assets and at the same time allows the addition of best-of-breed functionality as it becomes available

  8. Don’t underestimate the need for business and IT to work closely together. Taking this journey together will ensure a shared understanding towards achieving your business objective. 

  9. Communicate effectively all internal stakeholders is also vital for the success of any large transformation project

  10. Consider a phased approach. Choose, for example, a limited scope for say an NDC API so your organisation can see the benefits early, while you gain valuable experience to help you fine tune your API deployment strategy.

Join us on May 25 for a webinar with Andrew Williams, Director Customer Success EMEA & APAC, TIBCO Mashery, Shaunelle Harris Drake, Manager of New Distribution Capability (NDC) Standards, IATA and Marthe van Rooij, Manager Digital Strategy, Air France KLM

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