For most Rezgo members, the concept of creating a standardized set of XML messages for the distribution of tour and activity data probably sounds like gobbledegook. For data geeks and standards enthusiasts like the team behind Rezgo, this is a huge milestone in the march towards making small businesses a more visible part of the travel landscape. For over three years, Rezgo has been working with other tour and activity technology companies to develop a way for all of our systems to communicate with each other efficiently and seamlessly. As part of the process, we donated our entire library of messages to OpenTravel in order to speed up the process and provide a framework for development. That’s a big risk to take for a small company, but we felt the long-term gains from sharing our work was more important than the short-term risks. As of today, I am really excited to say that we have a set of standard messages that can be used by any travel technology company.
But what will these messages do for you as a small business. Well, to be totally brutally honest, I don’t think you need to worry about it or even care. What these messages will do is make it easier for other systems to connect to your Rezgo accounts in order to share your data. So, for example, if you want to create a relationship with some third-party website and they want your tour data, you just point them to the Rezgo API and give them your credentials. Simple as that.
In the long-term our goal is make it simpler for larger travel technologies like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity to connect to Rezgo and resell your tours and activities the same way they do hotel rooms or airline seats. Even though they can do that now, to some degree, they can’t do it with real-time availability. The problem is that they need access to a lot of data to make it worth their while. By growing Rezgo and building an API that is OpenTravel compliant, we are positioning you and your tours/activities to be picked up and marketed by these players. Will that happen now? Not in the short-term, but all of these relationships take time and effort to develop.
The publishing of the OTA_TourActivity messages means a lot to me personally and to Rezgo as a company. It is a reflection of our continued commitment to improve the opportunities for small business in the travel industry and to continue to develop the in-destination tour and activity segment as a whole. In an increasingly crowded space where new booking engines are popping up all the time, I’m reassured by the knowledge that no one in the segment is more involved and understands the space better than we do.
You can find out more about the 2011B Publication here: http://www.opentravel.org/News/ArticleView.aspx?ArticleID=134