Interview: Distribute Travel goes live with multi-brand API tech

New API technology has been launched by content distribution specialist Distribute Travel aimed promising to widen travel retailing to complimentary sectors and increase conversions for existing sites in the sector.

The start-up’s new multi-brand white label technology which enables retailers to plug in multiple API feeds has been officially launched today (Monday November 14).

Set up by a group of former Affiliate Futures colleagues, Distribute Travel has signed deals with leading suppliers including Thomas Cook, On The Beach, On Holiday Group and LowCost Travel Group.

[In June Travolution exclusively reported on Distribute Travel’s launch and the hopes it had for establishing a presence in the travel sector] 

Nic Costa, Distribute Travel managing director, said the firm was now busy building partnerships with “some fairly high profile sites” which are in various stages of development of the white label product. He said many plan to be ready for the January sales turn of year push.

The technology offers partners travel search functionality with the ability to select the product they want to display from among the suppliers and to add new suppliers when they come on stream with minimal effort.

The hope is that complimentary online brands, for instance in the luxury or financial services retail sector, will see the value in adding travel to their sites as well as established price comparison sites with no travel offering, tourists boards and airports.

Costa said: “This could be used by websites that have an active audience but do not have either a holiday of travel proposition and can see that there is revenue to be made but don’t want to invest a fortune into doing it themselves.

“One area we are going to be looking at is luxury travel where brands can be promoting luxury travel suppliers to their audience. This is new distribution that everybody needs. We will be able to optimise to a broad degree because of the wide search capabilities of our technology.”

Costa said the ability to manipulate data for specific search requirements will help bring back much more targeted results. A tailored API has been developed specifically for retargeting specialists, for instance.

Alistair Daly, chief marketing officer for On The Beach, said: “Distribute’s model is much needed in travel as they are focused on using their technology to showcase our product in new areas online, which will ultimately fuel incremental sales opportunities.”

Costa added: “The feedback has been really positive. There has been most interest in the multi-brand from the publisher and partner side of things. Suppliers have been keen to get their data into this. One of the things we have had to overcome is there has been all sorts of hurdles just getting hold of the data.

“A common way to try to get hold of company’s data is to scrape their site and we have been able avoid that because we have been trying to take the load off those companies, and we want live data. We can build an API from scratch or payer our technology in top of their APIs.

“Most APIs travel companies have are quite restrictive. The amount of data is quite substantial and most travel companies that have built their own technology cannot handle that level of data to be returned in a fast manner. We are layering bits of technology and caching in top to optimise what we can get out.

“Where we can we are trying to get the data from source so we can return results super-fast. For us this is on-going where we are consistently going to add more improvements with the aim purely to increase conversions.”

In the New Year Travel Distribute will start to add more verticals to the technology, like flight-only and hotels, having started with holidays, the sector seen as being the most complex.

As well as the white label product Distribute Travel is also powering and optimising search functionality on travel firms’ own websites including Thomas Cook’s Late Deals search on its website.

Distribute Travel will be speaking at next year’s Travel Technology Europe trade show in London as part of Travolution’s media partnership. A full programme for the Travolution seminar theatre is available on the TTE website.

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