From XML Travelgate to TravelgateX - Becoming the Global Marketplace for the Travel Trade
Posted by Pedro Camara
Over 6 years have gone by since our early beginnings in late 2011. I was living in Barcelona back in those days, running my own small software developing company, when I was approached by a close friend from Spain’s largest OTA (online travel agency) to deliver some work on integrations between travel companies. The OTA was based in the beautiful island of Mallorca. This was a brand new world to me, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into, nor where it would take me. In fact, not even how I as going to do it!
As a coder, I immediately started coding by integrating an airline API and soon realized I needed help. Lots of help! Luckily, Oscar, a very seasoned engineer specialized in travel technology, came to my rescue, and suddenly there were two of us. We split the work so that he was more focused on hotel integrations, while I worked on airline developments.
The founding of a company
A few integrations later and after lots of trips back and forth between Barcelona and Mallorca, I finally decided to permanently move to the island, sold my small company and just like that, XML Travelgate was founded.
As the workload increased, we hired 6 developers. Among them there was Carlos Tur, a very bright young engineer, who apart from becoming a good friend, has grown to become our CIO. He is ultimately responsible for keeping our service up in a multi-cloud environment, while successfully delivering more then 1 billion requests each day. All of that is geographically load-balanced with a 5 nines SLA (99.999%).
After a few months and around 50 integrations later, we started discussing the possibility of releasing these integrations to other companies with a similar need. After some negotiations with our client, and lots of convincing, we finally got the green light, and just like that, totally by accident, the Travel Trade’s First API Marketplace was born.
We created what we called The Hub, a single API endpoint to which our client could connect and access all the available sellers. The business proposition was very simple: we convert the message sent from the buyer in our own format to the specified supplier’s format. Once we get the response, we convert it back to our format in order to standardize. Nothing gets added or removed, no filters or weird prioritization rules. Whatever we get from the seller, we simply pass it on to the buyer using a standard format. Exactly as a direct integration, but without the hassle of the initial development and, most importantly, the costly maintenance.
From a business perspective, as our very first client was a Buyer, we thought we should continue charging the demand side for access to the integrations we built. This way, selling through the hub was completely free — as it still is to this very day. This business model allowed us to grow our supply network very quickly. Our only client was hungry for new and diverse product, and Sellers, as they normally do, wanted to sell their product. A perfect match and business was booming.
However, changing the way the market worked - the demand side never used to pay to connect to suppliers - was proving to be a bit more challenging then we had anticipated. Finally, after about 6 months, we signed our second paying client.
We started growing our Buyers list very slowly, on-boarding new customers at a very slow but steady rate. By the end of year two, we had about 10 clients. End of year 3, we grew to 20, and year 4 we had around 40 clients paying us to access the integrations in our hub.
Then, something unexpected happened: our Sellers started asking us to distribute their product, and they were willing to pay for it. At this time we made a deal with our initial Buyer, who was then in the process of creating a bedbank.
We started distributing their product in our Network and it worked really well. First, they started selling to all the Buyers already connected to our network, but they wanted more! So they hired a great global sales team and started connecting more and more Buyers.
At last, we had a fantastic sales team pitching for us! A few months after this successful rollout, we launched our Premium Partners program. As of today, our network consists of 600+ sellers and 300+ buyers. We now have 50+ Premium Partners in our Network — but more about this in another post…
The market has evolved during these last few years, and so have our company and our business model. We must adapt to the new conditions in order to stay alive and keep growing. We are evolving with the market, and this feels like a natural evolution for our company.
We’ve been integrating and helping other companies integrate every kind of travel product for a relatively long time, and have suffered our fair share of legacy systems as well as legacy technologies (such as XML). Our clients, indeed the whole market, demand and expect more from a tech partner like us. We needed to continue providing our partners with innovative ways of solving their pains.
A simple connectivity solution was no longer enough. Issues like hotel and room type mappings, dynamic routing and pricing, traffic optimization, smart caching, performance & high availability are here to stay and need to be addressed right now.
TravelgateX is the future, a complete Buyer and Seller platform or market network if you will, where every need and every requirement can be customized in order to boost your business.
A Platform built from the ground up to allow Sellers to sell more and Buyers to buy better. Using A.I. and Machine Learning, it provides recommendations in so you can optimize your traffic at the same time of getting the most ideal product from the most competitive seller. It’s a market network where buyers and sellers can meet, live and do business with each other in a fast yet efficient way.
The API is built from the ground up using the latest technologies in order to allow each and every customer to customize it and use it in any way they require.
An API with speed and performance as a top priority, leveraging our know-how gained over the years to produce the best-in-class API, highly performant, completely fault tolerant, and what’s more important, the most flexible API in the Travel Industry.
TravelgateX provides world-class APIs that connect buyers and sellers across the travel industry. For sellers, we provide access to the largest network of buyers instantly, saving you time and money. For buyers, you can drive more sales and respond to market changes quickly, all with a single integration.
The TravelgateX Platform is founded on 3 basic pillars:
Connect to the largest travel network with a single integration
✔ TravelgateX connects you with the largest network of buyers (100+) and sellers (600+) with a single integration.
✔ Built for scale — TravelgateX averages 9k searches per second resulting in €3Bn+ of bookings per year.
✔ Complete travel services available, from hotels and flights to car rentals, ferries, trains, transfers, and activities.
World-class technology with the most advanced travel APIs available
✔ TravelgateX is the world’s most advanced Travel Trade Platform and it’s APIs are always up to date, perform fast at scale, and is built on GraphQL for ultimate flexibility.
✔ Control your product and enhance your customer experience with plug-and-play Add-Ons like Stats, Insights, Mapping, Optimization, and anything you can think of by building custom HotelX Plugins (more on that in another post).
✔ TravelgateX has award-winning solutions, including being selected as EAN’s Rapid API very first Certified Partner.
Trusted by industry leaders and niche providers everywhere
✔ Trusted by industry leaders (EAN, British Airways Holidays, Ctrip), and niche providers alike.
✔ Our Customers are our Partners. We’ve built long-lasting relationships over our years of experience in the industry, based on our values of honesty, fairness, and responsiveness.
✔ TravelgateX grows with your business — we’re enterprise oriented and startup-ready, with plans that let you pay as you go.
Today is a very exciting day, we’re releasing what we believe is the future of the travel industry: TravelgateX is the Platform behind the world’s most advanced and disruptive GraphQL based Travel API. Over the next months, we will be releasing more APIs as soon as they become production ready. The first one, HotelX, is already live with a few select clients and beta testers.
Today we are releasing a very early version of the Platform, available at www.travelgatex.com. There’s also our developer center, where all the APIs are going to be documented. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, you can start trying them out now. If you’re a developer, please go to docs.travelgatex.com.
Also available is a Slack Channel, please feel free to join the conversation and tell us what you think!