Viator has announced the launch of its “Direct Connect” web service. This web service is designed to deliver the benefits of real-time inventory access that are viewed as standard in the air, hotel and car markets, but do not exist today in the add-ons space.
Release 1.0 of the web service, which covers basic availability request and booking confirmation functions, goes into production later this month for booking confirmations between Viator and one of its Hawaiian suppliers, Mary Charles & Associates (MC&A). MC&A uses reservations software from Hawaii-based software developer ATCO Systems, one of eight software companies and travel suppliers to collaborate on the project.
Discussing the initiative, ATCO President Tom Blankley said “We expect most of our supplier customers to quickly adopt the Direct Connect model. It delivers immediate cost benefits by fully automating the booking process, and allows suppliers to make more of their inventory available for sale right up to the day of travel. This sector has been crying out for some direction on connectivity, and this initiative certainly delivers it.”
Discussing technical aspects of the initiative, Viator CTO Jordan Digby said the web service follows OTA guidelines carefully, and that the company has proposed Release 1.0 as the basis for a more comprehensive, OTA-supported standard for the entire industry. “By sticking closely to established OTA guidelines and only including very basic functionality in this first release, we’re confident we can capture the interest of other OTA members,” said Digby. “Already we’ve been overwhelmed by support from our own suppliers, many of whom are focused on streamlining their operations and see this as a logical step in that direction,” he said.
Viator CEO Rod Cuthbert said the company is keen for other distributors and resellers of add-on travel products to adopt the web service as an emerging standard. “Whether a reseller is web-based or a traditional wholesaler selling through off-line channels, the opportunity exists to increase efficiencies and reduce costs on both sides of the transaction. We’re inviting add-on suppliers, online and offline wholesalers and any other party that process high volumes of add-on bookings to get involved; it’s a long overdue initiative for this sector and there is no time like the present to get started,” he said.