About a month after launching an open API platform for its customers to expand their apps, SaaS startup TravelPerk launched a standalone API product for business travel to help the broader travel industry keep up-to-date information on travel restrictions and restrictions. Risks related to the Internet provide Covid19 pandemic.
The TravelSafe API is a monthly subscription product that allows travel providers to incorporate pandemic-related information about point-to-point restrictions between destinations during the booking process. The service pulls data from TravelPerk official sources and local government websites says is cross-referenced by its own account managers.
It also calculates the risk of traveling to a specific country based on real-time analysis of the epidemic reproduction rate (R0).
The API launch follows TravelPerk's acquisition of risk management startup Albatross in July, as the pandemic prompted the company to expand its travel risk management offerings.
Travel launches were, of course, among those hardest hit by the pandemic as the virus decimated demand for international travel and wiped out large swaths of the business travel market. While domestic stays seem to have offset some of the vacation demand crisis, business tips are still difficult – with numerous information workers zooming in on meetings from home.
TravelPerk's response to the COVID-19 demand shock has been to focus on product development. Today's launch of a subscription API seems like an attempt to find a business opportunity amid the travel crisis while offering a service that he hopes will support the entire industry to restart blocked demand.
The API was also developed out of necessity, with TravelPerk initially putting the service together for its own customers to give them the security they need to book.
Now access to the broader airline, travel agency and booking platform ecosystem is opened up as a standalone product available through a monthly subscription (no contract required).
“Access to TravelSafe does not depend on you being a TravelPerk customer. The TravelSafe API is a standalone product available to any company, ”confirms Avi Meir, CEO and Co-Founder. “We initially developed this technology for our own platform because we knew that our customers and travelers really needed accurate and up-to-date information in such an uncertain time. However, we quickly realized that the same need exists across the industry and that what we've built for ourselves can be really valuable across the travel industry. "
“Our goal is to become the most open platform for travel management. This is the first step in building a travel services ecosystem that will allow other travel companies and the industry to benefit from our technology investments, ”he adds.
According to Meir, TravelPerk expects the greatest demand from midsize travel management companies – given the "developer-friendly" nature of the product (he advertises ease and speed of integration as major draws) – and also because the content is "unique" to TravelSafe and updated in real time " . (However, when we ask about the element of risk assessment, it confirms that the information the TravelSafe API provides is "a summary of the best data and information available, rather than our subjective assessment.")
"This is critical given the current change in the travel industry," he adds.
Keeping the tour guide updated with a very volatile pandemic made difficult by the lack of access to data (and / or good quality data) on the spread of the virus in different regions is clearly a major challenge.
Still, Meir believes that technology can support an inherently uncertain situation with the help of tools that assemble and uncover the best information there is. (He also denies that there is tension in a travel company that offers travel risk assessment advice and argues that its incentives are focused on ensuring safe travel.)
"We cannot improve the quality or accuracy of the data available on Covid-19 worldwide, but we can make it much easier for travelers to access and understand the information available," says Meir. “Right now, travelers are struggling to find clear, digestible and accurate information about the rules that apply to them. People often have to read multiple articles and go to many different sources to understand what local guidelines apply, what the risk is, whether they will need to be quarantined on return, and so on.
“To address this issue, we have invested in the development of advanced information processing tools, automated daily updates of risk levels using R-rate calculations, and in-house tools to make it easier for our policy analysts to review and update this data. This way, even with so many changes and uncertainties, the TravelSafe API can provide safe, precise and accurate information. "
When asked about TravelPerk's API-based platform – after it launched last month – he describes the market reaction as "phenomenal". “Since our launch three weeks ago, 50 new partners have started building integrations, a full integration with Payhawk went live, and a number of other partners were close to completing their integration and preparing to do live on the platform go. He adds, "We're very pleased with the level of interest and ease with which our partners have used the API. "