Airport transfers are a vital part of today’s travel experience. Ground transportation cars, buses, or trains take travelers to and from airports and train stations to hotels or other places of stay.
Integration of ground transportation services enables travel companies, online travel agencies, hotels, and flight booking systems to solve the first/last mile problem for their customers. Ground transportation helps provide a complete door-to-door experience and gives travelers an opportunity to control every step of their journey right from their desktop or other device anytime, and anywhere. Travelers are able to pre-book flat-rate transfer services available at airports after completing their hotel or flight reservation.
For the most part, we’ll be talking about these ground transportation options:
- Bus shuttles from airports and railway stations
- Car and van transfers, including luxury vehicles
- Local train transportation
Transfer integration services are provided by the third-parties — travel technology companies that specialize in this type of booking. There are three common integration models for ground transfer functionality:
Let’s look deeper into how each one of them works.
White-label integration model
The white-label model allows you to integrate a ground transfer service module into your booking website using your own logo and corporate design. This model permits you to host the transfer booking system on your website to book a transfer online as an additional service. Search and booking of transfers can be done without leaving the travel company domain.
You will receive the revenue as a percentage commission on the sales of transfers from the transfer company. White label integration is easy to use and takes little time to set up. The technology support that is required to run travel services through your website is typically provided and supported by the partner company. You should keep in mind, though, that the use of design customization elements is limited by offered templates and layouts.
Plug-in integration model
The plug-in model provides the integration of ground transfer functionality using widgets. Travel technology companies offer the widget builder solutions that support customization so that a widget fits the brand of your flight engine, hotel, or OTA. This approach also provides a lot of additional customization parameters such as language and currency selection. You can define the destination, the airport, and design elements according to your demands. Widgets are easy to integrate and require little development effort. Sometimes, all you have to do is copy a widget code and insert it into your page HTML.
Unlike white-label solutions, widgets are normally limited and provide information search only without booking capabilities.
API integration model
Transfer APIs are a useful tool to integrate ground transfer functionality with your online travel agency, hotel, or flight booking system. It can be integrated with existing services, websites, and applications, or it can help with building custom websites. This model requires a substantial development effort but eventually, you will get a wide range of customization opportunities. For instance, you can make the transfer booking a part of a traveler’s flight/hotel booking flow. Your customer won’t have to re-enter information about the flight date, airport location, or hotel. They can simply choose the transfer option according to the information that was entered for tickets or accommodation booking.
Transfer APIs support a lot of user interaction options for travelers such as booking, editing, and cancellation of transfers. This includes arranging different types of transfers in one trip such as ferries, cars, minibusses, or trains. APIs are also usually connected to payment systems and can switch currencies for travelers.
There are a lot of travel technology companies that offer transfer APIs that support B2B, B2C, and B2B2C models for travel companies. The APIs offered by various companies have the following coverage differences:
- the number of ground transportation companies
- the number of countries
- the number of airports
- the number of cities
If you want to learn more about APIs used in the travel industry, check our informative article on the topic.
Each travel technology company also provides a different commission rate. Let’s have a look at travel technology companies that offer ground transfer services for the travel market.
Transfer aggregators and re-sellers
Intui.travel: GDS for transfers
United Kingdom based Intui.travel is a global distribution system (GDS) for searching and booking transfers in B2C and B2B. Intui.travel offers the algorithm of composing “transfers” for every segment of the travel market including airports, train stations, and hotels. The company claims that it provides only reliable licensed ground transfers in 145 countries from 4500 airports to any hotel or any address.
Intui.travel supports integrating transfers with dynamic packaging engines. And it also allows travelers to book transfers that automatically match booked air tickets and hotels.
The main Intui.travel advantage is the unique algorithm that operates with accurate addresses and GPS coordinates. This algorithm maintains relevant and up-to-date data exchange between destination airports and transfer providers.
The Intui.travel affiliate program provides two main options:
Intui.travel offers the following integration benefits:
- Convenient system of searching transfers by the name of a hotel, airport, or address
- The ability to choose a suitable car for your customers. For instance, travelers can order cars to move a typical luggage or book luxury cars if needed
- Order billing and accounting in the partner personal profile
Amadeus Transfers: transfer service from the major GDS
Amadeus is a major global distribution system that provides travel technology solutions for different travel industry segments including airlines, travel agencies, OTAs, travel management companies, hotels, ground handlers, transfer services, etc. Amadeus Transfers service provides coverage in 142 countries.
Amadeus supports transfer solutions in different formats to simplify the integration for travel agents and other companies selling flights and accommodation. The company suggests a commission-based transactional business model. In this model, transfer providers pay a commission rate of about 5 to 10 percent to the booking engine.
Amadeus transfers system operates using one of these three main models:
Plug & play white label. This solution is a helpful tool for fast integration. The white label HTML works on the basis of plug-and-play. The approach offers a lot of customization parameters that will fit into your existing website. It can also be easily integrated with a mobile app.
Web services (classic and mobile). This is the API integration way. It will be the best choice for you if you want to build your own front-end interface.
Amadeus front-end solutions & self-booking tools. This is the way of booking transfer services on Amadeus Selling Platform and its other self-booking tools. Here, traveler’s details and dates are extracted from an existing booking system to the transfer booking tool.
Amadeus is one of the largest players in the travel technology market. While its transfer service has not been around that long, we recommend considering it among the first companies to contact.
Mozio: worldwide transfer booking provider
Mozio is focused on connecting customers, local companies, and global travel brands to facilitate getting to and from airports. It covers more than 2000 airports around the world including the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Mozio also has a commission-based model that will earn you 5–10 percent per booking.
Mozio offers three main integration options:
White label. Mozio white label provides customers with the ability to search and book transfers without leaving your website. It’s quick and customizable.
Plug-in. The branded widget is easy to integrate into any interface. Mozio offers the Widget Builder with which you can create the widget that fits your company’s website.
API. Mozio offers an API that includes about 100 ground transportation providers around the world. The RESTful API works with dynamic websites and is available in the JSON format.
One of the main benefits of Mozio is a wide variety of transfer vehicle options. Not only do they include conventional cars and SUVs, you can source trains, suttles, buses, taxis, and local drivers.
World AirportTransfer: wide coverage with over 700 airports
World AirportTransfer is a company that has specialized in airport transfers since 1997. It provides transfers to over 700 airports in more than 190 countries with over than 90,000 hotels supported. AirportTransfers selects only local suppliers that meet a set of quality standards.
AirportTransfer provides an automated search interface that guides a user through the whole procedure. It allows travelers to select transfer options, ranging from the cheapest to the most luxurious transfers. It also provides a cancellation grace period during which travelers can manage and cancel their transfers.
World AirportTransfer offers two main options for ground transfer integration:
White label. AirportTransfer white-label solution is an online version of their website available for integration using HTML elements. It can be quickly installed without any development effort.
JSON API. On top of that, AirportTransfer provides a JSON service API that can be used to build a custom website and a mobile application, or it can be integrated with your existing website. The company also provides full documentation and technical support.
Trawex: transfers by a travel technology provider
Trawex is a travel technology company that provides a wide range of travel solutions for more than 70 suppliers across flights, hotels, car, and ground services. You can integrate your travel website with the Trawex transfer service using their APIs. Trawex transfers coverage encompasses over 2000 cities in more than 60 countries.
Trawex transfer API supports both B2B and B2C markets and is suitable for OTAs, tour operators, corporates, and travel management companies. It offers all types of ground transport including private van service, sedan service, group shuttle transportation, and limousine. The API is built on scalable Open System architecture based on the RESTful API format with JSON or XML responses available. The company also provides high quality support that includes a dedicated account manager and an engineering support team.
Talixo: transfers with the corporate travel focus
Talixo is a transfer booking company that focuses on business travel, while also providing standard transfer booking for regular users. The company boasts that it supplies Fortune 500 clients and cover about 700 cities worldwide with limousine and taxi services.
Talixo suggests four main ways of integrating their product:
- White label
- Widgets (supporting direct booking from them)
- API for mobile
As you see, there are a lot of travel technology companies that provide effective solutions to integrate the ground transfer functionality with your hotel and flight booking systems. These technologies enable travel brands to gain customer loyalty and effectively monetize the last steps of every trip. As a flight or hotel booking provider, you can explore which one of the existing providers will fit your needs best. By getting acquainted with an affiliate program of a travel technology service you can choose the one that covers needed countries, airports, and cities best.
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Originally published at AltexSoft’s blog: “How to Integrate Airport Transfer and Shuttle Functionality with Hotel and Flight Booking Systems”