Tuesday, January 3, 2017

OTA - How do we proceed?

We think this is one topic that many people are not that much aware of. Most people feel that if you have a normal account with a supplier, you can go ahead and start building an OTA. This is not right.

Suppliers have 2 modes of connectivity. One is the conventional model which we term as the Blue screen. This is the approach where you type in your commands and you get the results in cryptic mode. This is usually offered as free to travel agents (in India at least). Agents who have this connection should contact their supplier GDS and ask for a Web Service or XML connectivity. The supplier will provide you with 2 agreements, one for the agent to sign and the other for the IT Development provider to sign. There could also be a sign up fees associated with this. (We have seen that this can be waived off depending on the relationship that the agent has with the supplier)

Once the paperwork is over you are provided with a Test credential to login to the Test server of the supplier, the documentations for the XML/Web Services and also your unique identity in the web world. Some suppliers also ask for your work flow details and also about the transaction volume you expect etc. The supplier needs this info to see whether they need to ramp up their side of the infrastructure etc.

You can now start working on the test server. The test server as the name indicates is a server holding test data and so the authenticity of the results may not be 100% and the speed of response may be a bit slow too. You can try out different commands etc with the test server for getting your work flow right and can take the assistance from the documents the supplier provided and also their IT team to complete your development. Normally it will take 2-3 months for a full- fledged GDS integration to be completed and if it is only limited functionality then it could be faster too.

Once you are ready with your work, you can contact the supplier and inform that you are ready to go live. The supplier will go through a process called as certification. This will involve going through your code to see if they can suggest better options, looking at your work flow diagrams, conducting a profiling of the application etc. once they are convinced they will allow you to go live and issue you with a login credentials to their live server. From then onwards you would be hitting their live server and you are fully live.

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