When it comes to starting a travel business online, the easiest one would be to start a travel aggregator website and generate revenue through affiliate sales or contextual advertising. To capitalize on this lucrative business opportunity, let’s take a look at how to build one.
What is a Travel Aggregator Website?
A travel aggregator website is one that searches for deals across multiple websites and shows you the results in one place. For example, if you want to find a cheap flight from Dubai to New York City, you check American Airways or just head down to an aggregator website and check for hundreds of airlines at once to select the cheapest.
Best Travel Aggregator Website Examples
Here are some of the top aggregator websites.
Skyscanner always gives you the cheapest price on flights. An amazing feature of this website is that you can look at flights for an entire month to find which date is the cheapest. You can also search from ‘my location’ to ‘everywhere’ to see where you can fly inexpensively.
Adioso is a simple search engine that has nifty features than Skyscanner. From your current location, you can search for flights to somewhere warm” or “a budget city” or “a local festival” depending on your mood.
3. Google Flights
Google Flights is easy to use and comes with cool mapping features. It occasionally shows cheaper flights than Skyscanner or Adioso. So if you’re not happy with the deals, you can head to Google Flights to see if it offers you a better price.
How Do Travel Aggregator Websites Like Expedia Work and How do They Make Money?
Websites like Expedia collects and aggregates data from thousands of travel service providers. Then, they develop their own travel agency app and website for customers to compare travel options.
Most of these websites gain more than 70% of its revenue from hotel reservations. To achieve this, they simply buy a large number of hotel rooms at a discount and advertise it on their website.
For example, if Expedia wants to offer a 10-day vacation package to Thailand with all-inclusions for two people for $1,700. First, it will contact a hotel in Thailand and buy 100 rooms for $50 instead of the actual price of $90.
Next, Expedia will contact an airline and reserve 200 seats to Thailand for $600 (at a discounted price). Plus, it will also provide food for the entire trip which will cost somewhere around $250 for two people.
People who buy this package will be happy because they got a good deal for an all-inclusive package. Expedia is also happy because they actually paid $1,550 for the package and sold it for $1,700 to 100 couples.
Another source of revenue is commission.
For example, a hotel will offer 10 rooms to Expedia for online reservation. If the hotel offers $100/room to Expedia and if a guest books the room, Expedia will pay $75 to the hotel and withhold $25 as commission.
How Do Travel Aggregator Websites Like Expedia Source Their Inventory?
Note – GDS integration is only available for licensed travel agents that are ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) or BSP ( billing and settlement plan) accredited.
The history of GDS dates back to 1960s where a sophisticated method to keep track of flight schedules, availability and prices were needed.
However, some say that GDS can be expensive to access. Agencies use this as a last resort if they run out of inventory in a given city. If an agency directly buys rooms from a hotel, they can get 20-25% of profit, whereas with GDS it can go up to only 15%.
Building a Travel Aggregator Website
To build a travel aggregator website, you need the following:
- CMS that can act as a framework for your website
- Good front-end to match the aesthetics
- An engine to get data from APIs provided by other travel websites
Apart from these, you can also build the website from scratch or use readily available scripts. Let’s explore all the possible options.
1. Build From Scratch
The robustness of a web application will be at its best if its build from scratch. This method will give you more room to incorporate your ideas efficiently. The only downside of this method is hiring a travel website development company to create a solution from scratch is definitely going to cost you time and money. However, if you greatly value flexibility, you must take this route.
2. Build with WordPress
WordPress can be used to create any type of website. You can either install plugins available in the WordPress directory or create a custom plugin to give the website additional capabilities. When compared to building a website from scratch, the cost and development time is comparatively less. So in case of WordPress, all you need to build a functional travel website is a readymade theme or custom themes and plugin
3. Travel Engines
You can use web scripts or online booking engines to build a travel portal. These scripts will take care of all the key aspects of a travel website. Plus, these scripts also come with features such as booking engine, billing and invoicing system, module-based functions and more to fit your requirements.
4. Aggregating Data
Once you have built your travel aggregator website, you have to connect it with the data feeds. It will ensure access to travel data from hotels, flight companies, etc. Some of the popular ways of aggregating data are:
Leading travel search engines have affiliate programs where they give free access to their APIs. This will solve the common challenges in one shot – data aggregation and revenue generation. Some of the popular affiliate programs are:
WEB SCRAPPING SERVICES
Not every travel website will provide an API. Apart from that, the APIs you get may not have data fields that are necessary for your business. In such situations, you can get help from web crawling services that can be connected to your database to turn unstructured data into structured data. Building your own web crawling setup is not a viable solution, you can rely on service providers like ScrapeHero, Promptcloud, etc.
Start Crafting a Travel Aggregator Website
In recent years, as far as online businesses are concerned, travel is by far one of the most profitable niches. Millions of people are keen to explore the world owing to the ease of booking international flights, buses, hotels, car rentals and more.
Creating a travel aggregator website is not that complicated. It depends on what features you plan to offer, whether you want to include original content and a slew of other factors. But with the basics in this blog, you can set up a website that people will appreciate.
If you are ready to get started or have any questions, feel free to get in touch. No matter a simple or complex project, our team will help you in every step of the way.