We are happy to announce that Regiondo is now officially recognized as an OCTO Founding Member!
Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions (or OCTO as it is known) was founded in 2019 as a non-profit organization by a consortium of booking and ticketing system providers, distributors, operators, attractions, and other companies.
Based on open source technology, OCTO’s mission is to develop and promote the adoption of standardized technology and software specifications across the industry.
How do the OCTO API specifications help our industry?
OCTO aims to simplify connectivity by seamlessly integrating multiple systems for the tours, activities, attractions and experiences industry.
Instead of a tour operator or activity provider having to invest in bespoke technology development for each API connection, standardization significantly reduces costs while providing a seamless customer journey to the clients.
You can think of an API (or Application Programming Interface) as a tour guide at a local attraction. Just as a tour guide provides information and connects the various parts of the attraction to its audience, an API provides a technical entry point to connect and access the software application.
Without the standardized OCTO API specifications, technology companies in our industry would develop multiple APIs based on individual specifications and customized for a specific connection.
Technology improvements continue to gain momentum
Tourism as a whole has historically lagged behind other industries in terms of technology investment.
Due to their size, many small tour operators and activity providers don’t have technology specialists on staff and lack the resources to build integrations with external tech partners. Larger suppliers, on the other hand, have focused on delivering custom integrations to enhance and differentiate their offerings – leveraging larger budgets and in-house specialists.
Over the past decade, however, the situation has begun to change.
The rise of online travel agencies (OTAs) and other digital platforms has accelerated the pace of innovation, and travel and activity providers have invested in new technologies to keep pace with the market.
The challenges of collaboration and interoperability
Typically, a company would develop its own technical protocol for receiving and exchanging information, which meant that every time one organization wanted to interface with another, it would have to create a custom connection to that new partner.
With so many providers, it has been difficult for technology partners to integrate their systems and ensure that data is exchanged properly and that the customer experience is frictionless.
We must also consider that the tour and activity sector is highly fragmented, with many different providers offering a wide range of experiences. This fragmentation has made it difficult to create a unified system that works seamlessly across multiple providers and experiences.
Part of OCTO’s role is to foster a culture of cooperation and openness to discuss these complex issues. Ultimately, the main goal of developing common standards is to build partnerships and collaborate effectively.
OCTO Specification: One API Standard Across the Board
So OCTO decided to address the connectivity challenges by collaboratively developing an industry-standard API specification. The association provides an open source specification (the OCTO Spec) that allows booking systems suppliers to connect their software to OTAs and other resellers.
Rather than each company developing its own API and requiring custom integrations, a standardized API specification allows operators to connect with suppliers much more quickly.
Legacy Tech that Needs to be Updated
To overcome these challenges, the industry needs to establish common connectivity standards and protocols that enable seamless communication between systems and technologies, much like ensuring that the pieces of a puzzle fit together.
According to Phocuswright and their study The Outlook for Travel Experiences 2019-2025, more than seven out of 10 operators reported using the downtime of the pandemic to make significant investments in their websites, digital marketing, and software.
So while the COVID pandemic had a huge impact on business, it also provided an opportunity to look internally at how companies operate and how to improve efficiency through better integration and connectivity.
OCTO – An Open API Standard that Removes the Barriers to Collaboration
OCTO is independent, not affiliated with any company or group of companies. The organization is run and managed by a group of volunteers with no commercial bias or ties to any company in the industry.
Part of OCTO’s success is due to its ability to get everyone in the same room to educate the industry and start having some of the hard conversations about how to address the connectivity pain points.
OCTO aims to create a unified platform to facilitate communication and data exchange between various stakeholders, including tour operators, travel agencies, distribution channels and technology providers.
Regiondo wants to use its position as a founding member of OCTO to work towards improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the industry by promoting the use of the open API specification, which will make it easier for technology partners to communicate with each other using a common language.
By adopting the OCTO specifications as our chosen API for connecting to our partners, we can help minimize inefficiencies and errors, and make integration easier.
Having a technical standard significantly reduces the cost and time required to build additional integrations in the future. This means that the focus and allocation of partner resources can be on innovation and improving the end-user experience, rather than custom connections.
Ultimately, OCTO makes it easier (and less expensive!) for buyers and sellers to do business together.
Use Regiondo to build better relationships
Overall, OCTO is an important development for the travel industry industry as it has the potential to revolutionize the way companies operate and interact with each other.
The standardization of connectivity will allow our industry to distribute its products much more effectively, fueling growth in the tours and activities segment.
At Regiondo, we want to provide the best experience for tour operators and activity providers. For this reason, being a founding member of OCTO is an important milestone for us.
Throughout the years, we have developed the most efficient APIs to connect with resellers and OTAs, giving our customers a powerful channel manager built into our booking system. Leading the way to a more connected future is the logical next step to grow even further.
Would you like to grow your distribution network, promote your offers on a larger scale and experience the best-in-class connectivity experience? Book a demo with us to learn how your business can take advantage of the OCTO API integration.