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Announcing Open Finance, a New OpenAPI Special Interest Group

By Blog

OpenAPI has formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) for the purpose of identifying the API use cases and behaviors to empower Open Finance solutions in the near future.

Open Finance is the evolution of Open Banking, a relatively new innovation in the field of financial technology. This has been largely spurred by laws and regulations centered around customer data and transactions respectively in the UK and EU in 2016 and 2018-19. Other markets the world over are also beginning to develop solutions based on Open Finance… or at least have started following the developments closely.

With all this in mind, the OpenAPI Initiative (OAI) has created an SIG to support the adoption of APIs and help grow the digital infrastructure for this next evolution of banking and finance. The initial focus will be on serving financial organizations and their customers within the EU and European Economic Area as they rapidly develop solutions to comply with Payment Services Directive 2. As solutions are developed for Europe, they will become immediately applicable to other markets.

The OAI has named Refael Botbol Weiss (LinkedIn/Github) as the POC for the group. Email him at for information and inquiries about joining.

The initial steps will be to form a forum of experts in the world of development and finance to discuss the issues surrounding open finance implementation as well as the API behaviors necessary to facilitate Open Finance solutions. Additionally, the primary use cases of Open Finance technology will be discussed, which may include banks, credit unions, insurance companies, credit bureaus, real estate groups, financial planners, and/or others.

Participation in this SIG will be open to any member of the OAI. To sign up for the OAI, visit here.

For updates and more information about getting involved, click here.

A Good Travel Experience Begins with One Single Booking Portal – How Open APIs Are Leading the Way

By Blog

For more information on the OpenAPI Initiative and #sig-travel, join the conversation on Slack.

Today’s traveler is increasingly shopping for an experience, not just a seat on a plane or bed in a hotel. In fact, the travel experience begins from the booking environment itself where consumers expect a single portal to connect across travel providers and travel retailers. People are looking for the convenience and value of the delivery and ride sharing apps that they use in their day-to-day lives and want that applied to the travel experience.

The reason the travel industry has lagged behind modern expectations is because it has lagged behind the latest technological trends. It’s that simple.

Creating an End-to-End Journey is Hard

The process and protocols largely used today between providers have their base in travel standards agreed to in the 1960s and modified over time. Initially created to address airline interlining, allowing a single ticket to include flights on multiple air carriers, they have been pressed into service across the travel verticals.

As time has gone on the once workable solution has begun to show its limitations. There are multiple efforts in the industry to break with the past and pursue an approach where a travel offer may be handled much like any other retail offering in the digital space.

Travel, however, has some unique needs as products are transient (an empty seat is worthless after departure time) and in most cases specific to location (airplanes must land at an airport). Also, in most cases a travel product must be combined with another travel product to satisfy a request to create a trip.

Creating an end-to-end journey implies a combined offer from multiple offers proposed and/or serviced by multiple providers. This adds a level of complexity, maintaining relationships between offers, other retail categories avoid.

Key Takeaway: Focusing on the experience as a new approach to travel retail requires a new level of interoperability among participants in the travel market.

Addressing Interoperability Will Open Up Broad Opportunities

Solving the issues to support experience based, total trip, retail at scale could unlock massive economic opportunities for many of the current distribution channels operating today or create new ones. Mainstream distribution channels focus mainly on air which in the US had a total operating revenue of $120[1] billion. However, the total US travel revenue for 2019 was $1.1[2] trillion.

Much of that figure is consumers figuring out for themselves how to make arrangements, a huge, missed opportunity to leverage automation. To build the experiences people are looking for, outside of immediate travel and lodging portals like Expedia, consumers are bouncing between websites and calendars to find restaurants, museum passes and jet ski rentals.

The reason we aren’t seeing a wider variety of offerings is not hard to understand: For the mainline distributors it’s not worth the effort to connect, maintain and monitor small suppliers thru bespoke APIs.

By unlocking interoperability, providers of travel products and services would have access to channels they are currently shut out of due to costs and complexity. The public is eager to get out of the house and experience the world again but would like to avoid the odious task of DIY travel orchestration and management. They want experience led retailing which industries like hospitality are investing in but only at the property level, not at the full trip level.

The travel industry cannot afford to allow API chaos to continue to be a barrier to more effective retailing.

Getting Alignment on the Solution is Critical

In response, the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) and the OpenAPI Initiative (OAI) will work together to focus on API conventions and standards, not just messages. Within OAI, there is now a special interest group to focus on travel issues (#sig-travel).

The Travel SIG will be the conduit for the needs of the travel industry that pertain to the Open API Specification (OAS). The OAS is a broad specification intended to help developers solve real world business issues with as much flexibility as possible.

What is needed for interoperability and to reduce API chaos and hence distribution costs in travel is more consistency in API behaviors. OpenTravel will take the lead on providing open-source tooling and publishing reference architectures with refence implementations that adhere to the OAS. OTA 2.0 with its model driven approach will form the basis of this more comprehensive approach that supports all travel verticals. This will be in cooperation with existing travel standards bodies and trade associations.

The overriding goal will be to lower the cost of connectivity to publish, acquire, distribute, and market digital travel products.

What Can I do?

Join the conversation and help build a more modern and seamless travel industry! For more information on the OpenAPI Initiative and #sig-travel, join the conversation on Slack.

For more information on OTA 2.0, including becoming an Open Travel member, go to or contact Jeff ErnstFriedman at

[1] Source: Phocuswright White Paper, Air Sales and the Travel Agency Distribution Channel April 2019

[2] Source: U.S. TRAVEL AND TOURISM OVERVIEW (2019), US Travel Association.

Announcing the New OpenAPI Initiative Special Interest Group for Travel

By Announcement, Blog

Join OpenTravel and the OpenAPI Initiative Travel Workgroup on July 22, 2020, as we bring the focus to the European traveller. Click here to get the Zoom invite. To get all the latest updates and announcements, please click here and sign up for regular updates!

The travel industry relies on APIs. Connecting business among diverse industries like travel, tourism and hospitality, and representing an incredible array of companies that need to efficiently communicate and relay electronic information includes airlines, car rental firms, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, technology companies and many more. 

With this in mind, the OpenAPI Initiative is creating a Travel Special Interest Group (SIG) to support the adoption of APIs and facilitate the digital transformation throughout the travel industry. 

The OpenAPI TravelSIG mission is to “enable and nurture the growth of API adoption, development and developers throughout the travel vertical through promotion of the OpenAPI Initiative.” It will meet as needed to discuss common challenges and solutions with the travel space as well as provide a single, unified voice in coordinating with the OAI’s technical steering committee as well as form on an ad hoc basis by request from the TSC, TOB or the BGB as requested by any of those bodies.

The Travel SIG will designate a point of contact to communicate with the governing board and other bodies within OpenAPI as needed.

Participation in the Travel SIG will be open to any member of the OAI. Participation from non-members – we like to say “soon-to-be members!” –  will be allowed on a case-by-case basis to provide relevant subject matter expertise and help serve as an outreach opportunity to bring on new members and adopters for OpenAPI Initiative.

Please join the Travel SIG! Click here to get the Zoom invite for the next meeting on July 22, 2020, and here and sign up for regular updates!