Lufthansa backs open innovation and allows the sale of plane tickets through third-party digital channels
- The Lufthansa Open API has been the basis of a large number of travel services for some time already
- With the access to ticket sales, the programming interface developer.lufthansa.com will now also become commercially relevant
Everyone who has ever planned a trip to a concert has experienced the following situation: you buy a concert ticket online – and then the search for suitable flights, trains or hotels continues on other websites. That could now be a thing of the past. Because online event agents that want to spare their clients unnecessary effort will now be able to offer suitable Lufthansa flights directly from their websites or apps in combination with the event tickets.
This is made possible by the Lufthansa Open API (API = Application Programming Interface), through which the Lufthansa Group makes standardized data available to developers in a controlled manner. As the year begins, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub and the IT team of Lufthansa around CIO Dr. Roland Schütz are setting a milestone: Lufthansa is opening the Open API for direct ticket sales. From now on, developers will be able to use the interface to integrate direct booking links for offers from Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines into their web- and app-based offers. They will be able to increase the appeal of their services by incorporating Lufthansa products and will also receive compensation for the prominent display of Lufthansa products on their websites whenever the API integration generates bookings on lufthansa.com.
With Open API, the Lufthansa Group is implementing a strategy of open innovation with the purpose of securing access to untapped online marketplaces and expanding ticket sales in future. Lufthansa is the first airline to upgrade the Open API to a fully-fledged sales channel.
Heike Birlenbach, Senior Vice President Sales Lufthansa Hub Airlines and Chief Commercial Officer Hub Frankfurt, describes the strategy as follows: “With the introduction of the ability to book via the Lufthansa Open API, we are taking the increasing importance of digital sales platforms into account. More than ever before, today’s travellers expect a user experience from their preferred apps and websites that is as simple as possible. The opportunity to seamlessly integrate booking for flights with Lufthansa, Eurowings and Austrian Airlines through the Open API adds an additional channel to the sales and distribution portfolio of the Lufthansa Group. In the end, the customers, the platform providers and the Lufthansa Group will all benefit equally.”
The developers of the previously mentioned online ticketing platform will be able to use the Open API to link their event calendars with the booking information of the Lufthansa Group airlines and offer their customers package deals – concert tickets and flights included. Combining a reason for travel with flight booking is one of many new digital solutions made possible by the Lufthansa Open API. Other conceivable solutions include booking platforms that correlate weather information with flight information and only recommend destinations for short trips where good weather has been predicted. It becomes possible to smoothly integrate flight offers for different needs and contexts into third-party channels. Which solutions will be created, depends on what the developers’ want to experiment with. Anything is possible, provided it is legally permissible.
“From now on, thousands of developers will be able to offer direct access to Lufthansa’s flight booking system. They can increase the appeal of their web- and app-based offers with Lufthansa products and will also receive compensation if the integrated offer leads to bookings on lufthansa.com. We hope to see a boost in these new channels and are looking forward to seeing which creative and innovative solutions will emerge,” says Reinhard Lanegger, Senior Venture Development Manager at the Lufthansa Innovation Hub and head of the Lufthansa Open API project.
The Lufthansa Open API already recorded a significant increase in users in 2016: over 1,100 developers from 113 different countries registered in order to be able to combine their products with information from the Lufthansa world. For example, “Mildred”, the recently launched Lufthansa chatbot, responds to flight-related questions with information that she obtains through the Open API amongst other sources. Third-party services like “Flightstats” and “FlightAware” also access data from the API to provide travellers with real-time information on the status of Lufthansa flights. Last year, the platform already recorded over 118 million hits. Lanegger adds that the addition of booking capability this year will likely lead to a considerable increase.
About Lufthansa Innovation Hub:
The Lufthansa Innovation Hub, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group based in Berlin, connects the world’s largest aviation group with relevant participants in the global tech eco-systems and develops customer-focused solutions for tomorrow’s travellers.
In this role, the unit sets up strategic partnerships between the airlines of the Lufthansa Group and relevant digital companies. The Lufthansa Innovation Hub also develops innovative products and services that are implemented in the group or positioned on the market as independent companies that address the needs of all travellers. The company prioritizes an uncompromising focus on customer needs, along with entrepreneurial validation of business models and a close cooperation with serial entrepreneurs, investors and existing start-ups.
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