OpenTravel Alliance

Defacto, Open Source Standards for the Travel Industry

The OpenTravel Alliance is a non-profit organization which develops open data transmission specifications for the electronic exchange of business information for the travel industry, including but not limited to the use of XML
Extensible Markup Language is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards....


OpenTravel provides the defacto (free, open source) standard for the travel and leisure industry. Our specification is used by suppliers, resellers, global distributors and integrators worldwide to meet customer and trading partner demands by easily XML-enabling web services and applications. Our frequent refinement of these standards allows our implementers to address their current and emerging business requirements while keeping pace with how XML is used in the global travel marketplace. Additionally, OpenTravel provides a community where companies in the electronic distribution supply chain work together to create an accepted structure for electronic messages, enabling suppliers and distributors to speak the same interoperability language, trading partner to trading partner. Due to the wide adoption of the specification, tens of thousands of OpenTravel message structures are in use, carrying tens of millions of messages between trading partners every day.

Members of the OpenTravel Alliance include airlines, hotel companies, car rental companies, cruise lines, railways, global distribution systems, distribution companies, solutions providers, software developers and consultants. For a current list of members, go to OpenTravel's web site.

Semantic Interoperability from the OpenTravel Lexis

The OpenTravel standard provides semantic interoperability that facilitates accurate data interpretation and processing between trading partners and applications. This is achieved through the “OpenTravel Lexis” that provides an unambiguous, vocabulary-based common information exchange model that ensures exchanged information is consistently understood by all parties—which may be business to business systems and/or internal enterprise applications.

The foundation of the OpenTravel Lexis is a collection of (best practice-based) pre-defined XML information facets (tag names) that are distinctly related to the travel & leisure segments and used in combination to represent key travel industry concepts. The modular design and structure of the OpenTravel specification—in combination with its OpenTravel Lexis foundation—naturally provides extension capabilities in both schema and XML objects. For example, implementers may include proprietary business logic at a schema message level (OpenTravel 1.0 Schema Messages) or at an object level (OpenTravel 2.0 XML Objects.)

OpenTravel maintains this robust vocabulary because XML by definition provides a data exchange format that doesn’t intrinsically reveal the meaning of its data payload. Accordingly, when two parties exchange information in an XML format, humans or computers can easily “read” the files, but correctly deducing the true meaning is not straight forward. Although humans are able to interpret semantics but computers do not have this capability. OpenTravel’s focus on our XML Vocabulary ensures that your XML schemas stay in line with both the existing and emerging vocabulary being spoken by the travel & leisure industry.

A key advantage of the OpenTravel’s Lexis as the specification foundation, is that the vocabulary itself is maintained by the OpenTravel community (including OpenTravel members and specification implementers). This means that the vocabulary stays relevant and is automatically incorporated into schema, XML objects, sample instances/ services and artifacts—providing developers with faster system design/ development and implementation cycles.

The OpenTravel Lexis is one component of the OpenTravel (open standard) Specification that also includes schema messages & XML object libraries; best practices for schema design, implementation & use; schema design & governance processes; and implementation tools. The OpenTravel Specification complies with globally used naming and XML design standards (such as W3C), ensuring peak backwards compatibility and long-term, consistent project implementations.


The OpenTravel 1.0 Schema Suite provides XML-based schema messages and supporting artifacts, including detailed documentation and sample implementation use cases/ sample instances.

Supported Segments

The OpenTravel Specification supports the following travel industry segments:
  • Air
  • Car Rental
  • Cruise
  • Customer Profiles
  • Day Tours & Activities
  • Dynamic Packages (air, car, hotel, extras)
  • Ground Transportation
  • Hotel & Hostel
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Packaged Tours
  • Rail

External links

Supported External Standards

OpenTravel schema design best practices support several other standards, including:
  • W3C
  • IATA
  • ISO
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