Think of your last great trip. What made it great? Was it more than just the flight, hotel or diner? Of course it was. A great travel experience happens when you are in a great place, spending time with great people, and getting great products and services from your chosen vendors in the travel/hospitality industries.

Now, how will you plan and prepare for your next great trip? OpenTravel Alliance just announced two projects where technical and industry experts will work together to help make sure you have the information and services needed to make those plans.

These people are working together in a collaborative, open environment to make the information available to you to book your plane, train or automobile as well as your hotel, guest house or vacation rental and even a tee time, diner reservation or white water experience.

Why would vendors come together like this? Because OpenTravel’s new approach to using XML (Extensible Markup Language) for exchanging information not only helps them to reduce the cost of producing better information, it also helps them to expand their reach to new partners and consumers.

XML has been around since 1998 and OpenTravel has been producing XML based standards since 1999—so how can a new approach really reduce the cost and improve the quality of information exchange?  The OpenTravel 2.0 XML style guidelines build on and leverage the advances in XML technology over the last 15 years. The OpenTravel 2.0 Tooling Project will focus on making two groups more productive:  industry experts who model what information is to be exchanged, and the application developers who build the systems where great vacations are planned and purchased.

Since its inception, the OpenTravel 2.0 project has focused on reevaluating the 10+ year old habits and practices for XML technology, identifying gaps that complicate the developers’ jobs today. Filling some of those gaps was simple, like assuring that all the types and elements have a proper identity so they can be implemented and managed efficiently. Others were a more complicated, such as providing substitution groups that give applications the flexibility to anticipate various representations of an object such as an address as a block of text, versus a structured data record with street, city, state and zip code. Taken together, the changes provided by the OpenTravel 2.0 style guide make it much easier to develop fully functional, flexible and robust travel applications.

The OpenTravel 2.0 Model Build Project is designed to make sure all this new technology actually helps you, the traveler, find better travel options. This project will leverage OpenTravel’s 14 years of experience to create information models you need to book that plane, train, car, hotel, and tee time.  These models will blend the benefits of the new technology with experience to simplify, demystify and democratize the information you use to plan that next great travel experience.