DealAngel, the site that lets you search for hotels and compare prices based on their historic and broader market value to ensure you really are getting a good deal, has launched a private beta of its API — essentially adding a B2B element to its otherwise consumer-facing offering. It’s a move that makes quite a bit of sense, too, potentially opening up DealAngel’s data to additional use-cases and giving the startup an alternative revenue stream. The API should go fully public by April, while Social trip planner Gogobot is the first to add such integration.
It also comes at a time when the San Francisco/Prague-based company is ramping up its European expansion: DealAngel is now able to apply its hotel pricing intelligence to hotels in the UK, Germany, and over two dozen “strategic” cities elsewhere in Europe such as Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, and Prague, in addition to major cities in Russia and Israel. It also targets much of North America.
DealAngel’s proposition is based on the idea that the cheapest offer for a hotel in a particular class or location may not be the best deal in terms of its true market value. Hotel prices online often claim to offer significant savings but very often mask the true value when compared to similar hotels and what you could normally expect to pay. The company tackles this problem with technology that looks at “millions” of data points across the Web to determine a hotel’s real market value, taking into account things like location, star-rating, comparable offers, and most crucially, how that hotel’s pricing has changed over time. In this respect it’s akin to how a stock broker tracks the stock market. Or, perhaps more accurately, given some of the dirty tricks employed by the travel industry, like playing a slot machine but with the slot machine’s maker standing over your shoulder giving you tips.
The newly-released API, which will be offered on a tiered pricing model based on usage, lets other sites build DealAngel’s technology into their own wares. It doesn’t, however, provide real-time pricing — it’s presumed that travel sites and other prospective users of the API will already have this type of data via their own suppliers — but focuses purely on the additional market intelligence aspect so that they can easily spot a good deal from a rip-off.
So, who might use the DealAngel API? The most obvious use-case is an Online Travel Agent (OTA) who could rank its real-time offers according to how good each deal really is, similar to DealAngel’s own consumer-facing site. Another example given by the company is a hotel wholesaler or a corporation negotiating special bulk rates for a particular hotel who could use the API to compare quotes. Likewise, says DealAngel, a daily deals site could use the API to check whether a 50% off “super deal” is actually that good before publishing it, helping to combat “deal fatigue”.
Interestingly, in some respects the new API sees DealAngel come full circle. It originally considered offering market intelligence to the hotel industry, before deciding that it would be better (and I suspect, more exciting) to offer a consumer play directly. That’s a tough and incredibly saturated market to crack, however, so a B2B bet of some sorts is almost certainly worth making.