Approaching API partners

Hi all,

I often find that my app ideas require access to a specific third party, via a private API - think Booking .com or Expedia, for example. This requires discussion with their business partnership team, account managers, or similar to establish a relationship.

I found that there is a reluctance from such parties to work with start ups despite a good value proposition and little to no risk on their side.

I’m wondering how have you navigated this previously, or how would you approach this to maximize the chance of getting the green light?

Appreciate any insights!


Both Expedia and Booking have own public APIs, for other purposes you can use web scraping.

Thanks HappyBuilder, but this is not an option for a commercial, public app. Web scraping without prior consent is almost always against a platforms’ terms of use. (so would require a similar discussion seeking permission)

I used Booking and Expedia as examples, I’m not dealing with them now but I have in the past.

Why not? Google does that )

As for your question could you provide some example of why you would like to get to directly access some service’s database?

This allows one to build a microservice or full blown app based on someone else’s backend

Think about how often you check google. You are constantly getting access to others databases. There are too many cases to count as to why we’d want this.

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Two things I can tink of. Might be obvious but:

When you contact them, represent a company, not a freelancer, “startup” or such.

Contact the reseller/lisence partner in your country and not their global support.

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Well, if there’s been a demand for some connector, it’s already exposed via (paid or free) API. No demand - no exposing. Market economy.

Thanks all for your input. @HappyBuilder apologies perhaps my question was not clear:

  • Some platforms have APIs however access to these are given out on a case by case basis after reviewing a proposal.
  • My experience is that platforms are hesitant to work with new / unestablished products.
  • My question is how have people approached these situations previously to maximise their chances.
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Thanks @codecompany

I was thinking also that contacting one of their business development people directly via LinkedIn might be good to make a personal connection.

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Hi @robhblake , I would like to know if you were able to interact with Expedia or for their app.
I’m looking to develop something similar and was wondering if it’s possible?

Hi, no I didn’t take this project any further. In my experience to work with those big players you either need to have

  1. a well established product and business (in the travel space) with many active users, high engagement, etc; i.e. be able to prove your product will generate bookings / profitable utilisation of the API; or

  2. a well-funded startup with an experienced management/advisor team and will need to lay out a detailed business plan i.e. be able to prove you are serious and have the technical and business skills and financial resources to make this a success; or

  3. A connection in Expedia/Booking or other preexisting relationship that would predispose them to working with you.

Good luck

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