Following the need of leading travel companies to use common system interfaces and documentation, the Travel Technology Initiative was launched in 1989 to explore and establish new technology standards within the travel industry. Since its foundation the remit of TTI has been widened to include three primary objectives, namely to coordinate technology process projects, seen as beneficial to the travel industry and its members; to organize such events as forums, workshops and conferences, in addition to operating a web site and publishing a travel daily newsletter; and to coordinate its activities with some other relevant bodies.
The membership of the Travel Technology Initiative has grown to more than 150 members from ten countries across Europe and the United States. There are three types of membership available, including academic, associate and executive, each of these offering various types of benefits. Academic membership enables educational institutions to participate in TTI Standards activities for obtaining mutual benefits, while associate members take particular interest in what is happening in the travel technology.
Thus, organizations willing to keep pace with basic technological developments and discuss these issues with similar organizations, should consider associate membership offering excellent value. Executive membership is composed of organizations that promote and direct standards and commercial initiatives. It is the most beneficial for those interested in contributing directly to the work of the Project and Management Teams. All TTI members are invited to participate in the two conferences, held annually around April and October and addressed by outstanding guest speakers. The Travel Technology Initiative also publishes the newsletter Working Together, distributed free to its members.
TTI is managed by the Board of Directors, delegating day-to-day activities to the Management Committee. The latter is supported by the General Manager who is responsible for setting the business plan. Resourced by TTI member organizations are Project Teams, supported by the Technical Consultant and the Project Manager. The Travel Technology Initiative also maintains and publishes the Unicorn EDI messages, with more than 130 of them being currently in use by nearly 100 organizations throughout the travel industry.
In order to transfer booking information from the videotext system of tour operator to the local system of a travel agent, TTI has developed a message known as REScon and a standard format for the availability information.
Currently TTI is designing a variety of new projects, such as the development of an XML message standard for descriptive content transfer, including destination and hotel description; the extension of the TORIX message, designed to encompass non-packaged travel components; the development of a model for travel intermediary business processes; and standardization of geo-coding.
TTI also has an Alliance agreement with the Open Travel Alliance, which is represented on a number of OTA committees.