Clearly, the boom of hotel technology industry might be witnessed. During first two quarters of 2016, hotel booking and technology startups raised about $550 million USD (Source: Skift). What does it mean for hotels? The answer is pretty simple – there will be a ton of new technology hotels could implement (in case they would like it). However, with the increase of possibilities that help solve additional problem, another problem arises – what about integration?
There is already a lot of hotel software in place – property management systems (PMS), booking engines, channel managers, mobile apps, accounting, et cetera. Unfortunatelly, somebody has to operate these systems. And very often, somebody has to operate more than one or two of them. And it might be indeed overwhelming to operate these systems separately. Moreover, many times, hotel employees have to do the same job several times and this necessity affects their productivity. Last but not least, the mistakes (like incorrect room rates) might arise. In these situations, integration via API sounds like a gift from God.
What is API and how it can help?
API (or Application Program Interface) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface components (Source: Webopedia). Simply put, API gives you ability to incorporate features of your software with another hotel software and thus, some of the activities might be automated.
Let me share an example using RoomAssistant. During the check-in, a receptionist has to register the guest in PMS system and afterwards she has to register the guest in our administration in order to generate the activation key to the administration. By connecting RoomAssistant with hotel PMS system, activation key could be generated automatically once the receptionist registers guest in PMS. This is just one of easy-to-digest examples.
It is obvious that integration saves time of your employees, makes it easy to operate more systems from one interface and avoids mistakes in the process. So why wouldn’t you connect?
Integrate or die!
Based on my personal experience, I assume that hotel software companies that will not be compatible or able to connect with other hotel systems will not stay on the market for too long. The possibility to integrate is indeed one of the most important decision factors for hotel managers. They understand that having several independent software tools might be cumbersome for their employees. In some cases, even guest experience could be hurt.
This is why your company should focus on building API rather than those cutting-edge features you have on your mind. Remember, first, you need to acquire a client, then you can extend the solution. If you cannot acquire a client because of missing possibility of integration, you will not get a chance to show your spectacular features later on.
Have somebody of you experienced the problem during sales process because of missing API? Were you able to close the deal anyway? What made you overcome this obstacle during your sales proces? Share your thoughts and tricks in comments.