What are open APIs and why do you need them?
The term API is used by all technology suppliers in the hospitality sector and by all professionals who offer IT tourism services. But it often happens that hoteliers, sometimes even the owners and managers of the structures, do not know what this abbreviation refers to.
Technology has now become fundamental in the modern hospitality sector. The largest companies on the market are all digital-based: OTA, Metasearch and even payment processing.
What are APIs?
APIs, or Application Program Interfaces, are a set of functions and procedures that allow access to the characteristics or data of an operating system, application or other services. In essence, they are the backbone of any digital program network. In our sector, they are the way we connect the various software, applications and hospitality programs that keep our hotel activities running daily. For this reason, it is essential to consider how the connection will work when choosing the program to be used in your structure.
Simply put, Application Program Interfaces is a means of communicating between systems. To give some examples, the weather app that receives information from a station connected simultaneously or the large OTA that sends booking information to your channel manager.
Closed or open APIs?
Even in the hotel industry, API can be closed or open. Closed means that the owner company requests payment for the release of the documentation (for example some big PMS or GDS). In recent times, however, many companies are starting to offer open API. This means that developers can freely access it in order to connect systems, collect more information and create an optimized experience for users and customers. In our market, many OTAs, Channel Managers and several of the world’s most powerful technology companies have open and easily accessible APIs.
API and hospitality
Let’s take an example. If you are a hotel in the historic center of Verona, you will need a PMS, a channel manager, a housekeeping program, software for optimizing revenue and maybe more. The essential thing is that all these different systems must communicate with each other, even if each is written with a different code.
And this is where open APIs come in handy. An open API means that the part that communicates to the outside has been developed in a standard way. This allows for very simple integration with other programs.
Going back to our example, a hotel or accommodation needs tools with a clear and uninterrupted API level, so that communication and synchronization between them take place efficiently. This will mean that less time and money will be needed to connect systems and maintain them. In addition to this, you will avoid bugs and unexpected outages.
Finally, good API-level integration will help you provide a better experience for your guests. Having well-connected systems will facilitate the work of your staff, who will have more time to dedicate to guests.