Integration is a hot button topic in the hospitality world. New systems and opportunities appear each day, while longstanding PMS and CRS providers work furiously to integrate with the latest additions to the hospitality technology landscape. The situation can be frustrating for both the hotelier and the PMS provider. However, everyone has the same goal to ensure that hotel and resort systems communicate effectively. Let’s dispel these five common myths about PMS and integration.
1- PMS providers don’t want to integrate
Most PMS providers recognize and embrace their role as the nucleus of the technology ecosystem for hotels and resorts. By integrating with third-party system providers, they seek to enhance and cement that role, encouraging their customers to build onto the central data repository that they provide. For most PMS providers, integration is part of their strategic vision and growth as a company, as well as a core tenant of their customer success program. They absolutely want to offer deep integration with as many systems as possible.
2- PMS providers don’t offer open APIs
API stands for Application Program Interface and is the method used by software developers to communicate within and between systems. APIs can be private or open. A private API is only used internally to facilitate communications within a particular software system. An open API is one that is publicly available and provides developers with the information and requirements they need to create interfaces between two systems. Almost all PMS companies, including SMS, offer an open API so that other systems can interface. However, in most cases offering an open API is not the same as providing unfettered integration. Integrations need to be monitored and certified due to a range of security, stability and management challenges that are inherent with hospitality technology.
3- Data scraping is a fine substitute for an interface
There are many existing systems that claim they interface with a PMS when, in reality, they simply extract data at regular intervals. While in some cases this type of one-sided data collection can be effective, there are a few issues that should concern any hotel IT manager. First, these connections may impair system performance, causing unexpected slowdowns. When the data extract occurs in the evening, it may impact the night audit procedure while a day time process can negatively affect users and their guest service delivery. Because there is no officially licensed interface, your PMS support department may be unaware of the data extract procedure and unable to advise if it is causing problems. When a certified interface is available, it offers greater support, stability and benefits than an unregulated practice.
4- Interfaces with similar 3rd party systems are all the same
It is true that system integration has improved dramatically over the past 15 years. Organizations such as HTNG and OTA have promoted the use of standard messaging protocols, improved communication between vendors and kick-started the movement away from data silos towards today’s hyper-connected systems. However, the hospitality technology ecosystem still consists of a wide range of technologies, programming languages and databases. To ensure that systems consistently and accurately pass the correct information, both providers need to extensively test and verify all new interfaces. While this process adds time and complexity to even a basic integration, it is an investment well made.
5- Property Management Systems don’t offer the integration I need
Your PMS is probably already interfaced to 100’s of different systems. Your best bet in selecting any new add-on systems for your property is to choose one that is already certified with your PMS, an approach that will save you considerable time and money. Whenever you are considering adding new automation or changing providers, a great place to begin is the Interface Library document provided by your PMS. This guide is an encyclopedic listing of every currently available supported interface and you can use it to guide your research process. Additional great resources include your Account Manager as well as other clients on the same PMS. Customer communities and users’ groups often facilitate helpful conversations about integration.
This is a really exciting time in hospitality technology. Many new systems and applications are coming on to the market, promising to address operational and functional gaps while creating new opportunities to enhance guest service and increase revenue at every turn. These new systems join the hundreds of existing hospitality systems that make up the ever expanding ecosystem of every hotel. Contact us to learn more about Springer-Miller’s extensive integrations and partnerships.