In the world of hospitality technology, there are few words that cause as much stress as “integrations.” However, with web-deployed software starting to dominate the field, integration is happening more and more through web Application Programing Interfaces (APIs). APIs allow web software solutions to send information to each other, offering an unprecedented level of control with relative ease. Unfortunately, the adoption of APIs in the hospitality industry currently lacks transparency and has been done in an ad-hoc, messy and convoluted manner. Cross-industry software companies, such as Salesforce, Google and Facebook have adopted APIs with great success. HTNG intends to build on these best practices for the hospitality industry.
The Missing Solution
Unlike other industries, APIs for hospitality are not easily discoverable, which makes integration between partners difficult and projects pricier and drawn out. When an API is available, vendors often provide limited documentation. Understanding the details of an API generally requires holding calls between partners and delaying the process. Many times, it may not even be clear who to call. The first step to eliminating friction is to make APIs and integrations discoverable.
HTNG launched the API Registry Workgroup in June of 2017 to streamline how hospitality business systems communicate with each other and to make them more efficient and less complex.
“The hospitality industry, despite its best intentions to provide the ultimate guest experience, makes it really difficult for various technology solutions to work with each other, leading to a clumsy experience,” said Martin Zam, CIO of Impulsify and co-chair of HTNG’s API Registry Workgroup. “By updating how systems integrate with each other, hotels will be able to operate with greater efficiency and please guests in ways that aren’t possible today.”
The Lifecycle of Hospitality’s First API Registry
The API Registry seeks to be a curated repository for products of hospitality vendors, listing companies and products, allowing each product to indicate the APIs offered. Listings provide details about integration capabilities, data available, links to documentation and contact information.
In the fall of 2017, the API Registry was designed by HTNG workgroup members and developed in partnership with ALICE. The registry launched its alpha phase as a working prototype in December 2017 to populate initial listings and allow companies to test and provide feedback. The registry focused on four pieces of data: Companies, Products, APIs and Integrations.
In the alpha phase, 30+ active contributors collected 135 products and 55 APIs from more than 175 companies, with numbers rapidly increasing. The intention is to cover the entire hospitality technology vendor offering, while ensuring both the data and user experience are correct.
Building on the registry’s success, the beta phase will launch at HT-NEXT 2018. This phase seeks to triple the number of contributors to include even more companies, products and APIs.
The HTNG API Registry will launch publicly in June 2018 to include:
1. Organizations managing their own data
2. Integration confirmation from both parties
3. Ability to search products by available integrations
4. Ability to follow companies, products or categories for changes in APIs
5. Ability to create lists of Products/APIs to share with partners as a group
6. SEO optimization to allow API discovery by Google
7. Integration with Hotel Tech Report for deeper product details
Dmitry Koltunov, CTO of ALICE and co-chair of HTNG’s API Registry Workgroup explains, “This effort is about helping the tech leaders in our industry collaborate and increase the pace of innovation. There is a great African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.’ APIs are at the heart of allowing our industry to present a united front to embrace ongoing innovation.”