Big news out of the hotel tech world: Impala, a London-based startup, has launched a single REST API designed for the entire hotel industry. So what does that mean? And how does it affect you and your hotel? Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
What’s a REST API?
You probably already know what an API is — a tool that developers can use to add features to their software by borrowing them from other software. If you’re building an iPhone app and you want it to have a share button, you don’t need to know how the share button code works or build one yourself, you just use the Apple API, which has that feature built in.
A REST API is a specific architectural style for an API. It stands for REpresentational State Transfer, and it means that when your software calls up the API, the server will transfer to the client a representation of the state of the requested resource.
Basically, it means that the API is easier to use, easier to learn, and delivers more detailed information back to the client.
It’s no secret that the hotel industry is often reluctant to upgrade old technology. Hotels use property management systems (PMS) to manage rooms, room types, pricing, extras, taxes, and so on — but they never upgrade those systems.
Since the software is never upgraded, there’s no reason for the old systems to make new APIs, which holds the whole system back. Developers who make software for the hotel industry (like Phonesuite) have to write integrations for dozens of different hotel software systems to make sure that they work everywhere.
What Impala hopes to create is another layer of software in between the dated systems and other developers, unifying the diverse systems into one interface that any developer can interact with.
Between this and Impala’s new booking API, which sidesteps sites like Booking.com, Priceline, Expedia, Trivago, and so on, Impala is hoping to lower the barrier to entry for new competitors that want to be able to interact with hotels’ internal systems.
Keeping Up With the Times
It should come as no surprise that we’re big fans of implementing modern technology into your hotel. The advantages of a VoIP system are substantial — it makes your staff more efficient, cuts costs, and gives your guests a better experience from the moment they book to the moment they check out.
This new system should be similarly revolutionary, especially when combined with your Phonesuite system. Now, guests will be able to see room availability and style from almost anywhere — imagine being able to book a room directly from the website for a conference or event website.
Technology has progressed virtually everywhere — guests have access to more information and convenience than they’ve ever had before. If your hotel feels up-to-date — from the booking process to checking in, room service, housekeeping, or anything else, you’ll give your guests the most modern, trouble-free experience they could ask for.