We are glad to announce that Hotelbuddy is now an official partner for Oracle Hospitality and our integration to Oracle Hospitality Suite 8 PMS has been validated.
Hotelbuddy integrates with the Oracle Hospitality Suite8 Advanced Kiosk Interface to provide online solutions for the hotels and their guests using a web based front end. The guests can fill in registration forms, order extra services, upgrade their rooms, chat with the hotel staff and use online payment services before their stay. During their stay the guests can use Hotelbuddy to cast their devices to TV, check their room bill, order extra services and room service and chat with the staff. At the end of their stay they can check out and pay securely, using the Hotelbuddy solution. The hotels are provided with their own administrative tool (web based) where they can manage the guest profiles, orders, requests, create sales inventory and campaigns as well as internal tasks for managing operations and also a reputation tool for creating feedback surveys and managing their online reputation.
As we are on the topic now then we thought it is a good moment to talk about the system integrations in general and bring a little light to the validation process. Therefore we asked a few questions about system integrations in general from our head of development team Germo and software architect Trevor.
What is a system integration?
System integration is basically a common term for joining two or more systems together via some form of communication layer. So basically in our case, this means that instead of building a new PMS system for the hospitality sector we looked at the market to see which ones were the most common already existing PMS systems and built a communication layer from HotelBuddy to send and request information from these ones.
What is an API?
API is a software layer that allows two applications to talk to each other based on certain protocols and rules. So in our case, this means the main “tool” used in our communication layer. HotelBuddy sends out API calls to the PMS system to get information that is shown to the guests and hotel administration. Similar calls are used for updating the guest or reservation information in PMS.
Why is it important for the systems to be integrated?
Without proper integration, different systems cannot communicate with each other. So instead of building new PMS systems or Online Payment Processing systems we can use already familiar and tested solutions and combine them into HotelBuddy to provide new or more convenient solutions for hotels and their guests. Also besides integrating to familiar systems we have integrated into newer solutions like door locks and hotel room WiFi.
What are the main challenges of system integrations for developers?
Since we from Hotelbuddy can not control how PMS or payment processing systems have developed their API-s for outside communication, the biggest complexity is combining different communication formats and messages into one cohesive system. Our goal is to integrate Hotelbuddy with not just Oracle solutions but also with Infor, Mews and other popular Property Management Systems. A different side of the complexity comes from the fast pace of changes in software development, some of the integrated systems are more than 20 years old, some are much newer. Although both of these systems work fine, getting them to work together has its challenges.
What are the benefits and possible threats of system integrations?
As mentioned above the biggest benefits are not having to build a new application that does absolutely everything. On the other hand, this comes with its threats since we are relying on the integrated systems to work properly. If something might happen with the PMS or payments system, for example, this would also impact us and our solution.
What does a validation process look like (step-by-step)?
The integration validation is basically an exam for the new application. In other words, we needed to demonstrate to Oracle that the way we use their API-s would not have negative effects on their system, even worse break something. So initially we had to develop and implement all of the functionality we wanted to use while communicating with their PMS. Then we had a demonstration of our functionality where their employee went through all of the API calls we used and validated that everything works as expected. After everything works fine both of us can officially say that our systems are integrated.
If you are interested to hear more about the solutions Hotelbuddy offers then let us know and we will be happy to offer a free personal product demo!