PMS API Data for Third-Party Apps: How to Become an Integration Partner of Leading PMSs
The hospitality sector thrives thanks to integrations. Whenever customer expectations grow to demand more convenience, the fastest and the most effective way to provide that is via third-party hospitality solutions. That’s why most hotel management systems today are open to partnerships with independent software vendors to easily expand their capabilities and satisfy clients.
If you’re an online travel agency or a tech business targeting hotels and vacation rentals, integrating with major property management systems (PMSs) will get you clients and valuable data. Here we will break down how and why these integrations work and how to partner with leading property management systems.
Why and how of PMS integration
A property management system is software responsible for all main operations in a hotel or vacation rental – updating reservations, keeping track of inventory, organizing finances, rates, and occupancy, performing housekeeping, and many more. Many popular PMSs are robust and full-fledged solutions with tons of features, but it’s virtually impossible to satisfy a property’s diverse needs with one product. So, today it’s normalized to simplify integration so that almost any third-party system can easily connect to a PMS and access its data.
Every function of a PMS can be an integrated third-party product
In general, integration with PMSs will provide you with guest information, reservations, and similar data about your customers operating with that PMS. It’s of great use to such independent software vendors as:
- Marketing and upselling software
- Revenue management and business intelligence
- Point-of-sale systems
- Accounting and financial software
- Kiosk software
- Distributors such as GDSs, online travel agencies (OTAs), bedbanks
- Connected door locks providers
- Guest facing technology
- Customer relationship management tools
- Event and restaurant management software
- Miscellaneous providers (minibar, Wi Fi, TV, and other technology)
So, how does this integration happen? Typically, via APIs.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are pieces of code connecting two software tools together. They serve as a corridor by which data travels when requested from another system. A PMS has an API or a few of them for different cases and your job is to establish a connection on your part. But before you do this, you will need to get approved by a PMS provider. Typically, this means filling out a form describing your company and customer base to ensure that your product is sought after and will be a valuable addition to their marketplace of tools. Sometimes, though, the journey is more self-service, with minimal approval process.
Further, we broke down how to integrate with most popular PMSs. We’ve used this list compiled by Datanyze to identify the top players, but the process is similar among them all, so if you don’t find a required PMS in our article, you can navigate the process yourself. Alternatively, you can always leave us a question about integration on TechTalks and we will help you over.
A glance at APIs of popular PMSs
Cloudbeds integration – industry leader with heavy integration support
A leading hospitality software provider with customers in over 157 countries, Cloudbeds has a property management system, a channel manager, a booking engine, and other products for hotels and vacation rentals. Their marketplace of integrations include marketing, transportation, door locks, accounting, point of sale, communication, and more vendors operating in a ton of countries.
Integration with Cloudbeds can bring you new customers and add value to your common customers
With Cloudbeds API you get access to data on:
- Taxes and Fees, and more
How to partner with Cloudbeds?
- Fill out a form. To partner with Cloudbeds, you’ll need to fill out the form, listing your app category, number of customers, supported countries, and even top sales countries and all known Cloudbeds customers using your product. If they find your submission beneficial to them, they will reach out for more information. After that, you will sign an agreement and start API onboarding.
- Preparing an API. Cloudbeds will provide you with API credentials and a test account with dummy data, which you can use to set up an API on your side.
- Pass certification. Certification is simply going through some scenarios to check if the connection is working correctly. Prior to certification, you should also prepare a knowledge base article and app details that will be used in description on the marketplace.
- Start pilot testing and go through the beta phase. After more testing, your integration will go live, but will have a “beta” label for the first couple of weeks. If everything’s in order, your app will be officially live for Cloudbeds customers.
Mews integration – simple approval and certification
Mews is another popular PMS used by over 3,000 hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals, including Accor. Its Hospitality Cloud product includes solutions for payments, business intelligence, hotel operations, and guest experience. On its integration marketplace, there are currently over 600 solutions in such categories as distribution, event management, revenue management, accounting, upselling, and more.
Mews is on a mission to grow the largest integration network in the industry
Mews Connector API already has scenarios for accounting, housekeeping, kiosk, guest technology, and many more use cases, which will be helpful even if you’re integrating a different kind of system. Overall, it allows you to access data on:
- Loyalty programs
- Devices and more.
How to partner with Mews?
Since Mews’ mission is to build the largest hospitality network, they are liberal with their submissions, so you can expect to be approved rather easily.
- Fill out the form. Mews asks for information about your product and how you envision its integration with their platform.
- Receive API testing credentials. After receiving your data, Mews will send you information on how to access their demo environment to test their API.
- Pass certification. Mews claims that certification can be passed in a 30-minute call, after which you will be listed on their Marketplace.
Guestline integration – access to UK properties, restaurants, and pubs
Operating mostly in the UK, Guestline is Best Western’s biggest supplier of PMS technology in Great Britain. It targets independent hotels, hotel groups, serviced apartments, with a specialty in restaurant and pub bookings. Their marketplace of partners includes revenue management, channel managers, OTAs, CRMs, marketing, housekeeping, payment, telephone, and more solutions.
Guestline hosts many European and British applications on its platform
Guestline uses HTNG and OTA standards for its APIs, which were created specifically for data exchange in travel, so you’ll have to build connections with them in mind. There are two APIs which might be relevant to you.
Rezlynx API is used for data related to guests staying at the property, such as:
- Telephone and Internet usage
- Minibar usage
- Guest movements (check-ins, check-outs)
- Door locks
Roomlynx API is used for distribution, so it shares data on:
How to partner with Guestline?
Once again, you’ll need to fill out the form, though you’ll have to choose what information about your product to include yourself. After that, the usual process of providing the test environment, development, and certification follows. Guestline doesn’t mention how long it takes to review applications.
Eviivo – unique properties types
Eviivo has access to 20,000+ independent properties, such as guesthouses, boutique hotels, campsites, vacation rentals, and more. In its integration network, there are dozens of European and US businesses, including the providers of dynamic pricing, smart locks, travel agencies, and more.
Eviivo has a variety of APIs for their potential partners
For its partners, they offer several APIs depending on the service they provide.
- Distribution API – for connecting your OTA to eviivo’s inventory.
- Invoicing API – for retrieving invoicing information.
- Guest Check-In API – if you provide door lock services, this API allows for retrieving guest and check-in information, such as door lock codes.
- MS Booking API – for blocking rooms when allocating them to MICE.
- Accounting ERP API – for connecting your accounting software to hosts’ operating expenses.
- ePOS API – for allowing restaurants, spas, and other services to charge guests from their rooms.
How to partner with Eviivo?
To discuss partnership opportunities, fill out a short form. Considering that they don’t ask for much information at this stage, you’ll likely be contacted pretty soon to discuss the details. There is also a sales referral program and a chance to participate in live events and podcasts run by Eviivo.
RMS Cloud – robust API and solid developer support
Started in Australia, RMS Cloud is a global 35-year old PMS vendor providing a full spectrum of features, from channel management and booking engine to housekeeping and loyalty program support. Among their client base of 6500+ properties across 70 countries, are hotels, campgrounds, apartments, motels, marinas, and more.
Their vast integration network includes such vendors as GDSs, OTAs, channel managers, revenue management providers, payment solutions, PoS systems and kiosks, and many more.
RMS Cloud has over 550+ available integrations
To provide access to their database of users, RMS has an API. It allows you to extract, update, and create data regarding:
- Client accounts
- Travel agents
- Areas (rooms, sites, cabins)
- Booking sources
- Cancellation policies
- Room categories
- Loyalty levels
- Rates and many more
How to partner with RMS Cloud?
- Sign up for RMS Partner Portal. Create an account at their Partner Portal, from where you can submit a request to become an Integrated Partner.
- Contact RMS sales. Contact email@example.com to request and purchase the API Developer Kit for $550. It’s a one time fee and it includes credentials, access to documentation, updates on API changes, and a 30-minute kick-off call. You can also request assistance with integration for $30 per 15-minute consultation and $200 per hour if you require development help.
- Use the credentials to test. After payment, you will be issued credentials to access live data and you’re free to start development. RMS don’t require certification as you will be fully responsible for managing your integration.
Just like with other partnerships, signing up with RMS Cloud would get you displayed as one of RMS Modules for clients to integrate with.
OPERA PMS – self-service for fastest integration
Started back in the 1970s as Micros, today OPERA is a robust ecosystem of property management tools. Among its customers are both huge hotel chains such as Radisson and Wyndham and smaller, budget properties.
OPERA Cloud Hospitality Marketplace provides a massive selection of third-party integrations
Oracle has several PMS solutions:
- OPERA 5, an older version of their PMS,
- Suite8, a series of add-ons combined under the same software, and
- OPERA Cloud, a modern, cloud-based PMS.
You can find a full review of their tools and integration options in a dedicated Opera Hospitality article, so make sure to check it out after this one. But let’s break the basics down.
How to integrate with OPERA 5 and Suite8?
There are two APIs you can use to access data from OPERA 5 and Suite8: a general API and a kiosk API.
A general API called OPERA Web Self-Service provides data on:
- Housekeeping, etc.
A kiosk API called OPERA Kiosk provides connectivity between OPERA and kiosk applications and provides data on:
- Check-ins and check-outs
- Credit card authorization
- Payment methods,
- Paid reservations, etc.
To access these APIs, you will need to:
- Apply for the partner program. The form is more intimidating than the ones we’ve already seen from other vendors. Also, prepare that such an industry behemoth may take weeks to months to respond.
- Use FIAS protocol. This is OPERA’s proprietary protocol that allows exchanging data between OPERA 5/Suite8 and other systems. Get acquainted with their list of data types.
- Set up OPERA Exchange Interface. Finally, OPERA Exchange Interface is middleware that allows a hotel to manage all integrations, so you’ll need to set up communication with it, too.
Connecting to OPERA Cloud is significantly easier.
How to integrate with OPERA Cloud?
Connectivity with Opera’s cloud PMS happens through Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP) – a portal where hoteliers can find a third-party supplier through the marketplace and vendors can connect to OPERA Cloud. There are two APIs at your disposal.
OHIP offers capabilities both for accessing APIs and safely publishing them
Production APIs that include APIs for such functions as:
- Price, rate, availability
- Event management, and more.
Early Adopter APIs, which account for over 3000 less stable APIs that give access to:
- Accounts receivable
- Leisure management
- Channel configuration
To access them, you will need to:
- Access OHIP. Make a purchase in the Oracle Store that will cost you $10 monthly for 10 000 transactions.
- Get an application key. Create an application in a production or nonproduction environment, which will give you access to the gateway.
With a hotel’s ID, your OAuth token, and an application key, you’re ready to call to APIs.
Protel – heavily documented APIs with a massive customer base
With over 14,000 customers, Protel is a leading PMS vendor from Germany that offers property management, a booking engine, and event management, as well as a network of 1000+ integrations.
Protel has strong developer support for smooth integration process
Ranging from business intelligence to guest relationship, Protel welcomes partners of all kinds into to exchange data on:
- Guests and more.
How to integrate with Protel?
The integration workflow is described in detail here. But we will guide you through the main steps.
- Register at Protel Marketplace and provide your data. Create an account as an integration partner. Then sign an NDA and describe your case using a Google Form at the link above.
- Study docs and prepare for an integration agreement. Compare your case to the ones in Protel’s docs and book a call to discuss the details.
- Sign an integration agreement and pay a certification fee. Based on the used protocol, you will be charged a certification fee.
- Complete development and test. You will be assigned an integration specialist to assist in the process and will start a pilot phase as soon as testing is completed.
- Certify the integration and get live. After the final review, your product will be announced on Protel’s marketplace.
PMS integration tips
In many senses, preparing for an integration with a different, larger product is like preparing a sales pitch. You need to prove that you will bring value through this partnership and be ready to take the heavy technical load. We believe you will succeed. But let us leave you with a few final tips.
Narrow your niche down. Large PMSs have massive integration marketplaces, so it will be harder to compete for property’s attention when there are dozens of similar products in the same category. One of the ways to distinguish yourself is by having many language options, so hoteliers across the globe can filter the search down to find you. Another way is to connect to local or niche PMS if you belong to that niche, where the choice is inherently smaller.
Get your clients on board. Getting approved for integration may be one of the things that’s hardest to control. If you’re a new business, PMSs might not see you as a beneficial partner. But one thing they all do care about is their customer’s wants and needs. If you have common clients with a PMS system, you will likely get approved, but you will surely be approved and fast, if their clients are asking for integration with your product. Make your potential customer base know that by sending an email to the vendor, they can get your service in their system sooner. Advertise about it on your page or contact them directly. Then, include hotel names in your application and wait for the good news.
Don’t do it alone. Although many systems provide resources and even technical support to help you join, it’s much easier to integrate if you have your own tech team. Constantly dealing with API integration in travel, we understand that this process requires a lot of tinkering and experience in the industry. As you’ve noticed, some of them require travel-specific standards, so that’s an extra challenge. Besides, you’d likely want to connect to many different PMSs and each of them will be updating their APIs from time to time, so you’re never really done with integration. So, find an experienced integration team that will make this journey a breeze for you.