Keeping your hotel & spa business up to date with technological advancements will save you time and allow you to focus on the guest experience. This requires multiple systems and software that work together to optimize accurate and efficient communication of your data.
You may have heard of integrations before but, depending on your role, you may not know exactly what they are and how they work. In this article we will talk about integrations and why we need them, using practical examples to demonstrate their importance and how they impact our everyday lives. Integrations save time, allowing you to focus on other things, like your guest experience. But that’s not even close to all they do. Read on to learn all about it.
What is an integration?
Generally speaking, a software integration enables two solutions to exchange data. Here’s a simple example;
Company A is a retail POS solution
Company B is an eCommerce solution
Lisa owns a retail store in which she uses Company A’s solution for customer check-out. She also has an online store powered by Company B’s solution. Lisa needs to keep an accurate count of her inventory so she can manage her stock levels, to ensure she is keeping up with demand, and not selling what she doesn’t have. Lisa has been manually updating her inventory levels every time she makes an online sale, a tedious and time-consuming task that can also result in errors if she forgets to do it because she’s busy or makes some other mistake. Fortunately, Company A and B just released an integration. It works like this:
Company B shares transaction information with Company A ? Company A takes this information and updates the inventory levels in store
Company A also shares transaction data with Company B ? Company B takes this information and adjusts inventory levels online
Lisa no longer has to manually update her inventory levels! The integration has automated the process. Now, when she makes an online sale or sells something in store, her inventory is automatically updated. Lisa can manage her supply levels and won’t sell what’s not in stock!
Why integrations are important
The integration between Company A and B had a real impact on Lisa’s day to day, saving time and also reducing the likelihood of human error. It has wide implications for the future growth of her business, because she has freed up time to focus on other things, like her customer experience, and because she won’t have unhappy customers who have paid for a product they won’t receive.
There are many examples of integrations that save users significant amounts of time and effort by eliminating the need to perform manual tasks that could otherwise be automated.
Time saved is a massive benefit of integrations. Other potential benefits include:
- greater accuracy in numbers because, as mentioned, integrated systems reduce the risk for human error;
- improved data accessibility, because multiple solutions feeding data into a centralized system (ERP, PMS, EMR, etc.) allows for a user to access what would normally be ‘siloed’ data, in one place;
- and seamless customer experiences, because integrations allow you to maintain customer records, transactions, and interactions across all systems.
Types of integrations
Integrations can take different forms that depend on factors like industry, use case, and desired outcome. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on two general integration types:
- One way; where one system shares data with another and does not receive any data back from the other system. In our previous example, this would be if Company A only shared transaction data with Company B.
- Two way or bidirectional; where both systems share data with one another. Referring back to our example, Company A and B both shared transaction data so that both systems could update inventory/stock levels.
Let’s take a look at real life examples of integrations we have at Book4Time and how they benefit businesses.
Book4Time predominantly serves hotel and resort spas. These properties use a variety of technologies requiring integration to operate successfully. Here are a few common technologies used within a hotel and/or resort that require integration with Book4Time.
The Property Management System (PMS) is the core system used by hotels and resorts that manages room bookings and guest profiles, among other things. If a hotel guest books a spa treatment, the spa should have the ability to look up the guest’s profile and charge the guest’s spa treatment to his or her room. This ensures a seamless experience and avoids having to charge the customer at different touchpoints. To accomplish this, the spa system needs to be integrated with the PMS system.
Book4Time integrates with many PMS systems including Opera (Oracle Hospitality), Infor, Guestline, Galaxy, Agilysys and more, to allow hoteliers to centrally manage guest accounts and provide an excellent customer experience.
Many guests would prefer the option to check in to their hotel room, order room service, make a dinner reservation, and book a massage, all from a single mobile app. Guest experience applications are designed to facilitate this and integration is what makes them able to manage your dinner reservation or spa booking in one central place.
Book4Time partners with guest experience applications including Intelity, Hudini, and DigiValet to allow guests to make a spa or activity booking right on the hotel’s mobile app.
Marketing & CRM
Understanding your guests and how best to interact with them is key to business success. This requires gathering and analyzing guest data and customer insights. How many times has someone stayed at your hotel? What time of the year did they stay? What did they purchase when they stayed? What spa treatments did they book in the past? Are they a local guest? Integrations help you answer these questions.
Book4Time integrates with systems like Demandforce and Revinate, which generate customer insights by capturing guest data. This information allows the spa to segment their guests and offer personalized experiences and/or promotions for more effective, meaningful engagement.
Today, when a guest checks into the spa for your massage appointment, it’s not uncommon for the concierge to make a few clicks on the system and hand them an access card. This card grants access to the change room, an assigned locker, the lounge, and all amenities. It’s an integration that makes this a straightforward process,
Book4Time partners with Access Control systems like Gantner to allow spas to easily manage and assign access to amenities, lockers, lounges, and different member areas from one system.
Integrations allow businesses to save time, improve customer experience, run smoothly and do things they would never be able to do otherwise.
Interested in learning more about integrations? Talk to us. Visit Book4Time.com