Skip to main content

What is Hotel API?


Ah! Online travel! The most penetrated e-commerce segment, yet still so full of opportunities. So innovative and yet so broken.
I think of some of the massive game-changers in recent years and how much road has already been covered. From the early days of Expedia and its wizard packaging skills to Google’s landmark acquisition of ITA to (of course) the rise of Airbnb. The list is endless. Flights are where most of the visible progress has been made; I mean, you can actually book a flight online, especially with direct airline connectivity going mainstream. You can predict hotel prices from more than 200 inline travel agents (like booking, expedia, hotels.com,etc) using MAkCorps Hotel API.

The wonderfully messy world of hospitality

Hotels are a different story. Connectivity is not solved, far from it. On the face of it, the industry juggernauts have massive connectivity; Amadeus and Travelport both claim 650,000 properties on their platform. But in practice, it’s an unusable mess. Talk to anyone who has tried to leverage the existing GDS’s and see the world of pain they live in.
There are good reasons for it. Access to even the basic core data (availability, rates and inventory) is made extremely complicated by the vast myriad of property management systems that exist out there (over 800) with none having dominant market share (the market leader, it might surprise you to learn, is actually Oracle).
It’s not a problem you can solve by connecting to these systems directly; in fact it’s not an integration problem that any sane engineer would undertake. And frankly it’s not the core mission of most hotel PMS to focus on that — they’re just trying to be great at, you know, managing the property. Hence the emergence of channel managers and a whole host of players trying to solve part of that puzzle, improving the situation but not fundamentally solving the problem.
2013, people.

An API to rule them all.

Enter Ben Stephenson. A young talented engineer working on Amadeus integration projects and scratching his head. He had a simple but powerful insight : what if instead of desperately trying to integrate into the GDS or the PMS we went straight for the database and build a “simple” connectivity layer deep into the stack the all players can benefit from.
A la Stripe, build a simple and reliable connectivity layer that sat right on top of the actual database.
Sometimes the seemingly simplest insights are the most transformational.
So what does Impala do: Impala makes accessing hotel data insanely easy.
Who cares? Well, everyone. WiFi and streaming services providers, guest experience software vendors, keyless access folks, the PMS themselves, the booking engines who are currently plagued by manual processes. And most of all: hotels. With a universal API, they can connect to whoever they want. Ultimately it’s the guests who care the most, for it will enable the delivery of highly personalised experiences that will enhance their experience. But if all goes well, they will never ever need to hear the name Impala, except when we go public :-)

The Stride viewpoint.

This is our eighth investment (yay) — you can read all about it in Techcrunch (Romain Dillet) here and from Jean de La Rochebrochard here.
We love it because:
  • It’s got unlimited upside. it’s a fundamentally different take on solving a business critical issue in a mega market. It’s complicated and it’s counter-intuitive, yet the business value is obvious and immediate.
  • It’s hard to compete with. When Impala achieves at scale connectivity, it can offer connectivity cheaply to the entire industry (like a painless tollbooth) and at that point why would you want to mess with it. It’s not trying to compete with its client but merely offer a key element of the plumbing at low marginal cost.
  • We have a founder who can reshape his industry — Ben’s got that steel in him — whilst being a fantastic human being and a joy to work with. At Stride we hate replacing founders with a passion, and the best way to avoid that is to back people who we feel can go all the way.
  • We’re investing with friends. If life as a VC has taught me one thing, it is that you are better off investing with like-minded investors. The guy who brought us the opportunity of the indefatigable Jean de La Rochebrochard, one of the few VC’s in Europe showing real thought leadership in improving the venture capital product, as well as the best salesguy any startup will ever have; we are grateful. Also delighted to work with Tom Stafford at DST again!
  • On a personal note, excited to see Pia’s first investment at Stride.VC be this one. If she can even half replicate her performance at Accel we are in good hands!
Onward.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Warren Buffett: “Really Successful People Say No To Almost Everything”

When I tell people that Warren Buffett follows the 5-Hour Rule and spends 80% of his time reading and thinking, they have an immediate and predictable reaction: “Well, he can do that because he’s Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world. I could never do that.” While this response may help people feel better about themselves, it certainly won’t make them smarter. Because the reality is: Buffett has spent most of his time reading and thinking since he was in grade school. Having more money or managing a large company doesn’t magically give you free time. Having free time is never the default. People don’t just fall into huge blocks of free time unless they retire. Rather, free time is the result of strategy. It’s the result of looking at time differently. Curious about Buffett’s unique strategies, I’ve read several books about him, read most of his annual letters to stockholders, and watched nearly all of his interviews. And make no mistake about it… behind Buffett’s jovia…

This Is Exactly How You Should Train Yourself To Be Smarter [Infographic]

Design inspired by the Cognitive Bias Codex
View the high resolution version of the infographic by clicking here. Out of all the interventions we can do to make smarter decisions in our life and career, mastering the most useful and universal mental models is arguably the most important. Over the last few months, I’ve written about how many of the most successful self-made billionaire entrepreneurs like Ray Dalio, Elon Musk, and Charlie Munger swear by mental models… “Developing the habit of mastering the multiple models which underlie reality is the best thing you can do. “ — Charlie Munger “Those who understand more of them and understand them well [principles / mental models] know how to interact with the world more effectively than those who know fewer of them or know them less well. “ — Ray Dalio “It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leav…

If you want to be massively successful, do NOT set ambitious goals, according to studies

The conventional model to having great success in your career is setting and ardently pursuing big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs), even if you have no idea how you’re going to achieve them when you start. Want to build a billion dollar company? Set the goal and work backward from long-term goals to medium-term goals to short-term goals to today’s to-do list. Then take action, measure your progress along the way, and constantly course correct so you’re always on the most direct path (that you’re aware of) toward your ultimate goal. Want to cure cancer? Set the goal and work backward. Measure your progress. Want to find the love of your life or be happy? Set the goal. Rinse and repeat. This goals model is so obvious in our culture, it goes without saying. It’s central to our collective success recipe. Goals give motivation, meaning, and focus when we feel lazy or distracted — at least so we’re told. However, recent research from the field of artificial intelligence is putting a nail in t…