Impala launches self-service API tech to push democratisation of hotel retailing

Impala launches self-service API tech to push democratisation of hotel retailing

Bid to open direct access to room inventory to all businesses and cut out intermediaries

Impala has taken a significant step towards its goal of democratising hotel room distribution and retailing with the launch of a self-service version of its API technology.

The new version is being targeted at OTAs that sell hotels but want to improve efficiency and cut out intermediaries and firms for which hotel stays are not core to their product.

The latter might include event organisers or fintech companies that will often strike affiliate deals with major hotel sites and pass customer on to them to book.

Impala says this means those sites have no idea which of their customers go on to book and hotels attribute all sales to the affiliate intermediaries they partner with.

Impala’s API technology allows retailers to have direct relationships with hotels regardless of what Property Management System they use and cutting out intermediaries like channel managers.

To date Impala, which launched in 2019, has had success with hospitality technology vendors, but the self-service platform is expected to widen its appeal.

Firms that sign up can be selling hotel room night within minutes without having to chat to a sales executive, complete lengthy onboarding, or manage hundreds of integrations.

The technology can be integrated into existing websites or apps opening up access to Impala’s network of partner hotel operators including NH Hotels, Iberostar and Starhotels.

Ben Stephenson, Impala chief executive and founder, said: “Since we first launched our hotel data API, enabling that same degree of innovation to any and all businesses who want to build better hotel booking, or stay experiences, has been a long-term goal for the company. Achieving this milestone today is hugely significant.

“It’s significant for us as a business, but even more so for the merchants we’ve specifically built this platform for.

“Merchants looking to get started in this industry, existing online travel agents looking to grow, or travel businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic that are looking for ways to streamline workflows, move away from having to manually update spreadsheets, send emails and make phone calls, and  diversify and increase revenue streams. In summary, our API saves time, saves money and saves hassle.”

An early adopter of the latest Impala API was the recently launched Berlin-based mobile hotel booking platform Sidehide which aims to emulate Uber in hospitality.

The app was built around Impala’s platform meaning it did not have to build multiple integrations or enter negotiations with major players and competitors.

Joakim Hultin, co-founder and chief executive of Sidehide, said: “Despite the ongoing pandemic, the travel and hospitality industries are hugely exciting sectors to build a company in, with vast potential for growth.

“Yet they’re so largely dominated by a select few players, and are so fragmented because of the reliance on legacy systems, that it can take the fun, excitement and potential out of it almost to the point where many founders, or companies looking to enter this space, will be put off.

“Impala brings back the excitement and potential. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for start-ups like ours and better access to choice and technology benefits everyone.”

Impala launched in 2019 aiming to standardise the way hotel bookings are made by building a modern, open API that integrates with legacy hotel systems.

The firm claims its software is unique because, with just a few lines of code and an open API, developers can work with hotels despite which PMS or channel manager they use.

Impala believes the existing barriers to entry caused by legacy technology is stifling innovation and adding unnecessary complexity and costs to hotel room distribution.

“Impala addresses these industry flaws, and solves the problems with fragmented PMS and channel managers in one fell swoop with its easy-to-use open API,” it said.