Many of those travelers will be part of the Millennial generation, a demographic that has grown up expecting immediate, mobile access to information along with personalized services. Today, wireless connectivity is the norm. Approximately 99 percent of hotel guests travel with their own devices, and more than 85 percent prefer automated ways to check in and to request housekeeping and other services. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that travelers are bypassing human interaction. On the contrary, more are gravitating to hotel lobbies to work and socialize. Aware of such trends, businesses like Newmarket, an Amadeus company, look for new ways to shape the future of hospitality.
Looking for a hospitality upgrade
Part of the global Amadeus IT Group, Newmarket delivers hospitality solutions across 154 countries to names familiar to many travelers—Hyatt Hotels Corporation, the Trump Hotel Collection, Embassy Suites Hotels, and many more. While lowering costs and increasing revenue remain constant concerns in the hospitality industry, delivering on those goals in the face of changing guest expectations required some rethinking. The demand for more automated, personalized services necessitates a different and more scalable way of delivering data seamlessly across the hotel network, whether to front desks, kiosks, guest rooms, or lobbies. More hospitality companies were looking to the cloud for solutions, and Newmarket wanted to help them get there.
Running on local servers, Newmarket integration technologies support virtually all hospitality processes, including sales and marketing information, meeting intelligence, and service optimization. To enable its customers to take advantage of cloud elasticity, Newmarket wanted to create a new business model by offering its application programming interfaces (APIs) as web services. The APIs are used by the company’s partners to integrate devices like digital screens with software systems.
Lacking a centralized platform to host APIs, Newmarket was unable to see how partners and customers were using its technology. And without detailed insight, it was almost impossible to monetize its APIs or provide support.
Ultimately, the company wanted to capitalize on its ability to work with diverse technologies, which is one of its biggest competitive differentiators. The company needed a platform that would not only provide the insight it needed, but also the ability to integrate with the disparate data sources and endpoints found throughout the hospitality industry. “As you might imagine, there are a lot of different management and ownership relationships among properties,” says Melissa Jurkoic, Product Strategist at Newmarket. “For instance, management companies might own multiple brands, or a corporation might want visibility into hotels that they franchise but don’t own. So while you can’t control the types of IT solutions that all of those locations use, it doesn’t make it any less necessary for them to be connected.”
Innovating with the cloud
After considerable research, Newmarket decided to host its APIs in the cloud on Microsoft Azure and to manage them with Azure API Management. “We spent a good six to eight months talking with vendors, Microsoft among them,” says Jurkoic. “After comparing everything from price to capabilities to how the solution would fit with our overall architecture and roadmap, we ultimately chose Azure API Management. And beyond the features offered, we liked that the API Management team was so responsive and easy to work with.”
Newmarket took full advantage of the accessible infrastructure and support. Eliminating the need to purchase servers and build out on-premises, the Azure cloud provided an affordable platform that enables Newmarket to integrate virtually any data source, gain detailed insight into API usage by individual customers, and provide a self-service developer portal. The company’s first offering, a set of APIs that provides real-time information to digital displays, is already being used by multiple display vendors
Integrated with reservation systems and other data sources at individual properties, the APIs gives hotel customers the ability to provide personalized information to guests on virtually any digital endpoint. The company looks forward to expanding its API portfolio into areas that include property management and building automation to provide value-added services to more than 40,000 installations and 150,000 users in over 154 countries worldwide. The company plans to expand its use of Azure, moving most of its operations to the cloud within two years to support multiple business processes.
Enhancing global travel
The cloud platform is enabling the company to transform its business model with minimal risk. “We didn’t want to invest heavily up front without knowing what the adoption rate would be,” says Jurkoic. “We were a skeleton crew trying to launch a greenfield initiative. With Azure API Management, we found what we were hoping for, which was something that we could turn on really quickly to get data so that we could know whether our vision was something worth pursuing.” As it turns out, the company’s vision was spot on. Jurkoic continues, “We have 13 vendors certified, with 15 more in progress. I expect that we’ll engage with many more.”
And while the cloud platform is opening up new opportunities for Newmarket and its partners, the hospitality industry can sharpen its own focus on providing better, more personalized services. “Automating the flow of data frees up our customers to spend more time with their guests,” says Michelle Roycroft, Data Intelligence Director at Newmarket. “For instance, they don’t have to manually enter information, it just displays on a reader board or a guest room TV. And they don’t need to send someone to adjust the heat in an event room, because that too is handled automatically.”
By moving to the cloud, Newmarket is enabling the hospitality industry worldwide to meet the changing demands of global travelers—now and in the future.
“Automating the flow of data frees up our customers to spend more time with their guests. For instance, they don’t have to manually enter information, it just displays on a reader board or a guest room TV. And they don’t need to send someone to adjust the heat in an event room, because that too is handled automatically. ”
—Michelle Roycroft: Data Intelligence Director