Recently, I wrote a series of posts about the Tour Operator’s Essential Tech Stack.
We went over marketing and sales technology, payment and point of sale technology, and decision support technology. But I also alluded to how there is an application programming interface (API) that sits on top of the entire tech stack.
If you’re not sure what an API is, you’re not alone.
An API is an open source code base that provides server to server communication so one piece of technology can talk to another.
Think of it like google translate for software.
For example, Checkfront stores data about your customers. One of the fields the program understands is a name field. Your email software also stores a name field. This is who gets sent an email. But the two systems don’t actually know that they are storing the same information.
This is because these fields were created by different developers using different programs. They don’t know how to talk to each other.
It’s like how you say cat, and Russians say Kot, but they mean the same thing.
If you want your emails to go to all of the people you booked with, you need a translator (an API) to connect the two.
In technical terms, these data points are called endpoints. You can pull and push data to endpoints, meaning the translation goes both ways.
If you only want to pull data from a system, you can use webhooks. You can think of them as a hose— the data only flows one way.
Webhooks are commonly used to set up alerts. For example, many Checkfront clients have created webhooks to notify them when a new booking is made.
Without an API, you wouldn’t have an easy way to connect your data. You would have to log in to all your different systems to piece together all the information yourself. With an API, you can use one system as your home base to get all the information you need.
APIs give you the power to ask questions and get better insights into your business.
If a software company offers integrations with another service, there is likely an API to link the two.
But you might also want to build your own API for a number of reasons:
- -Complete customization
- -Increase flexibility
- -Improve functionality
- -Link all your critical systems to your system of record
- -Create one view of the truth (your data home base)
While APIs are great magical things, you do need a strong understanding of software to build one. Custom API’s are typically used by multi-site companies that have a large tech stack, or legacy systems in place.
Checkfront’s developers are committed to the functionality of our Booking API. If you’re interested in the endpoints we provide you can find them in our developer API documentation.
Next, we’ll take a look at how Checkfront’s tech stack, stacks up.
Checkfront’s Tech Stack
This is the software the Checkfront creates and manages in-house.
- CMS- Site Builder
- SEO – Site Builder structures your website to increase traffic
- Channel Management – Partner Accounts
Payments & POS
- Booking system
- Revenue Management
- Integrated Digital Waivers
- Reports and Analytics
- Advanced Resource management*
- Access Management
Checkfront’s Integration Stack
These are the platforms that you can connect to your Checkfront account
- CMS- Integrations with WordPress, Joomla, and Squarespace
- CRM – Nutshell, Salesforce, Zoho
- Email Marketing – MailChimp, Constant Contact.
- Channel Management -Integrations with Viator, Expedia Local Expert and MyAllocator
- Social Media- Integration with Facebook that allows you to accept bookings on your page
Payments & POS
- Payment Processing – Integrations with Square, Vantiv, Stripe, Bambora, Paypal and more
- Accounting- Integrations with Xero & Quickbooks Online
- Vend POS for retail
- Notifications- via Twilio SMS