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Plugging in the Property Managers | Agustin Fiori from Channel Connector

If you operate a property management system, integrating your service with all the various third party resources can be a complicated and labyrinthine process. But it’s necessary if you want to get the most out of your listings.

What if someone could manage the numerous rental, travel, and other booking APIs through a single platform? It could not only give property management systems the widest possible market, it would also open up opportunities to collect and leverage market data to ensure the best possible timing and price.

This is the mission of Channel Connector, a company that adds advanced channel management functionality to PMS platforms using their connectivity API.

On this edition of UpTech Report, Agustin Fiori, the Managing Director of Europe at Channel Connector drops by to tell us about the origins of the business, and how they’re solving the problem of managing and maintaining so many third party APIs and routing them through a single service.

More information: https://channelconnector.com/

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Agustin Fiori 0:00
I said that a artificial intelligence will help us all to be more smarter, efficient, productive.

Alexander Ferguson 0:14
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io. Today I am joined by my guest, Agustin Fiori, who’s based in Barcelona, Spain. He’s the managing director of of Europe at Channelconnector. Welcome, Augustin. Good to have you on man.

Agustin Fiori 0:34
Hi, Alex. Thanks, thanks for for inviting me and a pleasure to be here.

Alexander Ferguson 0:38
Absolutely. Now your product is an API as a service, it really focused on licensing your distribution API technology, to the travel industry. So for those out there, if you’re a CEO of a property management software, this might be an intriguing platform that you’re gonna want to check out. Now on your site, you state the building blocks for the next generation of PMS capabilities. Help me understand where did this really begin? What was the problem that you guys saw and set out to solve?

Agustin Fiori 1:09
Well, that’s super curious, because this is not really my stories, the story of the CEO, but but he kind of 100% applies to his problem at that moment, you know, he was looking for a vacation rental seven years ago, eight years ago, he was looking for vacation rental and could not, could not really book it online, you know, so he’s need to start sending in wires to the to the houses that he was finding to try to get a reply maybe a few days, days later, he got a reply. So we came with the idea. Why don’t we synchronize the prices, the availability, the calendars of all these Vacation Rentals in various platforms, and maintain them automatically updated without needing manual work from the property manager. So this is how the idea came through. And this is how we started to be develop and here we are to be realistic. So the

Alexander Ferguson 2:04
being able to play this role for the different PMS platforms out there, the software companies? What’s the change? Like what are they doing now. And that would now suddenly be different to be able if they were able to use your service?

Agustin Fiori 2:20
Well, property management software’s generally bring very good tools and very useable tools for the property managers to manage their inventory. Okay, the cleaning invoicing, and many, many other tools have their very robust software’s. Nowadays, they connect to channels, okay, for the distribution of those of those properties to get sales, okay for their properties to get bookings bottom line. And what we can allow them to do is to rather than to go to every single of those channels, they can go and implement our core technology, our API, okay, and that will allow them to have access to all the channels we are connected to. So rather than building five, or six interfaces, or 10, or 20, or 60, or 100, interfaces to different otas, such as booking.com, or Expedia, or vacation rental sites as variable, or Airbnb as for example, they integrate only our API, and then we give them access to all of them. So we are alleviate on 100 cost. While we keep up the connections to those channels, 100% up to date.

Alexander Ferguson 3:29
This really brings into interesting conversation around the future of of being a SaaS platform of a software company, there’s only going to be more connections, or the need for more connections to stay integrated and relevant. But managing all these different API connections can be overwhelming. I mean, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Why would someone not want to manage the API connections themselves for these different places versus having to pay a licensing fee?

Agustin Fiori 4:00
Well, mainly because you need to have developers, okay, a lot of technical support in order to maintain those connections, update those connections, because this is not a one time work. It’s an ongoing work with the majority of the channels, okay, of the otas, and the vacation rental sites. And you always need to keep up to date. Because these big companies which are great, they also improve and get better. And the clients that are using them to advertise their properties wants to get the best out of their properties in terms of revenue and in terms of reviews and in terms of everything. So the only way in order to get the best out of these of these otas and vacation rental sites is by having an updated connection to them. So this is this is one focus, which a share it a lot of need some resources on the development side in order to keep them updated, plus all the ones that you keep on adding on a monthly weekly basis obviously.

Alexander Ferguson 4:58
How does this affect like the end A user because obviously you’re helping the project, property management software’s that are that exists out there to have more connections. But at the end consumer that’s using all of this is a vacation rental property, correct?

Agustin Fiori 5:15
Yeah. Because your rental property manager, mainly right. So Rob, Rob properties that they manage?

Alexander Ferguson 5:21
And how is this let’s just talk about the bigger scale? And for how does it help them to be able to be connected to even more different and platforms and booking services? I mean, is there a need to be on every single one of these?

Agustin Fiori 5:35
Well, I wouldn’t say that you need to be in every single one of these, because some of them are very niche, you know, they are kind of targeting a type of guests with a type of property, whether the property will be or not pet friendly, as an example, or whether it’s with four kids or not four kids. Okay. So there are some limitations also, in terms of the countries and different countries where those platforms operate. So I wouldn’t say that you need to be connected to all of them. Definitely. I don’t see maybe even the point of doing that. But the the biggest the biggest, the biggest reply, or the most important reply, to be precise to your questions, why do you need to be on them? Let’s say not say 100, let’s say 50, let’s say 14. Why? Well, you know, if you see it from and I can bring an analogy, if you see it from an investor investor point of view, a really good investor, which I am an investor, and generally don’t put all the money on the same company or on the same stocks are in the same cryptocurrency, they surely diversify their risk, okay, by making sure that they can have different type of bookings coming from different type of channels, and an investor will have different type of investments in order to have different type of return of investment, whether it’s higher, or whether it’s more safe, or whether it’s more risky, for therefore, more higher, you know what I mean? So it’s not that you need to be an all of them. But it’s good to have a good distribution strategy in order to get the best out of your properties

Alexander Ferguson 7:04
for your type of solution for an API connection, how easy it is to integrate into an existing, the existing PMS that said that someone has

Agustin Fiori 7:12
Well, you know, this is a very good question. And we might get a little bit techie here, okay. Well, if we integrate our property management software’s out there, the reality is that there is an API capabilities that they can bring us, or they can give us access to, okay, there are some type of content that they might not be able to send us which the channel is requesting. Therefore, if we maintain the connections to the channels, then it’s much better that you integrate our platform through an API, PMS software implements our API, rather than doing this analysis. Why? Because if there’s an improvement in the channel, we can easily pull it available for them to integrate it. And they still don’t need to develop new API’s to connect to us. Okay, it’s already built by us. And they only connect to that new API that might be interesting for their clients to use from the channels. So

Alexander Ferguson 8:08
instead of having to manage 20, or 40, different API’s that are always changing, all they have to do is manage one API, which is to you.

Agustin Fiori 8:16
Exactly, that’s why kind of beginning of the conversation, I will say, forget about connecting to the rest of the of the chance Connect only to our API, and then we make sure that you will have available everything that the channel can give you then you as a property management software, you will identify and see okay, that do my clients use these? Do my clients use that? Yes, no, okay, I do this, but I don’t do that. Okay, but you don’t need to refresh connections with every single channel. Every time they do an update, you can pick and choose from our API, what is best for your customers?

Alexander Ferguson 8:55
I’m going to ask the real hard question here. Competitive competition competitors, what other options out there do other PMS platforms have to choose from and why would they choose you over that?

Agustin Fiori 9:06
Okay, first of all, competition is always welcome. And it only makes you better and stronger. That’s my point of view. And it always helps you to improve if there is no competition, we will never have a harder car, nor even different cars to choose nor different investments to do. Okay, so I think competition is more than welcome. And yes, there are other solutions out there. But what I can definitely assure that we are the most flexible and, and the most flexible and the most advanced solution out there out there. Okay, we spent 10s of millions of dollars developing this technology. It was not, you know, the history started seven years ago. Well, at that point, we start already started investing, investing in technology. So So that’s kind of kind of the difference with our competition. We get into this solution of the channel connector, much faster and much quicker. than the rest of the competition. That’s why I know that some competition are building this type of technology. But the truth is that we already have 24 months of maturity of the channel connector, in terms of the white label solution we are working

Alexander Ferguson 10:14
there any stats that you can share on the usage of the clients or folks that are already on the platform and using it.

Agustin Fiori 10:21
What do you mean by stats to be precise,

Alexander Ferguson 10:23
if you’re okay to share how many companies are already using it, maybe that or just the number of connections that are happening on a regular basis, any type of stats to show the usability of a right now?

Agustin Fiori 10:35
Well, I can talk to you that we have more than 150 200 connections. Remember that we have two sides of the connections we have on one hand, the channel side, and we have on the other hand, the supplier, so we have demand, those who bring guests, okay, and this is what we update on behalf of their property management software, who is having the supply, right. So we are there right in the middle. So we need to connect to them, and we need to connect to them. We are happy and thrilled to do that.

Alexander Ferguson 11:06
Absolutely. So right now you’re connected. You said 150 different end bookings. I said that come to that.

Agustin Fiori 11:11
Yes, yes, I will tell you that more to be realistic. Yeah. Okay.

Alexander Ferguson 11:17
The future looking ahead from here, what can you share a SARS new features that you just released that are coming up or anything on the roadmap that you can share that you want others to know about?

Agustin Fiori 11:28
Well, you know, it’s completely public. So we can, you know, you can go and search on a website. So I’m no problem to this to disclose it, you know, we’ve been focusing on on Channel management distribution now, mainly on distribution. But we’re also building API’s for home automation, we’re also building API’s for revenue management software’s, okay, so whatever system that may want to whatever software sorry, that might want to use our API for home automation will be able to connect any home all day automation. In any country where that automation is stronger, for whatever reason, maybe compliancy with the with the political will, the political sorry, with the with the, with the police, maybe compliance with the government in terms of taxes, maybe compliance, in terms of whatever. Okay, so there are different home automation tools that can be added, as well as a revenue management, a wide level solution that will allow to automate the prices of their clients, okay, and make sure that they get the best out of their properties. In terms of pricing in terms of revenue,

Alexander Ferguson 12:32
okay. You’re talking about being able to get other types of connections, revenue management or or even taxation or other things is this is an API

Agustin Fiori 12:41
capability Sarita. So as we build a as you correctly say, at the beginning, we build the distribution API technology. Now we are building the home automation and the revenue management software, API technology, too. So these are two new things.

Alexander Ferguson 12:59
Gotcha. Okay. For four leaders of a property management software, is there any kind of advice or ideas or tips you would give them in their role? You know, I understand that the the challenges they’re facing and the customers that they’re trying to help? Is there any advice that comes to your mind that you’d want to share with them?

Agustin Fiori 13:21
Yes, more than advices and opinion, I don’t like giving advice Aleksander. I’m not gonna lie to you. I don’t like the word advice. I prefer the word opinion. And regarding my opinion, I would say that we all as an industry, we need to work on making the property management life easier. We need to make them we need to put them the wise and all our effort in order for them to be able to execute on behalf of their properties in a simpler way. That’s why we’re I think we’re artificial intelligence is gonna give us a good call. Okay.

Alexander Ferguson 14:00
on that, on that note, what can you speak to what you see is the future of technology, like if you had to make any prediction of what we’ll see in the near term, next year, so and long term 510 years from now, when it comes to automation and uses of AI in this industry?

Agustin Fiori 14:15
Well, you know, if we, if we’re, if we touch on AI, there’s a lot of fear about AI and the possible shops that will be lost. According to a lot of people. I think that the human has been intelligent enough in order to use technology for their well being, and not against them. And I’m not saying that not everyone will be in the best situation in the best case scenario. But generally, I said that a artificial intelligence will help us all to be more smarter, efficient, productive, a bottom line that will help us to have more time in order to enjoy the pleasures of life, like for example, going to the park with my kids or having a larger holidays or or what Whatever it is that you really like to do, you know whatever painting art whatever you like really. So I think that artificial intelligence cannot can only help and will help for for automations and those automations are kind of related to the let’s make our products easier to use on a daily basis so the the end consumer can enjoy it when using it.

Alexander Ferguson 15:25
Love it well thank you so much for sharing your insights your opinions, as you say not just advice. And what you guys are doing at Channel connector for those that want to learn more, definitely go to channelconnector.com and they do have you can book a demo there, right? That’s probably a good first step for them to take.

Agustin Fiori 15:42
That sounds amazing.

Alexander Ferguson 15:45
Do they’d be able to see how their their API connections can help save some time and automate more of your property management software. Thanks again everyone for joining us on today’s apptech episode, you can go to UpTech Report comm to see more details of this interview and many more again, our episode is sponsored by TeraLeap learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io Thanks everyone. Thank you are seen and we’ll see you guys next time. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.

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