Africa Internet Group's Jumia Travel has announced plans to make Extranet, its app for hotel managers to monitor bookings, update rates, and check on room availability, available online for its partner hotel systems.

The tool allows hotel managers to confirm and view incoming Jumia Travel reservations, access guest information, and keep track of how many people have made bookings and reservations in real time from any connected location.

Extranet has won a number of awards in Nigeria, where the app was first launched, among them the Award for Hospitality Security, Best Information Website, Best Hotel Reservation Site, and Hotel Booking Portal of the Year in 2015.

According to Charles de Moucheron, Jumia Travel's Chief Operating Officer, the portal will integrate with existing systems to make hotel management easier. “After integrating the first channel managers in earlier in the year, we are now integrating multiple hospitality software solutions for our hotels partners so as to improve and simplify operations”, Charles said in a statement.

The functionality is similar to HotelOga, which provides hotels with a booking platform, website, and email access, which was founded by former Jovago (now Jumia Travel) Managing Director and co-founder, Marek Zmysłowski.

With online travel sales forecasted to grow to US$762 billion by 2019, the travel industry is catching up fast. The convenience of managing bookings online cannot be understated, and it appears that this move by Jumia is aimed at making updates available in real time.

In order to stay ahead of the curve on current and forward-focused trends, the hospitality industry needs to meet the needs of both customers and partners in the hotel industry, and technology one way of meeting this new demand.

Jumia Travel's Extranet enters a market characterized by a “mobile-first” approach, with plans to include features such as reviews, statistics and a finance section where hotels can review their invoices.

As more people seek to travel for leisure, the option to make bookings online presents a clear advantage. While travel bookings and reservations could only be made by visiting travel agencies or ordering by phone, travel websites and mobile apps are putting the decision-making process on where to stay in the hands of the customer. Users can create their own itineraries, compare prices and see what other visitors thought of the place thanks to online reviews.

It should be interesting to see what the future holds for the hospitality industry, but one thing is clear – it is increasingly in the hands of the customer, and the internet is making the travel experience much easier to manage.

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