Charing Cross Hotel GLH

Chief Technology Officer at glh. Hotels Chris Hewertson is taking on the disruptive forces in the travel market by eliminating the fees they receive and reducing costs by taking out manual processing.

The API is a disruptive transformative project to eliminate transaction fees paid to third party intermediaries and will give glh a competitive advantage

Hewertson, who was is a close second in the 2015 CIO 100, said that based on the Apigee Edg API platform, the project is "in the process of delivering an availability and booking API that can easily be used both internally and by third-party partners".

He said: "It will eliminate transaction fees currently paid to third parties for interfacing to online travel agents. It will improve hotel performance by significantly reducing the amount of manual processing of emails and faxes by enabling direct connections to more online travel agents and partners.

"It is also an enabler for our mobile strategy by exposing our availability and booking services in a REST API. It enables us to easily migrate from our legacy e-commerce platform and book services via a standard API. It helps to differentiate ourselves from our competition through technical leadership, operational efficiency and innovation delivery."

In a recent interview with CIO UK's sister title Computerworld UK, glh. Hotels enterprise architect Matthew Newton said that the organisation would be a cloud organisation by the end of the year and "wont own a server", and that by relinquishing this responsibility and building up the API strategy the IT team have become closer to the business.

glh. Hotels, which runs Thistle brand, Guoman collection of hotels, Clermont Hotels & Residences and Amba Hotels - and lists the Grovesnor, Cumberland and Charing Cross Hotels in London among its ownership, is now able to think creatively about how to improve the services it provides to its customers and hopes that by the end of the summer to offer an open API to the developer community to see what services could benefit customers, Newton said.

CTO Hewertson explained to the CIO 100 judging panel he was trusting of his small team and encourages them to make independent decisions, and seeks to foster an environment where they can push themselves and rise within the organisation.

"I'm a big proponent of promoting from within and providing people with the opportunity to stretch themselves knowing that they have support behind them to help if they overreach," Hewertson said. "This was the opportunity afforded to me a number of times in my early career and I'm keen to give other people the same opportunity.

"In the last year I promoted two people to the leadership team, both into new roles that have required them to actively learn new skills very quickly. As expected, both have excelled, and have enabled me to further promote lower down the organisation and at the same time bring in some fresh external skills that didn't exist."