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Tips Is Inntopia Commerce a “bolt-on” or a stand-alone system?

screenshot of inntopia commerce store

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Sep 8, 2020

I sometimes hear people try to make an apples-to-apples comparison between Inntopia Commerce and other ecommerce systems. While I can see where they’re coming from, the comparison is almost always flawed because they’re trying to put a system that can solve one problem side-by-side with a system that can solve a long list of problems, including that one problem.

To understand what I mean, you first have to understand how Inntopia Commerce fundamentally works as it relates to these platforms.

Two Types of Systems

In the resort industry, you typically find two types of platforms: bolt-ons and stand-alone systems.


Bolt-ons take a single POS or PMS and make some part of it better. These systems often use the same database as the original system and add a new layer of code to do things the older system doesn’t. A common example of bolt-ons are tools that provide an improved ecommerce interface for a legacy platform.

While this is a great way to improve existing systems without having to change them, the functionality of these bolt-ons is constrained by that original system. Which means some features, no matter how helpful they’d be, are impossible.

Stand-Alone Systems

For that reason, many companies will start fresh and build a stand-alone system with all the features and tools they believe a resort needs. These systems have their own database, their own servers, and their own admin areas. This opens up a world of possibilities and lots of innovative new features.

But because these platforms weren’t designed based on a PMS or POS, getting the transactions or data into those systems is challenging. This leads to clunky fulfillment and duplicate systems to manage.

What is Inntopia?

You might have noticed that the challenges of the bolt-ons and the challenges of stand-alone systems are almost exactly opposite.

  • Bolt-ons struggle with the features standalones excel at.
  • Stand-alones struggle with the integrations bolt-ons are built for.

If only a stand-alone could just have the level of integration a bolt-on has. If only the level of integration of a bolt-on could come with the features of a stand-alone.

Well, one system does. And we call it Inntopia Commerce. Inntopia Commerce takes the innovative features of a stand-alone and combines it with tight integrations to more than 75 systems so you get the best of both worlds.

Hybrid Bolt-On/Stand-Alone Model

First, yes, Inntopia lets you build products using our innovative features right in our system. And it also lets you sell live inventory as it exists in your PMS or POS. But instead of those products being locked away in Inntopia or those original systems, our custom integrations allow you to map the products you build in Inntopia to the products in your original systems. The moment a booking takes place, each transaction is synced to your core system as if it had happened there in the first place. This is why we’re able to keep our clients POS up even under heavy loads.

Multi-System Capabilities

But you don’t have just one system, right? So we designed Inntopia to not just work with one system at a time, but multiple systems. If you have live inventory in your PMS and live-inventory in your POS, your Inntopia ecommerce storefront could let guests book either rooms from the PMS or tickets from the POS. They could also book both in a single transaction with a single receipt. Meanwhile, your team would see a transaction for the rooms in your PMS and a transaction for the tickets in your POS as if they’d be booked there directly.

Your + Partners’ Products, Side-by-Side

But a vacation may include much more than just the stuff you own, so we designed Inntopia to work with ANY system including your partners’. Say good-bye to the “Lodging Partners” page on your website and say hello to the ability to sell live inventory from those hotels along-side your tickets or tee times. In fact, none of the products you sell have to be your own. It’s one of the many reasons tour operators love using Inntopia Commerce.

Everything a Guest Needs, One System

In other words, Inntopia allows you to aggregate everything a guest needs and sell it through a single interface, either on your website or over the phone:

  • Rooms from your PMS
  • Rooms from your partners; PMS
  • Activities from your POS
  • Activities from your partners’ POS
  • Products you build directly in your Inntopia account
  • Products your partners build directly in their Inntopia account

The result is higher conversions, a huge jump in reservation size, and a smoother, simpler experience for your guests.

So when we say that comparing a standalone or bolt-on system to Inntopia Commerce isn’t apples-to-apples, that’s what we mean. It’s kind of like comparing a finger nail file to a swiss army knife. A traditional stand-alone or bolt-on may do the job, but…well…that’s all it does. And if your needs change? Welp, time to start shopping…again.

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