[June 24, 2000] The HITIS Project is maintained by the American Hotel & Motel Association. "The goal of HITIS is to identify general functions (of property management systems) and standardize their implementation. In addition, a common data dictionary for hospitality relevant data is to be developed. HITIS provides an object standard and therefore specifies standardized interfaces for objects providing the identified functions. [Through its Advisory Committee], the goal of HITIS is to "create computer interfacing standards that will accelerate the hospitality industry's technology usage and lower automation costs. The HITIS Project's mission is to direct a non-proprietary, consensus based process to develop voluntary standards for the integration of evolving computerized system and sub-system transactions in the hospitality industry."
In July, 1999, "the HITIS Advisory Committee unanimously endorsed the recommendation to designate the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), as the primary platform mapping for the HITIS standards. . . Both the WHIS and JHIS groups recommended to AH&MA the endorsement of a third mapping, the conversion of the object interface to XML. An interface protocol in XML will provide a common denominator that provides interoperability without the need for bridging technology between the two original mappings. . . All HITIS standards are based on the Interface Specifications, which provides the definition of the basic data types used, naming conventions and general practices found throughout the suite of the 15 individual interface standards. The Interface Specifications, Data Dictionary and Glossary of Terms are found in the HITIS Correlation and Interface Standard document. The XML mapping is enhanced by the use of the HITIS models in Unified Modeling Language (UML) and associated object-oriented documentation that defines the business scope of each of the standards and descriptions of the individual data elements. The UML model serves as an electronic description of the HITIS standards and a basis for developers to use to build applications in an object oriented architecture."
On February 23, 2000 the Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) project, "spearheaded by the American Hotel & Motel Association (AH&MA), [announced that it had] successfully developed seven Central Reservation Systems (CRS) standards. The addition of these seven standards, brings the total number of HITIS standards to 15. The completed standards also include remote devices used to manage computer interfaces between such items as a kiosk or electronic key/lock system with a property management system, and posting devices, commonly used to communicate information regarding a charge from a sub-system (such as a point-of-sale system) to a guest's folio." As per minutes of the Infrastructure Technical Committee (March 2000), work was underway toward "agreement on the format of the HITIS standards as they are mapped from the object-oriented model defined in Unified Modeling Language (UML) to eXtensible Markup Language (XML). Once the revisions from this meeting are incorporated into the standards, the HITIS standards will be presented to the HITIS Certification & Compliance sub-committee as Version 1.0 for publication by AH&MA. . . .The purpose of mapping the HITIS standards to XML is to ensure interoperablity - that two systems are able to talk to one another without further negotiations required. In the hospitality industry, two different environments must be considered. In a closed environment, it is easy to agree to exchange messages in a certain way. In order to exchange message in an open, Wide-Area-Network environment, HITIS must define the Infrastructure. . . . HITIS datatypes are to be mapped to the current W3C datatypes for XML schema, where corresponding data types exist. Should they be modified upon approval as a W3C standard, HITIS will accept the standard as modified. Unique HITIS data types (e.g., DayOfWeek pattern, etc.) are modeled in UML and mapped to the appropriate XML representation of the class. . .The decisions made by the Infrastructure committee will be incorporated into the UML model and in the sample XML message instances, DTDs, and schema files by AH&MA's technology consultant, CynterCon, in the 30 day period following the meeting. Following those revisions, the HITIS standards Version 1.0 will be published and available for implementation by the industry. . ."
A meeting of the HITIS Advisory Committee on April 14, 2000 included discussion on "conversion of the HITIS standards to XML, transitioning the standards writing to a new technology consultant, and cooperation with the Open Travel Alliance (OTA)." As of June 2000, the HITIS Initiative "has completed the extension of Phase I Standards to eXtensible Markup Language (XML)." And: "The Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) initiative of the American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA) and the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) reached an agreement June 20  to develop and maintain standards technically relevant to their industries; the agreement will turn responsibility for the Central Reservation System (CRS) standards over to OTA, while HITIS will maintain the responsibility for all standards not involved in the CRS environment."
- "Correlation and Interface Specification: XML Interface Mapping." - "HITIS Correlation and Interface Specification Document." [HTML] April 14, 2000. American Hotel & Motel Association. Summary: "This document describes the conventions used in the HITIS object specifications and in the XML interface protocol. Specifically, it defines the fundamental data types and maps them to the XML Schema Definition Language as proposed by the W3C. The object data types, including the ranges of values, and the objects and attributes common to all HITIS interfaces are described along with their correlating representation in eXtensible Markup Language, XML. In addition, the conventions for mapping all HITIS object operations to message sets are described, including rules for naming certain corresponding elements and attributes in XML." Excerpts: "XML presents a simple way to represent the object in serialized form. By establishing the XML message format (effectively a class), the object can be formed into a packet and passed over communication lines as an XML Document. There is no remote operation necessary, and the data has been passed from one system to another. . . . The Use of XML Schema: A considerable amount of work within the HITIS committees went in to the identification and standardization of data types for use within the HITIS standards. One of the strong points of XML Schema is that the schema document is actually an XML document, unlike a DTD, which has its own format. XML Schema also allows the specification of a data type for an element or attribute. Data types specify the format of the data, provide for validation of the type by the XML parser, and enable data-type-specific processing. IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems all endorse the proposed XML Schema recommendation. There would be little risk in using the XML Schema method as the single way of documenting the HITIS message format. . ." Document also in Word .DOC and PDF, [cache]
- Posting Devices: Event Notification; Folio Posting; Folio Query; Guest Messages; Room Status
- Central Reservation Systems. There are many supporting documents with UML diagrams, XML DTDs, and XML Schemas. [Agent Commissions Availability Query and Booking Request; Availability, Rates and Inventory; Guest Stay History; Profile Syncronization; Reservation Syncronization; Statistics
- Remote Devices: Check-In Notification; Check-Out Notification; Security
- Also: Payment Processing and Accounting; Food Beverage and Retail Management Systems; Casino Management; Booking Activities/Golf Tee-Time Reservations; Data Dictionary; Glossary of Terminology
"AH&MA Sanctions Mapping the HITIS Interface Protocol to XML - "In July, 1999, the HITIS Advisory Committee unanimously endorsed the recommendation to designate the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), as the primary platform mapping for the HITIS standards. The HITIS standards, designed in concept to be platform neutral, were recognized as initially requiring two platform mappings; one to the Windows operating system and one to the Java language platform." [cache]
HITIS Advisory Committee Meeting minutes of July 1999 - Discuss the decision to use XML in conjunction with UML models. [cache]
"JAVA for HITIS IMPLEMENTATION SOLUTIONS. XML and the HITIS Project." JHIS Documentation. "Both the Java and Windows environments share a common vision of business logic for the hospitality industry, and further place that vision in a distributed object model. The initial (and possibly idealistic) goal was to be able to communicate between different operating systems using the HITIS standards. That would mean any middleware, in any programming language, would have complete plug-and-play capability. To reach that goal, the value of XML to the HITIS and JHIS mapping efforts is for use as the transport mechanism between systems, and a way to imbed an object outside of the purely EJB framework. And in addition to serving as middleware for distributed objects, XML should be considered a candidate for a purely non-denominational mapping..." [cache
"JAVA for HITIS IMPLEMENTATION SOLUTIONS JHIS Recommendations to AH&M." JHIS Documentation. [cache
Message Architecture Alternatives: - PMS One-Way: Sending XML Formatted Messages over TCP/IP (The new TPI will send the HITIS-compliant XML messages through TCP/IP to the PMS Message Handler. Both of these components will work independently over this data stream for the object representation. This architecture requires the HITIS/XML DTD's to be used for interpreting the messages); - PMS One-way: XML Messages through COM-based Queueing module (This architecture is similar to the current TPI implementation on NT using COM interfaces. The new TPI will have some published COM interfaces that support the retrieval of HITIS messages); - PMS One-way: COM-based HITIS components-2 (This architecture will use Microsoft's COM to implement all the HITIS components. COM will be used to represent the entire tree of objects as specified by HITIS); - PMS One-way: XML Messaging Protocol and XML data stream (This architecture proposes extending the use of XML for messaging. This requires us to define not only the XML DTDs for HITIS data elements, but also a protocol to support behavioral aspects of a HITIS-compliant system. The HITIS-compliant entities will use the XML messaging infrastructure as a middleware protocol for method invocations).
Minutes: HITIS Infrastructure Technical Committee Meeting #4. Wednesday, July 7, 1999. "The purpose of this meeting was to provide recommendations to AH&MA about how to pursue mapping the HITIS standards in eXtensible Markup Language (XML), and to define the structure and format of the HITIS standards in XML as it relates to the object technology already defined in UML in Version 1.0." [cache]
[June 23, 2000] "Travel and Hospitality Industries Join Forces to Converge Standards Development Efforts." - "The Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) initiative of the American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA) and the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) reached an agreement June 20  to develop and maintain standards technically relevant to their industries. The following key players represented the organizations during the negotiations: Robert Elliott, vice president of the AH&MA and chairman of the HITIS Advisory Committee, with Mike Kistner of Cendant, Anne Cole of Hilton and Nick Lanyon of Lanyon, Inc., from OTA's Board of Directors. In addition, several members of the HITIS Advisory Committee participated in reaching the agreement, including Jeff Eckard of Bass Hotels & Resorts, David Sjolander of Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, Rob Grimes of CynterCorp, Bill Geoghegan, chairman of the CRS technical committee, and Larry Chervenak of CKC, Inc. Caryl Helsel, from Kimpton Hotel Group, president of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), Scott Anderson from Cendant, and the other representatives from the hotel industry, were extremely instrumental in forging a blueprint for the coordination of the XML standards. The agreement will turn responsibility for the Central Reservation System (CRS) standards over to OTA, while HITIS will maintain the responsibility for all standards not involved in the CRS environment. OTA, which began in May 1999, now has over 125 members representing influential names in all sectors of the travel industry, including air, car rental, hotel, travel agencies, technology providers and related suppliers. The Alliance (OTA) is comprised of five working groups air, car, hotel, leisure supplier, and non-supplier together with an interoperability committee to coordinate their efforts. OTA defined its open messages with XML that makes it possible to exchange business data seamlessly among different systems, companies, and industries over the World Wide Web. Bill Fisher, President and CEO of the AH&MA stated, 'The AH&MA is very pleased to provide OTA and the hospitality and travel industries with core elements of our Central Reservation System standards from HITIS. This cooperative agreement culminates a three-year industry-wide effort led by AH&MA in developing electronic reservation booking and distribution standards. More than 130 contributors from all aspects of the hospitality industry were responsible for developing the HITIS standards. Our contribution to OTA establishes a firm foundation for OTA to move their specifications forward. AH&MA believes that this agreement serves both the hospitality and travel industries, and the resulting synergy will further enhance development and adoption of standards'."
[June 23, 2000] "Newmarket Assembles Forum to Accelerate E-Commerce Standards in Hospitality Industry. With standard formats being developed for Internet-based data exchange, top technology professionals assess what the hospitality industry must do to drive B2B e-commerce across a global economy." - "Using HITEC 2000 as an industry platform, Newmarket International, Inc. gathered an interconnected community of hospitality professionals, including representatives from the American Hotel & Motel Association (AH&MA), the Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) Advisory Committee, the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA), Microsoft Corp., and major hospitality corporations such as Wyndham International, Inc. to accelerate momentum in e-commerce standardization. The forum communicated to attending media and industry leaders how the major players will cooperate to adopt and drive open standards to create the most efficient business practices. With specifications from both OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) and AH&MA's Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS), Advisory Committee an Internet commerce trade exchange will span suppliers and markets throughout the hospitality industry. 'Now that HITIS has completed the extension of our Phase I standards to XML, we are eager to see the industry implement standard content and messaging industry-wide,' said Bob Elliott of the HITIS Advisory Committee. 'With XML as the common denominator, each participant in this vast industry can adapt to the standard depending on where each fits in the market. I am pleased that HITIS and the OTA are now committed to working together to develop one common standard for reservation booking in the travel industry'. 'The standards are being set, the road has been opened; XML is the way,' said Steve Giblin. 'Our use of XML for lead exchange among our publishing partners and Newmarket customers has verified how quickly existing systems can interface and adapt to emerging solutions.' Newmarket created MeetingBroker.com, which now serves as a testimonial to the capabilities of XML and open standards, and which will enable Newmarket to contribute effectively to further developments in HITIS and OTA standards. AH&MA's HITIS has been at work for several years developing interchange formats to link hotels' front office, back office and central reservations systems to share information in a common format. Both OTA and HITIS have selected XML (eXtensible Markup Language) as the data transfer format which makes technology development and maintenance easiest." See XML-based Standards - 'The HITIS Initiative has completed the extension of Phase I Standards to eXtensible Markup Language (XML).' See also "OpenTravel Alliance (OTA)."
Background: Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards Excerpt: ". . . By creating re-usable functions rather than device class messages, it is possible to minimize the number of specifications necessary between the devices and the PMS or Food, Beverage and Retail Management Systems (FBRMS). Recently, new devices have been introduced which do not fall into existing device classes or categories. However, the messages necessary for these new classes are in fact handled within the functions that are already specified for other device classes. A new device may merely adhere to already existing function specifications and requires no additional programming on the part of the PMS vendor to accommodate it. The result is that rather than defining a specification for each class of devices, we can instead analyze all the functions that all devices must accomplish. This considerably reduces the number of standards which must be written and maintained, and makes the acceptance of new device classes a moot issue. In an attempt to address these specifications, the American Hotel and Motel Association has initiated the Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) project. The goal of HITIS is to identify those functions that are used by all the various devices and to standardize the implementation of these functions. In addition to the identification of the functions that must be available to devices, the HITIS committee believes that it is important for a common data dictionary to be developed. This would allow all systems to use the same structures for things like room numbers, names, addresses, etc. All standards would then include only those data elements that have been identified as part of the data dictionary, and all vendors could rely on those data elements being supported by all HITIS compliant systems."
See also: "OpenTravel Alliance (OTA)."