Helping thousands of hoteliers make better buying decisions every month
Marriott
Denihan Hospitality Group
Fairmont
starwood
The Standard
Ace Hotel
Kimpton
Accor Hotels
Ace Hotel
Ace Hotel

What is a hotel booking engine? A hotel booking engine is essentially the shopping cart equivalent for a hotel website and it’s sole purpose is to drive and facilitate online bookings via a hotel's website (i.e. direct bookings). A good online booking engine is optimized for conversion by providing a seamless booking process where your guests can view rates and room types and complete a booking as simply as possible. An effective booking engine should map data directly into your property management system through a channel manager in real time. It should take credit card payments in PCI and P... Read the full Booking Engine software overview

10 Best Booking Engine

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Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted SiteMinder as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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SiteMinder Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
100 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the travel industry as we know it – travellers are booking direct now more than ever, so it’s time to take control of your gues...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted SiteMinder as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Best Hotel Software
Hoteliers voted Cloudbeds as the #1 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Cloudbeds Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
99 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Mybookings is Cloudbeds’ commission-free booking engine for your website and Facebook page. Our booking engine works for hotels, hostels, b&bs, vacation rentals, and more. We ma...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Winner Badge
2021 Best Hotel Software
Hoteliers voted Cloudbeds as the #1 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Bookassist as the #2 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Bookassist

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
99 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Bookassist is The Direct Booking Expert™, working with hotels to build their brand online, drive direct business to their branded website, capture bookings with world class book...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Bookassist as the #2 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Avvio as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Avvio - Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
99 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Our mission is the help you be more successful and more profitable by driving maximum bookings via your own direct website. We believe that through technology every hotel can have...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Avvio as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Profitroom as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Profitroom Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
98 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Profitroom Booking Engine is a booking system that guarantees an increase in direct bookings. It makes it possible for rooms, offers, and packages to be sold directly through the ...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Profitroom as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Net Affinity as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Net Affinity (Booking Engine)

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
98 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Our booking engine is built for the independent hotel. We keep the guest's experience top of mind, integrating cutting-edge conversion optimisation technology into the booking en...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Net Affinity as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted D-Edge as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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D-EDGE - Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
93 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Our booking engine is made to maximise direct bookings. Your hotel's website should be your most profitable sales channel. Our booking engine will boost your conversion rate and t...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted D-Edge as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Simplotel as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Simplotel Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
92 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Trusted by 2000+ hotels, Simplotel's Booking Engine that completely matches your website design has successfully helped hotels of all sizes in increasing their direct bookings. Wi...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Simplotel as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted innRoad as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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innRoad Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
88 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Due to our high converting booking engine, clients have reported a 20% increase in direct bookings. It’s easy to use, user-friendly and offers a built-in rate checker that provi...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted innRoad as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Mews as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Mews Booking Engine

HotelTech Logo score
HT SCORE
87 out of 100
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Drive direct bookings and reduce website abandonment by giving guests a simple, effortless booking experience. The ready-made Mews Booking Engine works as both a widget and a stan...

Geography: Regional
Geography: Global Verified Customer Support: Yes No
Finalist Badge
2021 Finalist HotelTechAwards
Hoteliers voted Mews as the #3 Booking Engine provider in the 2021 HotelTechAwards
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Recent Booking Engine Articles

What are the 5 Kinds of Hotel Booking Software?

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 weeks ago

With an increasing number of guests choosing online booking - up to 80% of guests under the age of 30 - a well-informed hotelier should have a solid understanding of the hotel booking software landscape. The term “hotel booking software” can refer to a few different types of software, which can be confusing for hoteliers who might not work in the technology space on a regular basis. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the five main categories of booking software in the hotel industry: OTAs, Central Reservations Systems (CRS), booking engines, channel managers, and property management systems (PMS). By the end of this blog post, you’ll know the ins and outs of each so you can maximize your property’s online reach and make the right technology decisions for your hotel.   Property Management Systems A property management system is at the core of your hotel tech stack and automates most administrative tasks within the hotel. It houses all of your reservations, guest profiles, billing information, room statuses, and more. Nearly all hotel departments use the PMS on a daily basis: front desk agents check in guests, housekeeping teams learn which rooms need to be cleaned, finance teams manage billing, leadership teams look at reporting and trends.  Booking is just the first element of a PMS but functionality should also include capabilities for hotel operations and guest experience management. The top 3 rated PMS vendors on Hotel Tech Report at the time of writing include: Cloudbeds, Clock PMS+ and Mews. Without any booking engine or channel management capabilities, a PMS is only considered hotel booking software if we think about reservations booked manually by hotel staff. But most PMSs include modules for additional functions; some PMSs even include CRS, channel management, and booking engine functionality. If your hotel uses a PMS that connects directly to OTAs and has integrated an CRS, channel manager, and booking engine, that PMS might be the only system you need.  Sometimes when smaller properties like b&bs, inns, or hostels leverage an integrated PMS + Channel Manager + Booking Engine it's referred to as hotel management software (or hotel management system). Want to learn more about Hotel PMS? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Property Management Systems   Central Reservations System: Manage Online Bookings It’s a good rule of thumb to diversify your mix of reservation channels, so most hotels don’t rely solely on OTA bookings. Large hotels and chain hotels often use central reservation systems (CRSs) to manage bookings made through their own reservations teams. CRSs allow various reservations agents to view real-time pricing (rates) and availability and create, edit, or cancel reservations in one centralized system. The top 3 rated CRS vendors on Hotel Tech Report at the time of writing include: Pegasus, GuestCentric and Vertical Booking. A hotel wouldn’t use a central reservations system alone, though. The CRS would receive rates from a revenue management system, exchange availability data and reservation details with a property management system, and possibly also integrate with a channel manager to distribute inventory to third-party channels like OTAs or the GDS. CRSs deliver the most benefit to hotels with reservations teams or which are part of a brand or chain with off-site reservations offices. Want to learn more about Hotel Central Reservations Systems? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Central Reservation Systems   Booking Engine: Drive Direct Bookings from Your Hotel Website Besides booking through reservations staff, guests can also make reservations on hotels’ own websites - but in order for that to be possible, the hotel website needs a booking engine. Booking engines display real-time rates and availability, house the booking process and gathering of guest details, and integrate the confirmed reservations with the hotel’s property management system. The top 3 rated booking engine vendors on Hotel Tech Report at the time of writing include: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, and Bookassist. Some property management systems include integrated booking engines, and some hotel-specific website builders also come with booking engine capability. But even if your existing tech stack includes a built-in booking engine, it’s worth doing some extra research to find the most user-friendly booking engine. Glitches or slow loading speeds can make guests change their mind about booking at your hotel, and, on the flip side, a great booking engine with upselling and customization capabilities can increase your conversion rate and your RevPAR. Want to learn more about Hotel Booking Engines? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Booking Engines   Channel Manager Direct reservations - whether through a reservations agent or your hotel’s website - usually don’t lead to a full house every night. A savvy hotelier leverages third-party channels to maximize online exposure and develop varied segments of guests. In order to work with third-party channels most efficiently, hotels use channel management software. The top 3 rated channel manager vendors on Hotel Tech Report at the time of writing include: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds and RateGain. Channel managers often support connections to hundreds of third-party sites that range from big OTAs (Booking.com and Expedia) to smaller niche sites (HostelWorld and Mr & Mrs Smith) and wholesalers (Hotelbeds). Manually updating rates and availability on hundreds of sites is impossible, so a channel manager makes it easy to keep all of your distribution channels accurate and up-to-date. Some property management systems include integrated channel management functionality; if not, be sure to choose a channel manager that supports integration with your PMS so reservations can sync seamlessly. Want to learn more about Hotel Channel Managers? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Channel Managers   Online Travel Agencies (OTA) Out of all those reservations booked online, many of them come through online travel agencies, or OTAs. You can think of these digital marketplaces as an Amazon for travel; travelers can use various criteria to search through available hotels, flights, rental cars, and more, then complete the booking process through that marketplace platform. Popular OTAs include: Expedia, Booking.com, C-Trip, and TripAdvisor. OTAs offer significant benefits to guests, such as loyalty programs, credibility, and the convenience of having all the available options at your fingertips. Guests complete their booking on the OTA and receive a confirmation from the OTA, at which point the OTA sends a notification to the hotel with the reservation details. Those reservation details integrate with the hotel’s property management system or travel to the property management system via a channel manager - more on that later! For hoteliers, OTAs also deliver plenty of benefits. OTAs give hotels visibility among massive audiences (Booking.com receives well over 200 million monthly visits, for example) and access to marketing channels that would be cost-prohibitive if the hotel tried to get similar reach independently. Many hotels also experience the “billboard effect,” in which travelers find a hotel they like on an OTA, and then they search for that hotel’s direct website to complete their booking. However, all this marketing exposure comes at a cost; most OTAs charge commissions between 15% and 20% on each confirmed reservation. ** What else would you like to learn about hotel booking software? Let us know!

Hotel Tech Report Recognizes TravelClick for Top-Rated iHotelier® Booking Engine 4.0™ with 2018 HotelTechAward

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 years ago

February 12, 2018 – Hotel Tech Report, the premiere global research platform for hotel technology globally, announced today that it has named TravelClick, a leading global provider of data and revenue-generating solutions for hoteliers, as the recipient of a 2018 HotelTechAward for its top-rated iHotelier® Booking Engine 4.0™, based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries. Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title.   “The booking engine is a critical component of any hotel’s direct booking ratio and channel profitability,” added Jordan Hollander, Hotel Tech Report co-founder. “What makes TravelClick’s Booking Engine 4.0 so unique is that it not only provides an intuitive, responsive user experience across all devices, but it also guides guests seamlessly through the booking path with interactive message displays and clear calls to action. It is truly a must-have for hoteliers to be successful.”   “This award is a testament to the significant investments that TravelClick has made in our recently relaunched iHotelier central reservations system,” said Curtis Brewer, Senior Vice President, Reservations and Web Solutions, TravelClick. “We’ve made it our mission to bring a next-generation e-commerce experience to hoteliers all over the globe so that they are better able to maximize direct bookings and recapture abandoned guests at the same time.”   A Brussels- based corporate Director of Distribution told Hotel Tech Report that “conversion rate results, aesthetics, flexibility of layout and functions, system support and the logic of the booking flow” separate TravelClick’s iHotelier from the pack.   Hotel Tech Report’s HotelTechAwards platform leverages real customer data to determine best-in-class products that help hoteliers to grow their bottom lines. To learn more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/ihotelier-by-travelclick/.   ### About Hotel Tech Report Hotel Tech Report (www.hoteltechreport.com) is the premiere global research platform for hotel technology globally. We help buyers save time identifying the best technology products to run their hotel properties by easily comparing vendors based on unbiased reviews from verified users. HotelTechReport's global community consists of hoteliers spanning 40+ countries with representation from every major hotel brand and thousands of independent hotels.  Our platform connects these hoteliers with hundreds of the world’s top hotel technology suppliers with billions of dollars in market capitalization. About TravelClick TravelClick offers innovative, cloud-based and data-driven solutions for hotels around the globe to maximize revenue. TravelClick enables over 38,000 hoteliers to drive better business decisions and know, acquire, convert and retain guests. The Company’s interconnected suite of solutions includes Business Intelligence, Reservations & Booking Engine, Media, Web & Video and Guest Management. As a trusted hotel partner with more than 30 years of industry experience, TravelClick operates in 176 countries, with local experts in 39 countries and 14 offices in New York, Atlanta, Barcelona, Bucharest, Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Ottawa, Paris, Shanghai and Singapore. The Company also provides its hotel customers with access to a global network of over 600 travel-focused partners. Follow TravelClick on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Recent Booking Engine News & Community Updates

Cendyn and Pegasus to Merge

Cendyn
3 weeks ago

Today Cendyn, the leading provider of cloud-based software and eCommerce services for the hospitality industry, enters into a merger agreement with Pegasus, a leading provider of revenue and distribution solutions for the hospitality industry. The combination of both companies provides hoteliers with a platform to maximize their direct-booking channel and enhance the guest experience across every touchpoint. With many hoteliers struggling with resources and profitability, this merger offers a lifeline for those looking to build on topline revenue through their direct channels. At the heart of this merger lies Cendyn’s Customer Data Platform, Starling, and Pegasus’s CRS, which, combined, provides hoteliers access to a true system of record for profiles and rates for every guest. Leveraging the alignment of these key data points puts hoteliers at the forefront of personalization to enhance the direct-booking experience. “We’re incredibly excited about this combination with Pegasus. As our industry recovers from the pandemic, the merging of these companies brings scale and stability to our customers, offering hoteliers a vertically integrated technology platform that enables them to deliver on a broad range of hospitality needs,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO & President at Cendyn. "A seamless integration between these solutions solidifies our commitment to personalizing and optimizing the guest journey as well as empowering hoteliers to maximize their direct booking channel." "At Pegasus, we strived to empower hoteliers to provide their guests with the best direct booking channel experience, while ensuring comprehensive distribution of inventory. The combination of Cendyn and Pegasus takes this to the next level enabling unprecedented personalization of the guest experience, not just during the search and book phase but throughout the customer lifecycle too,” said Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. “Above all else, we’ll see longer-lasting and more profitable relationships between hoteliers and their guests." “The combination of these companies, and their solutions, allows hoteliers to take back control of their direct-booking channels post-pandemic. Additionally, it enables them to put their revenue needs first, and drive demand when they need it most,” said Ankur Randev, Chief Commercial Officer at Highgate. This merger follows the Cendyn and Rainmaker merger in 2019 and, most recently, the Cendyn and NextGuest merger in 2021. In 2019, Travel Tripper and Pegasus merged. Bringing together these enterprise software solutions in the industry has allowed Cendyn to spearhead global growth and optimize its offering for hoteliers as the preferred vendor for those looking to deliver revenue growth at scale. The financial details of the merger were not disclosed. The transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.   ABOUT PEGASUS Pegasus combines high-tech innovation with high-touch service to give hoteliers more control over their revenue and distribution strategy than ever before. Following their merger with Travel Tripper, Pegasus enables hoteliers to better connect with their guests through an innovative and flexible platform of Reservations, E-commerce, Global Sales, and Business Intelligence solutions that help hotels drive demand and increase revenue and profitability, including the Pegasus CRS, named Best CRS 2020 by Hotel Tech Report.  With more than 30 years of experience in global distribution, Pegasus serves hotels across 120 countries from eight offices worldwide in New York, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Hyderabad. For more information, visit www.pegs.com.

SiteMinder Partners With Digital Marketing Leaders To Open Up The Full Direct Booking Opportunity For Hotels

SiteMinder
1 month ago

SiteMinder, the world’s leading open hotel commerce platform, has partnered with the travel industry’s digital marketing leaders to open up the full direct booking opportunity for its more than 32,000 hotel customers. The partnerships form part of Plug-in Apps—an extension of the SiteMinder Booking Engine—which brings digital marketing to the hands of hoteliers for the first time and allows them to build their own technology stack. Plug-in Apps comprise best-of-breed applications in digital marketing, remarketing, price comparison, chatbots, loyalty, upselling and reviews, including Sojern, HiJiffy, Laasie, and The Hotels Network. Their integration, which follows the 33% growth in direct reservations that SiteMinder saw through its hotel commerce platform during the first half of this year, when compared to the same period in 2019, will support hotels in enhancing the booking journey of their guests and driving conversions. Already, the SiteMinder Booking Engine produces an average return on investment of 56x for users globally. “In the United States and Europe, travel has come roaring back from pandemic lows, and we see a similar trend starting around the world in key markets like Latin America,” says Noreen Henry, Chief Revenue Officer at Sojern, a digital marketing provider powered by artificial intelligence and traveler intent data. “Now is the time for hotels to ‘ride the wave’ of recovery by using real-time travel data and multichannel marketing designed to convert. By integrating Sojern’s world-class programmatic advertising solutions with SiteMinder, hotels can effortlessly reach travelers searching for a place to stay, drive them to book direct, and then track and measure success.” SiteMinder’s 2021 global consumer research, The Dynamic Traveler: A New Era of Hotel Guest, revealed that an average of 39% of travelers globally expect to arrange their next trip directly with the accommodation venue, compared to 36% in 2020. At least 4-in-5 travelers are very supportive (14.88%), supportive (39.19%) or indifferent (28.09%) about hotels using their personal data to better their stay. “Direct bookings are loved by guests and hotels alike,” says Inga Latham, Chief Product Officer at SiteMinder. “Through Plug-in Apps, hotels can now use the most relevant technology solutions that offer high returns and meet their guests’ expectations, minimize friction at every stage of the booking journey and bring efficiencies, without having to worry about how they will integrate with their existing systems. Importantly, these solutions offer hotels greater potential for revenue and control of the guest experience.” The addition of Plug-in Apps to SiteMinder’s platform brings the size of SiteMinder’s partner ecosystem to more than 1350, encompassing distribution channels, property management systems, hotel applications and hotel consultants.

Bookassist Booking Engine is 21 Years Young!

Bookassist
2 months ago

Time flies. After going live with our first hotel on August 8, 2000, we received the first booking late on the evening of August 11, 2000 – after 3 days of wondering nervously if there was indeed anyone out there on the internet looking for a hotel to book! How times have changed as that new-born baby eventually grew to adulthood. And I couldn’t be more proud. We always take the time every year to celebrate our “Szebesta Day” on August 11 as the real birthday of Bookassist, and my thanks to Dr Szebesta for continuing to graciously lend his name to the event! Milestones, birthdays, they are times for celebration. But also for reflection. After the last 18 months of unprecedented turbulence that we’ve all just lived through, I want to use this landmark event as an opportunity to firstly pay tribute to the wonderful staff at Bookassist, an incredibly dedicated and professional team and really great people, for continuing to stick with the dream and for staying focused on what we can bring to our hotel partners as the hospitality industry begins the road to recovery. I also want to personally express my gratitude to each and every one of our clients, many of whom have been through the toughest period of their professional lives, for sticking with us and for continuing to put their faith in the Bookassist team and their skills. We intend to be with you every step of the way toward recovery and future growth, and we promise we will keep delivering. Twenty one years ago there were few, if any, innovating in the direct booking space as Bookassist was. Twenty one years ago many hotels had no idea of the potential for direct booking and that they could be fully in control of their own online presence. Since that time we have continued to innovate with award-winning services, with web design accompanying our booking engine launch, followed by digital marketing services as old as Adwords itself, a first mover into mobile booking in 2010, GDS distribution, a pioneer in metasearch, and more recently our advanced Bookassist Intelligence platform. All focused on making bookings more profitable for hotels. At Bookassist we had from day one a singular belief that hotels would ultimately embrace direct booking and would eventually put it at the core of their business strategy. We believed we could make a difference. We believed that if we did our job well, and above all were always honest with our clients, we would survive and we would prosper. We still believe all those things, and indeed we are still here and stronger than ever. We are very proud to have played a part over the last two decades in pushing the hotel sector forward towards less dependence on intermediaries and stronger direct business. Here’s to the next 21. -- Dr Des O’Mahony, Co-founder and CEO of Bookassist

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Booking Engine Category Overview

What is a hotel booking engine?

A hotel booking engine is essentially the shopping cart equivalent for a hotel website and it’s sole purpose is to drive and facilitate online bookings via a hotel's website (i.e. direct bookings). A good online booking engine is optimized for conversion by providing a seamless booking process where your guests can view rates and room types and complete a booking as simply as possible. An effective booking engine should map data directly into your property management system through a channel manager in real time. It should take credit card payments in PCI and PSD2 compliant ways by integrating with a payment gateway.

Read our article: What is a Hotel Booking Engine? for more detail

 

How can a booking engine improve profitability and efficiency?

  • Increase Direct Revenue: Using a Booking Engine can result in an uplift in direct bookings through your own website. This brings many benefits, the most significant being a decrease in the cost of acquisition per booking. 
  • Efficient Management & Distribution: Using an integrated booking engine ( which integrates with PMS & Channel Manager) can reduce the time management required to update multiple platforms, eliminates the need to manually input bookings into your PMS system and allows you to control your inventory distribution. 
  • Smarter insights: Access to Booking Data, allowing you to better understand your guests, what and how they like to book along with data to better improve your product offering in line with the customer’s needs.

 

What are the metrics that I can use to convince ownership that we should invest in a new hotel booking engine?

  • Direct Booking - OTA ratio Before signing on with a new IBE provider make sure you have data on your ratio of direct bookings - OTA bookings. Track success by trying to hold as many other variables constant and watching the change.
  • Booking engine conversion rate: Ultimately the best measure of success is knowing how many people came to the booking engine and of those, how many ended up booking rooms. When switching providers, this is a true test of success. 
  • Time to completion: Go into your local coffee shop and offer to buy people coffee for completing a quick task. Request that they go on your hotel website and tell them to book a specific room type on a specific date. Time them from start to stop then ask them how easy it was to book. Repeat this for 20-30 people for maximum results and take diligent notes.  This is similar to how you want to improve the guest experience on property by shortening the time required to check-in.  Online reservations through your booking system are no different, a great guest experience means a great booking experience and that your guests can make a hotel reservation without hassle.  Your reservation system is the first touch point in the guest journey so it's critical that the relationship starts off on the right foot.

 

What are the most important features of a booking engine?

  • Channel Manager Integration: To ensure that your room inventory across all of your online channels is automatically updated and to prevent issues like overbooking, it’s vital that your booking engine integrates with your channel manager.  When a room is booked via an online travel agent you'll want to ensure that it isn't still available on your direct channel. What is a channel manager?
  • Mobile Booking & Social Media Compatibility: It is absolutely essential that your booking engine works seamlessly on mobile and is compatible with the social media websites that your hotel is listed on. 
  • Data Collection: Your booking engine should provide you with transparent, in-depth insights that will allow you to find demand and booking patterns. Google Analytics isn't robust enough and your booking engine should collect actionable data that passes through to your CRS.
  • Flexible to Your Hotels Needs: Does the booking engine display the languages and currency that your guests are familiar with? Does it provide online voucher redemption or does it offer wedding and corporate booking modules? These are some questions to determine if the booking engine is flexible to your hotel’s needs.  While you shouldn't demand a fully customizable booking engine, you should be able to make it fit the look and feel of your hotel website for consistency.
  • Set up, Service & Support: Perhaps the most important point of all is service i.e. how you are looked after by your provider. What is their set up, ongoing support and training like? Do they make you feel special? Is your business important to them?
  • Commission-free bookings: It's okay to pay a fee for bookings that come through third party distribution channels like Expedia and TripAdvisor but you shouldn't have to pay for ones that come directly through your own hotel reservation system, it should be zero commission.  For independent hotels your booking engine should drive your most profitable bookings.
  • Promotions and real time optimization: The best booking engines today leverage machine learning to deliver targeted promotions based on web visitor behavior that ultimately streamline the reservation process.  They leverage promo codes to target based on geography and web traffic origination source, etc.  Many booking engines in the hospitality industry today even allow special offers like e-commerce platforms where hoteliers can offer upsells and add-ons to a booking.  These next gen all-in-one IBEs deliver incredible user experience and make it extremely easy for guests to see exactly what the benefits are of various room rates. This is where you can excel in your direct sales channel when competing with OTAs .
  • True partnership: a great hotel booking system provider is more than a "vendor", they'll be the coach that bridges the gap between hotel managers, hotel operations teams and the world of data, analytics and UX design to help you succeed.  These best of breed partners act as an extension of the team for accommodation providers they work with.

 

What makes a great hotel booking engine?

Hotel management takes constant iteration and improvement to succeed due to the hyper competitive nature of the business.  The best booking software and hotel technology providers are also iterating which over time leads to better performance.  Load speed is one of the most critical factors when considering a booking engine as it has an extremely high correlation to conversion rates.  Additionally, mobile is increasingly important each year and it’s where guest in many markets prefer to book.  If your mobile experience is poor, expect them to book on an OTA.  Also expect your PPC (e.g. Google AdWords) campaigns to be less effective.  Optimization features allow for personalized offers and tactics similar to what you see on OTAs.  Things like dynamic pricing, geo-targeting, integrated rate match and rooms remaining widgets materially increase conversion.

 

What is the typical pricing for a hotel booking engine?

Most booking engines and hotel reservation software today are commission-free and run on a subscription (SaaS) model.  After all, you shouldn't have to pay a commission on bookings through your direct channel; however, some smaller properties like guesthouses and vacation rentals opt for this model to offset expenses slow months.

 

How long does it usually take for a hotel to implement new a booking engine?

Implementation timelines depend on the provider you decide to work with. A Cloud based online booking system can be set up very quickly, so the implementation time is often determined by how much resources the hotel can allocate to the project. Other tasks that often need to be completed during the set up phase: 

  • Domain setup - your IT company will need to assist with this 
  • Search Box needs to be added to your website - Depending on who hosts your website, either your new provider or hosting company can do this for you. 
  • Training - Often this is completed via online mediums and resources centers Connectivity of existing channel manager / payment systems
  • Population of hotel profile and inventory

 

How do I know when it’s time for my hotel to move onto new a booking engine?

Compare the average to your current hotel booking system provider and calculate the change in booking volume holding all else equal.  This can help in projecting ROI.  If your booking engine doesn’t have seamless connectivity with your PMS, CRS and Channel Manager it is likely to have material limitations.  That’s not a deal breaker but make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.

 

For info on hotel booking engine trends, questions that you should ask vendors and more download the 2021 Hoteliers Guide to Booking Engines

 

FAQ

What is the best hotel booking engine?

According to HotelTechReport’s rankings, which are based on real user reviews and software specs, the best hotel booking engine is Cloudbeds, which was voted #1 at the 2021 HotelTechAwards. Other top booking engines include Bookassist, SiteMinder, NetAffinity, and AvvioSabre Synxis and TravelClick's iHotelier are also popular hotel booking systems.

 

How do you make a hotel booking engine?

Making a hotel booking engine can require significant engineering work; a connection between your property management system must be created to feed rates and availability to the booking engine, and the booking engine must be able to feed reservation details back into your PMS. Although you’ll need ample resources to build a proprietary booking engine, you’ll be able to fully tailor it to your needs.

 

How do hotel booking systems work?

A hotel booking system, or booking engine, is the software that allows guests to make reservations on the hotel’s own website (direct reservations). A great hotel booking system should make the reservation process quick and easy with a beautiful user interface, accurate rates and availability, and integrated payment processing.

 

What is the distinction between channel manager and booking engine?

A booking engine allows travelers to reserve hotel rooms on your hotel’s website. A channel manager feeds your hotel’s rates and inventory to third-party distribution channels, like Booking.com and Expedia, then synchronizes reservations from those channels into your hotel’s property management system.

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