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10 Best Internet Booking Engine

Booking engine solution built for the independent hotel with forward thinking UX to drive direct...
92
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Our booking engine is built for the independent hotel. We keep the user front and centre, integrating cutting-edge conversion optimisation... read more

  • Based in
    Dublin
  • Founded in
  • 42 employees on Linkedin
An innovative booking engine designed to optimize conversions and increase direct bookings
90
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Travel Tripper has created the industry’s most innovative booking engine—intuitive, elegant, and packed with features designed to convert... read more

  • Based in
    New York (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 163 employees on Linkedin
Conversion focused booking engine made by Mews.
87
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Our 6-step booking engine is producing some of the industry's highest conversion rates and all thanks to our relentless focus on design and user... read more

  • Based in
    Amsterdam
  • Founded in
  • 200 employees on Linkedin
Not sure which Internet Booking Engine is right for your hotel?
Get custom recommendations
Online booking engine reducing your dependency on third-party sales channels
87
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Commission-free online booking engine, with seamless website integration, secure online payments and the possibility to take bookings from your... read more

  • Based in
    The Rocks (Australia)
  • Founded in
  • 700 employees on Linkedin
More direct reservations. No commission fees.
85
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Mybookings is Cloudbeds’ commission-free booking engine for your website and Facebook page. Our booking engine works for hotels, hostels, b... read more

  • Based in
    San Diego (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 210 employees on Linkedin
Simple, intuitive and responsive user experience across all devices
Most Popular
This vendor is the most popular in the category with 87 reviews across 29 countries.
85
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Gain a competitive edge with TravelClick’s iHotelier Suite. This integration of all our solutions provides you with a holistic and data... read more

  • Based in
    New York (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 1317 employees on Linkedin
Compel guests to book with an extraordinary shopping experience and the best hotel booking system
76
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Our booking system provides guests instant gratification. The original rates and availability calendar allows users to identify the most... read more

  • Based in
    San Diego (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 59 employees on Linkedin
Reservation Services, Revenue Management for Hire, and Online Booking Engines
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
71
HT Score
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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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

SHR–Keeping Hotels Competitive. SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, provides advanced tools and services that help hotels execute their... read more

  • Based in
    Houston (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 96 employees on Linkedin
The industry's first booking engine that leverages a smart profile management system to drive dyn...
68
HT Score
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.
Learn more

COMPANY DESCRIPTION

The industry’s first booking engine that leverages a smart profile management system to drive dynamic personalization. Take advantage of this... read more

  • Based in
    Southlake (United States)
  • 7910 employees on Linkedin
Why do I need a Booking Engine? A Booking Engine replaces a booking request form on your hotel we...
64
HT Score
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.
Learn more

COMPANY DESCRIPTION

What is a Booking Engine? A booking engine is hotel reservation software or hotel booking software that can be implemented onto your hotel... read more

  • Based in
    Breda, Netherlands
  • Founded in
  • 18 employees on Linkedin

Recent Booking Engines Articles

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Smart technology buyers judge companies by capabilities not number of employees

by
Hotel Tech Report

Unseasoned technology buyers often make the assumption that the biggest companies have the best products.  It’s not a terrible assumption when you think about it. After all, didn’t the biggest companies become so big by delivering great products to clients? There’s the old adage that “nobody gets fired for buying a Xerox” - doesn’t that still hold true? It’s true that big companies often get big by delivering great service to clients but technology changes so quickly that assuming ‘bigger = better’ can lead technology buyers into precarious waters.  When companies get to a certain size, they risk losing focus on customer relationships. Many massive companies, especially in hotel tech, have become synonymous with poor customer service. Think about the last time you called your CRS vendor because the system went down but they don’t reply for 48-hours - that’s a major problem.  Similarly, when engineering team grows to a certain size, the company’s products become plagued with feature bloat. Teams become more and more disparate which makes working on the same product a disaster if the organization isn’t managed properly. Big companies are also notoriously susceptible to disruption from smaller and more nimble firms. This isn’t to say that everyone should go jump into bed with the startup down the street.  The most savvy buyers know to look for the most innovative vendors who have achieved product market fit, are innovating quickly and will become the giants of tomorrow.  Travel Tripper is a firm that has proven itself in the market, is innovating at a rapid clip and still maintains strong relationships with clients through world-class customer support.  Don’t take our word for it, read what verified Travel Tripper customers are saying.  Perhaps that’s why hoteliers have rated Travel Tripper’s CRS #1 in the world for 2 years in a row.  The firm has recently expanded its offerings through a highly praised merger with Pegasus so we sat down with Travel Tripper president Gautam Lulla to get a behind-the-scenes perspective on what’s to come. The important thing for hotels to remember is not to judge tech vendors by the size of the company, but by the quality and capabilities of their product and their dedication to customer service.  ~ Gautam Lulla Prior to launching Travel Tripper, Gautam worked at hotel tech giant Amadeus so he has seen the inner workings of both startups and massive enterprise in the space.  He also began his career working in hotel operations and eventually corporate hospitality where he developed unique insights about the hotel tech vendor landscape before jumping in himself.   As with many great businesses, Travel Tripper’s founding team created the business to solve real-world problems that they were experiencing.  After working with several distribution and marketing technology vendors, the leadership team at Highgate Hotels wasn’t impressed by the results they achieved and thought they could do it better, so they launched Travel Tripper.  It turns out that they were right -- now hotels around the world are knocking on Travel Tripper’s door to tap their knowledge, technology and services. We are lucky to have caught Gautam in the midst of his integration between Pegasus and Travel Tripper, which he calls a highly synergistic transaction.   Gautam Lulla Travel Tripper's NYC Headquarters   What does the Travel Tripper-Pegasus merger mean for clients? It’s important for us to emphasize that as a combined company, no capabilities or services will be lost. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case. The driving force behind the merger was our complementary set of strengths, from our product offerings to our customer base. In this case, 1 + 1 really does = 3! To illustrate, Pegasus has always been uniquely and natively built for enterprise hotel chains and have more experience serving chains than any other business in the history of the hospitality industry. Additionally, Pegasus has a long and proven record of helping hotels increase corporate business with their Corporate Sales Representation Services, offering instant connections to 800+ corporations and 30+ consortia and TMCs.  Additionally, the recent introduction of Pegasus Business Intelligence Platform gives Revenue Managers the ability to turn their raw data into actionable information to positively affect their bottom line. Travel Tripper has built its reputation among independent hotels and casinos with its powerful CRS, e-commerce, and digital marketing solutions, which work together to help hotels grow their overall business while maximizing revenues in their direct channel. Combining this strong suite of products means that we can now offer existing customers and prospects a broader range of solutions tailored to their needs. What is Accel-KKR's thesis behind the new infusion of capital? Accel-KKR is a company that invests in high-growth technology companies in many verticals and different industries, not just hospitality. The primary thesis for their investment was the recognition that both Travel Tripper and Pegasus were two companies with a similar DNA of innovation and top-notch customer service, as well as complementary sets of strengths in our product offerings and customer base. They believe that they can provide us the infrastructure and support to help take our combined company to the next level. What was your background prior to launching Travel Tripper? I started my career in the hotel industry with Taj Hotels in India, where I was introduced to the world of hotel technology, after spending about a year or so in the front office. As Electronic Marketing Manager, I was responsible for managing the usage of our central reservation system as well as building and strengthening relationships with our CRS providers. I was also responsible for growing the GDS business. Subsequently, I joined Pegasus Solutions in Scottsdale, Arizona as a Product Manager and stayed there for about two years. It is where I learned all about the the workings of a CRS, and what better place to learn it than at Pegasus. It was the clear leader in the space with no competitor even a close second to Pegasus. Later on, I accepted an offer from Amadeus in France to join their e-commerce team. Hotel booking engines were a part of the portfolio, however as a GDS company it was not economically viable for hotels to pay GDS transaction fees on top of CRS fees for their direct booking channel. But Amadeus decided to invest in Hotel IT solutions, with the intent of replicating their success in Airline IT. I subsequently moved from France to the United States and continued with Amadeus for two years, during which time I became deeply involved with our first prospective customer. But after a short while with Amadeus USA, I realized I was also far removed from the center of activity within Amadeus and got a little bored.  It’s when I decided to join Travel Tripper, in its earliest days. What made you decide to jump in and launch Travel Tripper? My friend and ex-colleague Kurien Jacob had just started a booking engine company and asked me to run and grow the business. After leaving Amadeus, I was ready for a new challenge that would allow me to work at a much faster pace, so I jumped right in. Technically, I didn't found the company, but I joined as a partner when we were just a team of three people. As a partner, I did or oversaw everything on a daily basis—from product design and development to engineering, sales, and marketing, invoicing, customer support, so, literally everything that a young company of that size has to deal with.   Travel Tripper's Reztrip CRS took gold in the 2019 HotelTechAwards   Who was Travel Tripper’s first customer? Highgate Hotels was our first customer at Travel Tripper. Kurien, who had started the company, was the Chief Revenue Officer at Highgate Hotels at the time. He was convinced that Highgate could earn more direct business if they designed a booking engine, designed by the way, as a seed that would grow into a full-scale CRS, with certain features. So, that was sort of the rationale in founding, the raison d'être of the company. It became our motto and philosophy: Be Direct. Highgate tried out the first version of our product on one of their properties, a very large midtown Manhattan property. Even though it was a big risk for them, they went ahead and tested the technology anyways. After seeing spectacular results with the first property, we rolled out the booking engine across various Highgate hotels in New York and elsewhere. One of our other early customers was the Leela Hotel Group in India, which also benefited a lot by taking a chance on us. We increased their website contribution by very impressive numbers. Another early customer of ours was the Stratosphere Hotel, a large 2,500-room hotel in Las Vegas and our first casino hotel (a segment in which we now have 30% market share in the U.S.). We were able to get them on board because of our strong track record. They joined us in 2008 and significantly increased their website contribution as the result of our partnership. How do you see Pegasus and Travel Tripper working together moving forward? The combined entity of Pegasus and Travel Tripper provides a solid platform for hotels that  want innovative technology solutions combined with the best customer service in the industry. Pegasus has a deep and storied history in CRS and distribution, and offers world-class demand generation services designed to increase direct and corporate bookings while considerably expanding a hotel’s market reach. Travel Tripper has grown a strong reputation in helping independent hotels and casinos/resorts in direct channel optimization, bringing user experience to the forefront in our CRS, booking engine, e-commerce, and marketing solutions to help drive highly profitable direct bookings. Our merger brings together the best of our combined capabilities to help hotel groups large and small to directly own guest relationships and maximize bottom-line ROI. In short, we are a formidable and disruptive challenger to some of the bigger (yet more stagnant) players in this space! Who is one mentor that has really helped you scale the business? I’m lucky to have several mentors who have helped and influenced me at different stages of my career. In my early days at Travel Tripper, right after leaving Amadeus, I remained close friends with an ex-colleague of mine, Andy Ahluwalia, who has since passed unfortunately. Andy had built a successful business in our space and was very encouraging and gave me sound advice about the effort and the patience that it would take to make this company successful. He also taught me a lot about how to sell the product and negotiate with customers. I'm very grateful to have known him. Kurien and the team at Highgate, from whom I’ve learned a lot, have also been spectacular supporters of Travel Tripper. Of course, they have been one of our key customers since the beginning and have a vested interest in our success as a company. They’ve always been very encouraging and have provided me with the space and room to make mistakes and persevere while growing Travel Tripper. Highgate itself has grown tremendously since the time when we started our company. Watching their growth and expansion, even as they were already such a large company, has been an inspiration for me. And Paul McGrath, erstwhile and now again Product Manager extraordinaire was my first boss at Pegasus—he taught me all about the workings of a CRS. Paul led the product management team at Pegasus during its heyday and has returned to the company to once again lead the product management team of our combined company.  What's one commonly held belief that most hoteliers believe to be true in your niche that actually is false? Unfortunately, in this industry, the size of a hotel tech vendor sometimes is overplayed or overemphasized, while the quality of product and engineering teams is underemphasized. People often assume that large companies have better products simply because they can afford better engineers relative to smaller companies. This is far from the truth—I've seen very large companies struggle with their platforms and engineering initiatives. And I’ve seen smaller companies blow away the industry with their solutions. The important thing for hotels to remember is not to judge tech vendors by the size of the company, but by the quality and capabilities of their product and their dedication to customer service. It seems obvious, but happens more often than you think. What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels? I don't know if I can call it a surprise as much as learning, but one of the things that we have learned how to do effectively is to scale the platform based on evolving needs. For many organizations, it is quite difficult to anticipate the proper architecture in its early days until you meet challenges along the way. You can plan and design for scale, but there will alway be unexpected hiccups and scaling issues that you will certainly come across along the way, no matter how well you plan ahead. Therefore, you should plan and design as best as you can, but also be prepared to make some fundamental changes along the way when you encounter obstacles. We've done that several times throughout our history and have been able to successfully scale the platform. For example, when Travel Tripper took on Stratosphere Hotel around 2008, I recall that traffic volumes would peak around a certain time of day, and the system would simply keel over and fall down, so we always had to reboot at around 4:00 p.m. It turned out that was a relatively small problem to solve that wasn’t anticipated at initial design time. Along the way, we've come across other challenges as our customer base grew to a certain size. At one point, we started getting hit by a lot of robots that were scraping our booking engine user interface to get pricing information on our hotel customers. This is a common phenomenon in our industry and we were able to resolve the issues along the way when we encountered them. What have been some of the most successful partnerships for Travel Tripper over the years? Obviously we have numerous close partners in the industry, and our relationships with all of them are very important. We enjoy our partnership with Stay Wanderful, which provides a conversion optimization tool that helps hotels to increase their direct bookings and revenue through instant gratification and AI technology. We have worked closely to provide a strong integration and good user interface that generate good results for our customers. OTA Insight has also been a great partner for us on the industry level. Their company offers one of the top hotel Rate Intelligence/Business intelligence platforms on the market. We often run many marketing initiatives together to help educate the industry, such as webinars, roundtables, and our upcoming Tech Talks series at ITB Berlin. If you could partner with any vendor in hotel tech, who would it be and why? As a CRS company, there are so many vendors that we need to build interfaces and integrations with. We particularly enjoy working with the ones that are open to quick integrations in order to foster better functioning between our respective products. In other words, they do not lock up their APIs and charge unreasonable fees for integration and certification. How will the hotel distribution landscape change in the next 5-years? Traditionally, the companies in the hotel tech space have focused on being very good at one “category” of product. Sure, a PMS company could offer a booking engine, but ultimately it was more known for being a PMS company. The new startups in the space have amplified this trend. But now that companies are starting to mature and consolidate (ourselves included), the lines are going to start blurring and it’s going to be difficult to pigeonhole a company into a product type or category. The industry is moving quickly in the direction of a “platformization” model, where the breadth and interconnectedness of solutions will trump—or at least bring together—smaller niche solutions. We think we are on the cutting edge of that trend. We see ourselves as the strongest provider of the products and services we offer to the hotel industry. We are well on the way already.     Does Travel Tripper have any new product or feature launches we should know about? Travel Tripper and Pegasus have recently launched innovative new products lately that we think are going to be very exciting for our respective customers and prospects. To help hoteliers combat rate disparity and increase direct revenue, we created Rate Match, a powerful price checking and rate matching tool that automates best rate guarantee against the OTAs. On the e-commerce side, we recently introduced a very simple but enormously helpful ADA Monitoring Platform and audit services to help hotels mitigate legal risk of potentially expensive ADA compliance lawsuits. We are also about to launch Conversion Plus, a new direct booking optimization tool that drives conversions using personalized messaging and special offers based on real-time booking engine rates, OTA comparative rates, and user behavior. There is power in numbers which is why we recently launched the Pegasus Business Intelligence Platform. This solution offers Revenue Managers a way to turn raw data into immediately actionable information to amplify revenue management and marketing success across all distribution channels, all in one place. We combine guest data from multiple sources and deliver it with automated intelligence and easy-to-understand dashboards. The result is instant insights that help guide a hotelier’s strategy to increase bookings and occupancy and improve revenue and profitability.   What's one piece of advice that you have for any entrepreneur looking to get into the hotel tech space? Be patient and persevere. It's a crowded space, and it’s getting increasingly more crowded and competitive. There are a ton of companies that you will need to work and integrate with in order to succeed. In the hotel CRS space, the barrier to entry is quite high so it will require a lot of money and technology to be built before you can come in with a viable product for a meaningful segment of the market.

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How to maximize your hotel’s bookings by aligning your technology with your goal

by
Hotel Tech Report

The growth in technology tools for hotels has complicated life for hoteliers. While it has always been important to bring potential guests into the conversion funnel, there are now many ways to both capture and convert lookers to bookers. When considering the different ways to bring prospects into your hotel’s funnel, it can be helpful to start with the goal and then look at technologies that accomplish that goal. This approach differs from other common vendor evaluation processes in one key way: it puts the goal first rather than the category. For instance, rather than comparing only direct booking tools to one another, this process focuses on the desired outcome -- and then compares tools across categories that may help a hotel achieve that outcome. With this outcome-based approach, hotels have stronger odds of successfully matching with the correct vendor for a specific issue.   "I want to improve conversion on my website" When it comes to getting more direct bookings, it’s all about the hotel website. After all, a hotel with a buggy website and poor user flow will scare off many potential guests who seek a trustworthy booking experience. Direct booking tools promise growth in direct bookings by increasing conversions on a hotel’s website through price check tools, real-time guest messaging, smart segmentation, and pricing optimization. These direct booking tools offer a mix of capabilities, so it’s best to evaluate each according to how your hotel prioritizes direct bookings. Booking engines are a necessity for selling rooms directly. Without a modern and intuitive interface that’s optimized for conversion, guests will go elsewhere out of frustration or suspicion. Look for a booking engine with real-time inventory updates; otherwise, you risk double booking across channels. Reputation management is more than just an operational tool: it’s also handy for marketing. Most hotel reputation management solutions have the ability to feature previous guest reviews on your website; doing so can dramatically boost your conversion rate. Virtual tours can help conversions. When potential guests consider a hotel, they want to be certain that the property is as advertised. Consider investing in a virtual tour to give guests piece of mind.   "I want to drive new traffic to my website" Once a website has been optimized for direct bookings and conversion, the next step is to entice more potential guests to it. There’s a blended approach to making this happen.   Content marketing is one of the most affordable ways to engage potential guests and to bring them to your website. With great content, you’ll have an engaging website to attract visitors, as well as plenty to post on social media. Be sure to make your content relevant to your guest profile. Social media is a challenging place but can deliver results when done right -- especially for distribution of the great content you’ve created! Social media is also a goldmine of consumer insights. Leveraging social media tools can bring you closer to your customers. Influencer marketing continues to be a growth area for hospitality marketers. Inviting influencers to experience the property, or paying them to post about the property, appeals to hotels looking to reach particular demographics. These influencer marketing tools should factor into the mix, helping identify the right influencers and tracking the success of your campaign. Digital marketing agencies are assets for those hotels that have enough budget to engage subject matter experts. Hospitality marketing agencies use their experience across clients to build high-impact campaigns that can be quite intimidating to deploy solo.   "I want to bring back old guests" According to research from the company that invented the Net Promoter Score, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Statistics aside, it really comes down to customer acquisition cost for hotels. With each booking channel taking a large commission for bringing in a guest, it can be extraordinarily lucrative to re-engage former guests. Loyalty programs are helpful assets to organize and track a comprehensive loyalty program for independents. The best technology will give you insights into your guest profiles, and help you craft the best offerings to each group.  Read our article "Do independent hotel loyalty programs actually work?" to decide if this option is right for your hotel or properties. Email marketing is a critical piece of the loyalty puzzle. When evaluating email marketing tools, you want to be sure that it integrates with your existing loyalty program and hotel CRM tools.   "I want more bookings on OTAs & Metasearch" Third-party websites and metasearch are important pieces of any hotel revenue management strategy. As part of a cohesive approach that includes direct bookings, wholesale, and groups, these channels are valuable tools to shore up low demand periods and achieve overall revenue targets. Metasearch and ad tech bring advanced reporting, bidding and inventory management to your third-party distribution strategy. These metasearch tools help hoteliers wrangle the complex web of metasearch campaigns, as well as integrating in real-time with existing systems to maximize profitable bookings without overbooking. Review management software performs a critical function: it monitors your hotel’s reviews for potential operational issues. Catching poor performance before it affects the guest experience means better reviews -- and a higher ranking in search results on OTAs and metasearch sites.

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SiteMinder CEO: "The SaaS economy has made best-of-breed solutions accessible to every type of hotel"

by
Hotel Tech Report

In May of 2018 I wrote a piece for Lodging Magazine called "Hotel Technology's Paradigm Shift" where I discussed the #1 barrier to innovation in the hotel industry - the lack of integration between different components in the hotel tech stack.  In the last couple of years a slew of ambitious companies have set out to solve this connectivity problem. One of the most interesting contenders in this fight decided to throw its hat in the ring in June 2018 when SiteMinder launched its Exchange marketplace.   To be clear this ring is massive and there's definitely room for several winners.  SiteMinder's approach is unique in that they started with a massive install base of clients (30,000+) who use the firm's technology products such as their Channel Manager, TheBookingButton and Prophet rate shopping software.   Snapshot has taken a similar approach to SiteMinder while Protel, Mews Systems and Apaleo have set out to solve the problem by building property management systems with integrated app marketplaces for their clients to add different components onto their tech stack with ease.  Impala created an open API that allows hotel tech products to connect directly and seamlessly with PMS providers - very much like Zapier provides the underlying infranstructure required to maintain a seamless connection between 2 different product as they evolve.  HAPI has similarly focused on connecting directly into the PMS and recently signed it's solution with Red Lion Hotels.   The race to connect the entire guest journey is on.  Incumbents like Sabre have talked about doing this for years but have yet to deliver a real end-to-end experience in a simple and elegant solution desired by hotels and are very much shackled by legacy technology that was bolted on through acquisitions rather than built in house.  Nothing against Sabre here, it's just much harder to turn a ship of that size and paradigm shifting innovation rarely comes from incumbents resting on cash cow businesses.   SiteMinder's chances of winning this race increased dramatically when they hired current outgoing Xero COO Sankar Narayan who previously led the now $5B+ Accounting Software firm through rapid growth.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about Sankar's move is that Xero was seeing similar changes in the accounting software market that we are seeing in hotel tech.    Based on these market trends, Xero chose to double down on small business by providing increasing value to its existing customer base (increase share of wallet) rather than attract larger (and largely new) enterprise clients.  This maniacal focus on their core customer has paid off in spades and we imagine Narayan will steer SiteMinder in this direction as well.   Xero has built a very impressive and robust partner marketplace much like the one SiteMinder is set on developing for hospitality.  This past year Xero rebranded itself changing the firm's tagline from "Beautiful accounting software" to "Beautiful business".  This change reflects a shift in the firm's view of evolving market forces.    Essentially the firm is moving from being just software to becoming a platform for small businesses - and Sankar was at the center of it all.  Needless to say, selling into small businesses like hotels is extremely difficult and requires a unique skillset.  Xero's value is derived in its ability to sell into and service those types of businesses.   Backed by venture capital powerhouse TCV and now under the joint leadership of Narayan and founder Mike Ford, SiteMinder is positioned to transform the hotel tech industry like never before.  We sat down with Sankar and discuss his views on the market, why he traded his Ducati for video games and the road ahead for SiteMinder.     Tell us about your career in technology. How did you first get into technology and what was the path like into your current role? My career began in technology. It was what I studied at university and I also gained my Masters in Electrical Engineering, specializing in computer engineering, in the US, before I landed a role creating software and designing computer hardware in Silicon Valley; that was my first full-time job. From there, I did some consulting work and then life took me to the other side of the world, to Australia, where I got into more of the business side of things at one of the country’s largest mobile telecommunications companies and Internet service providers. I’ve since had the opportunity to experience other sectors, including media and travel, and got back to technology in 2011 to head up IT and finance at Virgin Australia Airlines. In 2015, I accepted the role of CFO and COO at cloud accounting software company Xero, and I’m thrilled to officially assume the CEO position at SiteMinder in the New Year. The SiteMinder elevator pitch SiteMinder is the leading provider of technology that connects hotels to future guests, so hoteliers can go back to doing what they love. In today’s age where people have the freedom to access travel however they like, SiteMinder is the name synonymous with the belief that technology can empower any hotel to win in a consumer-led world and unleash their potential. SiteMinder is the global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, ranked among technology pioneers for its smart and simple solutions that put hotels everywhere their guests are, at every stage of their journey. Combined with a unique ability to cater to hotels of all sizes, it’s this central role that has earned SiteMinder the trust of more than 30,000 hotels, across 160 countries, to generate in excess of 80 million reservations worth over US$26 billion in revenue for hotels each year.     Read why hoteliers ranked SiteMinder's Channel Manager #1 on Hotel Tech Report   When did you first become interested in hotel technology? I first arrived at the intersection of technology and travel during my time at Virgin Australia. As for hotel technology, specifically, I’ve followed SiteMinder for a number of years, due to my involvement with Bailador Technology Investments, and think it’s an incredibly exciting space to be in.How would you characterize the learning curve moving from tech into hotel tech? There are definitely a lot of unique characteristics to hotel tech, but also many commonalities with other verticals that have experienced the cloud and SaaS disruption in the last two decades. Hoteliers are passionate about hospitality; it’s what they know and love, and what they go back to when given the opportunity to step away from all the other demands that now come with being a hotelier. As the world increasingly moves to online, hoteliers know it’s a movement they can no longer ignore, but it’s an incredibly complex space to navigate through and so they’re still finding how to seamlessly introduce technology into their day-to-day to a point where they’re comfortable knowing it’s not an avoidable detractor, but a necessary enabler of getting closer to their guests. They say hotels have traditionally been slow to adopt tech, but when you consider that such a large proportion of hotels are small to medium-sized businesses, that’s hardly shocking to me. Naturally, one can probably expect that the larger chains and brands would be at the forefront of tech adoption, but even then, as we know, that’s not entirely the case and, again, I don’t think that’s a challenge that’s unique to hotels. The cost of tech to any large enterprise is always going to be significant and that cost goes far beyond the initial dollar value. When you’re talking about a complete overhaul of an enterprise-wide system, you’re talking about the cost of setup, training and everything else that comes with change management.What makes 'hotel tech' different than just 'tech'? I think the vastness of the opportunity is inherently what makes hotel tech a little different to other verticals. We’re talking about a massive space occupied by accommodation providers of every type and budget – with different needs as well as varied levels of education and appetites for technology use – hoping to win in a diverse, complex and ever-changing landscape of consumers. For me, that’s what makes hotel tech so exciting. The opportunity for innovation is limitless. You can dream up solutions very quickly; the only restriction is your imagination.Do you think it's harder for hotel tech companies to raise capital relative to general tech companies? I don’t think so. Every business needs to articulate its customer proposition, technology and business model, and we’re seeing great support for some of the newer, exciting entrants into the market, especially within the hotel guest application space. There is a large, unaddressed need with accommodation providers that businesses like SiteMinder are solving, and I think that need has surfaced in recent years. There could certainly be more capital flowing into hotel tech, but I think that ultimately comes down to our ability as an industry to demonstrate what untapped potential exists – and our role in enabling the traveler experience.What's the single biggest opportunity that hotels are missing today? Acing the guest journey end-to-end. I think the in-stay experience has traditionally been the sole focus for hotels, as it’s what they’ve always had immediate visibility and control over, but of course we know that the journey began long before the guest arrived and continues long thereafter – if it ends at all. The explosion of data and technology has made it possible for hotels to understand their guests in a way they’ve never been able to before, and it’s an opportunity I think most hotels are missing. How will the hotel technology landscape be different in five years? The emergence of new players in the market has been great for competition and I think it’s forced innovation that ultimately hotels have been the beneficiaries of. However, I think the breadth of choice now available to hotels, coupled with the level of complexity that now exists to keep up with today’s traveler, has indirectly created further disparity that means, as a hotel, it is more overwhelming than ever to know which technological solutions are best and if they will work together to make the day-to-day easier, not harder.  I think the disparity and complexity will continue to grow over the next five years, but it will be met with tech innovators that rise to that challenge and provide a way for hotels to benefit from a single, holistic, reliable solution that unlocks a world of potential guests and personalizes every relationship. That will be the pinnacle of data democratization and I think it’s coming.Do you think that branded hotels have better or worse technology than independents? I don’t think the adoption of hotel tech is quite this black and white. For sure, we’re seeing a number of the large hotel brands take the lead in the areas of room technology, A.I., robots and the like, but we’re also seeing innovation happening at the smaller end of the spectrum where independent boutiques are leveraging technology to create a more personalized and memorable stay for their guests. Independent hotels constitute a significant portion of SiteMinder’s global customer base and I think that’s testament to how level the playing field actually is. The cloud and SaaS economy has made best-of-breed solutions accessible to every type of hotel, irrespective of their size, budget or structure, and arguably it’s been the smaller independents that have benefited most.If you were to start a business in hotel tech tomorrow, what would it be Probably something in the hotel guest application space, as that really blurs the lines between B2B and B2C tech and has a real potential to change how we all, as tech innovators and consumers, experience and engage with tech. What's one piece of advice you have for engineers and entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a hotel technology company? The hotel tech industry is fast, exciting and has no limits, but the competition is fast-growing and those that can harness a hotel’s deepest pain points to produce something of value stand the best chance of being relevant not only today, but three, five and even ten years from now. Get in it and carve out your space. What's one podcast, newsletter or book that you recommend hoteliers read if they'd like to eventually move into tech? The SiteMinder Blog (here)What is your favorite hotel in the world? Peppers on the Point at Lake Rotorua, New Zealand What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I’ve swapped my Ducati motorbike for more online video games and have achieved Great Summoner Status in Fire Emblem Heroes!

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4 super simple tips to avoid hotel mobile booking abandonment's

by
Kevin Taylor

The ‘mobile first’ forecast has been on for about a decade now, and interestingly, there are still businesses that haven’t embraced the mobile technology. Considering geos, demography and trends, it is not an exaggeration to say that a majority of the world now is hooked to their mobile phones. Whether it is to stay in touch with people, stay informed, browse, shop online or even play games- Mobile has transformed our lives. While this is a more generic fact, let’s look at how mobiles have influenced the travel and hospitality space. As of 2016, it is said that 73% of travelers used mobile devices to research travel options. Understandably so, wouldn’t you think? Who wouldn’t like the convenience of their mobile devices to browse through the scores of options that are available and make plans! But as this harmless browsing through mobiles takes shape and becomes a serious travel plan, mobile phones continue to be just as important even throughout the booking phase. This presents an enormous opportunity for hoteliers, as they can cash in on building a hotel mobile app that makes the lives of prospective guests much easier. This is still a distant dream, but a solid one nonetheless. The irony of hotel mobile bookings is that while the numbers are on the rise, the number of booking abandonment is also substantially high. Why do people abandon online travel bookings? The reasons are many for this. Ranging from just browsing, pricing being non-transparent, insufficient information, slow loading time, inconvenient check-out process, and so on. Whichever be the case, booking abandonment costs the travel and hospitality industry quite dearly. In order to address this pressing issue, we’ve put together the simplest guide on how hotels can minimize mobile booking abandonments. Read on… Experience is everything Two out of five shoppers have abandoned travel bookings on a mobile device due to poor user experience. Take a moment to let that statistic soak in because the stakes are high. Unless you strategically plan to employ a ‘mobile first’ approach and put user experience at the heart of it, things are only going to go downhill for you. The sole purpose of people shifting from traditional desktop booking methods to mobile-based booking is convenience and speed. Now, if prospective guests don’t find either, then booking abandonment is guaranteed! Mobile booking experience includes, but isn’t restricted to, the following: · Keeping the reservation form short and simple: Do away with all fields that can be avoided. Keep it minimal and user-friendly so that the guest doesn’t have to spend more than a few minutes to get through the process.  · Making sure the page loads fast: 32% of booking abandonment happens due to slow loading time. · Simplified payment processing: 27% of booking abandonments take place owing to this reason. Making this as friction-free as possible will take you a long way in gaining the trust of the guest. · Hassle-free check out: Just like every other part of their booking journey with you, the guest checkout process needs to be quite smooth and hassle-free. These are some of the simplest ways by which hotels can minimize mobile booking abandonment.  There are more elaborate and strategic ways, like looking into OTA booking abandonment by which hotels can achieve the same, but we will save that for another day. As a hotelier, there are several factors that contribute to your success and tactfully handling booking abandonments is one of them, for sure.

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Travel Tripper’s Reztrip Named a Finalist in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

by
Hotel Tech Report

  February 1, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Travel Tripper’s CRS a HotelTechAwards finalist based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title.  The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “Our industry has one of the most complex distribution landscapes out there which creates a lot of problems for hoteliers but also a lot of opportunities.  A great CRS is the key to mastering distribution channels whether it’s direct bookings, OTA, GDS, call center or even corporate contract business” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Travel Tripper is poised for sustained growth in 2018. Hoteliers recognized Travel Tripper for best in class customer service where the company exceeded the category average by 11%. “RezTrip is a great ‘out of the box’ solution for hotels that want a simple system to use with lots of extra smart features and add-ons. There are two formats/flows to use and both are focused on converting the reservation. The Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) is quite revolutionary and as it develops further will be an extremely power tool to counteract a third party channel from undercutting the hotel directly. This is by far the best feature within RezTrip” a Sydney based Revenue Manager told Hotel Tech Report.   To read the full review and more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/travel-tripper-crs

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4 super simple tips to avoid hotel mobile booking abandonment's

Hotelogix

The ‘mobile first’ forecast has been on for about a decade now, and interestingly, there are still businesses that haven’t embraced the mobile technology. Considering geos, demography and trends, it is not an exaggeration to say that a majority of the world now is hooked to their mobile phones. Whether it is to stay in touch with people, stay informed, browse, shop online or even play games- Mobile has transformed our lives. While this is a more generic fact, let’s look at how mobiles have influenced the travel and hospitality space. As of 2016, it is said that 73% of travelers used mobile devices to research travel options. Understandably so, wouldn’t you think? Who wouldn’t like the convenience of their mobile devices to browse through the scores of options that are available and make plans! But as this harmless browsing through mobiles takes shape and becomes a serious travel plan, mobile phones continue to be just as important even throughout the booking phase. This presents an enormous opportunity for hoteliers, as they can cash in on building a hotel mobile app that makes the lives of prospective guests much easier. This is still a distant dream, but a solid one nonetheless. The irony of hotel mobile bookings is that while the numbers are on the rise, the number of booking abandonment is also substantially high. Why do people abandon online travel bookings? The reasons are many for this. Ranging from just browsing, pricing being non-transparent, insufficient information, slow loading time, inconvenient check-out process, and so on. Whichever be the case, booking abandonment costs the travel and hospitality industry quite dearly. In order to address this pressing issue, we’ve put together the simplest guide on how hotels can minimize mobile booking abandonments. Read on… Experience is everything Two out of five shoppers have abandoned travel bookings on a mobile device due to poor user experience. Take a moment to let that statistic soak in because the stakes are high. Unless you strategically plan to employ a ‘mobile first’ approach and put user experience at the heart of it, things are only going to go downhill for you. The sole purpose of people shifting from traditional desktop booking methods to mobile-based booking is convenience and speed. Now, if prospective guests don’t find either, then booking abandonment is guaranteed! Mobile booking experience includes, but isn’t restricted to, the following: · Keeping the reservation form short and simple: Do away with all fields that can be avoided. Keep it minimal and user-friendly so that the guest doesn’t have to spend more than a few minutes to get through the process.  · Making sure the page loads fast: 32% of booking abandonment happens due to slow loading time. · Simplified payment processing: 27% of booking abandonments take place owing to this reason. Making this as friction-free as possible will take you a long way in gaining the trust of the guest. · Hassle-free check out: Just like every other part of their booking journey with you, the guest checkout process needs to be quite smooth and hassle-free. These are some of the simplest ways by which hotels can minimize mobile booking abandonment.  There are more elaborate and strategic ways, like looking into OTA booking abandonment by which hotels can achieve the same, but we will save that for another day. As a hotelier, there are several factors that contribute to your success and tactfully handling booking abandonments is one of them, for sure.

Travel Tripper’s Reztrip Named a Finalist in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

  February 1, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Travel Tripper’s CRS a HotelTechAwards finalist based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title.  The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “Our industry has one of the most complex distribution landscapes out there which creates a lot of problems for hoteliers but also a lot of opportunities.  A great CRS is the key to mastering distribution channels whether it’s direct bookings, OTA, GDS, call center or even corporate contract business” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Travel Tripper is poised for sustained growth in 2018. Hoteliers recognized Travel Tripper for best in class customer service where the company exceeded the category average by 11%. “RezTrip is a great ‘out of the box’ solution for hotels that want a simple system to use with lots of extra smart features and add-ons. There are two formats/flows to use and both are focused on converting the reservation. The Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) is quite revolutionary and as it develops further will be an extremely power tool to counteract a third party channel from undercutting the hotel directly. This is by far the best feature within RezTrip” a Sydney based Revenue Manager told Hotel Tech Report.   To read the full review and more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/travel-tripper-crs

GuestCentric Recognized as Finalist for Top Rated Hotel Booking Engine in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

By Hotel Tech Report

February 1, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named GuestCentric’s booking engine as a HotelTechAwards finalist based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (created by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. Hotel Tech Report co-founder Jordan Hollander views booking engines as a crucial to component of any hotel’s marketing funnel: “The booking engine is a critical component to a hotel’s direct booking ratio and channel profitability.  It’s also one of the strangest areas for a consumer because effectively they are being driven off of the hotel’s vanity site and into a separate shopping cart.  No other e-commerce industry has this requirement - so it has to be a fast, intuitive and seamless experience.” A Miami based revenue management consultant who works with several hotel properties told Hotel Tech Report: “GuestCentric's Booking Engine interface is super user friendly, you have the best promotions tools out there to combat the OTA's and actually win the fight.” GuestCentric is poised for sustained growth in 2018 as it continues to ramp it’s U.S. install base and team. “We saw an amazing increase of direct bookings through our new brand website. Better still was the increased performance of direct bookings through our new GuestCentric booking engine, which is now three times those of all OTAs combined,” says Marc Kassouf of the STAY Idyllwild Group.   To read the full review and more, head to: https://hoteltechreport.com/company/guest-centric-booking-engine/

Internet Booking Engine Category Overview

What is a 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 convert direct bookings. A good 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.

For info on hotel booking engine trends, questions that you should ask vendors and more download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Booking Engines

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.

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, it’s vital that your booking engine integrates with your channel manager. 
  • Mobile & 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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?



What makes great a booking engine?
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 booking engine?

Want to learn more about hotel booking engine pricing? Download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Booking Engines

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 Booking Engine 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 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.

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