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Understand Hotel Booking Engines – Functionality, Cost, Types, & Ways to Build an IBE

Understand Hotel Booking Engines

Understand Hotel Booking Engines – Functionality, Cost, Types, & Ways to Build an IBE

The travel industry is booming more than ever, and people are looking for better experiences everywhere. In this digital era, everyone wants to know complete details of the destination they are going to and the places they will stay in to have the best time of their lives. 

No one wants to risk booking a lousy hotel without knowing vital details like room availability, types, customer reviews, and prices. Online booking allows us to plan our trips efficiently by exploring destination images, hotel availability, room prices, nearby attractions, and more – all from the comfort of our homes, using a mobile, laptop, or tablet. The key to this convenience is the hotel booking engine.   

The primary purpose of the hotel internet booking engine (IBE) is to detect and process online reservations coming from a hotel/accommodation provider. Other vital roles of the hotel booking engine are:   

  • Integrating and syncing with the hotel’s details from all the web pages and sometimes social media pages 
  • Cross-selling services at the time of booking 
  • Managing promo codes and discount rates 
  • Displaying the best obtainable rates to customers against prices available on competitor’s sites. 
  • Sending emails at different stages like sign-up, booking confirmation, check-in, and check-out.

Here, we will learn the essential aspects of a booking system that every travel business must know.     

Let’s start with the basics – the definition of a hotel booking engine.   

A hotel booking engine is software used by Hotel Business Owners, Online Travel Agencies (OTA), Booking Agents, Hotel Suppliers, & Aggregators to list hotel information & allow an accessible mode of online hotel booking to the end user (customer). It is also known as a Hotel Booking System, Hotel Reservation Software, or Hotel Booking Tool.

The hotel booking engine allows customers to search for hotels, rooms, prices, and locality, compare images/videos, and book rooms via the website or mobile app. A hotel booking engine is helpful for business owners to list hotel room availability, feed hotel information, accept bookings, collect payments, track bookings, & collect reviews.    

The ultimate goal of every booking system is to list inventory and enable online bookings worldwide.    

The Need for Hotel Booking System

Here are the critical reasons why a hotel booking system is essential:    

  • Online Booking: Allows listing all hotel inventory in one place and allows customers to make bookings online 
  • Feature Hotel & Room Details: Provides customers with essential hotel information like amenities, star ratings, price, reviews, availability, more options, etc, for making informed decisions.   
  • Integrate Hotel Suppliers: Allows integration of multiple hotel suppliers to expand business reach globally.   
  • Provide Different Interfaces: Ensures user-friendly interfaces for mobile, laptop, tablet, and web-based bookings.   
  • Eliminate Manual Entry: Saves time and effort by avoiding manual records of bookings.   
  • Secure Booking Transactions: Provides highly secure and encrypted transactions for the customer’s peace of mind.   
  • Fast & Quick Results: Delivers prompt and accurate results for enhanced user experience.   
  • Multi-Currency Support: Accommodates international customers with seamless multi-currency functionality.   
  • Booking Analytics: Provides access to daily booking reports for practical analysis.   
  • Flexible Payment Methods: Allows easier management of rates and reservations.   
  • Special Offers: Enables easy addition of offers/discounts to boost business. 

Types of Hotel Booking Engine

Hotel Booking Engines are categorized into three major types based on business needs:  

  • Business-to-Customer (B2C): Used by OTAs to provide hotel inventory to end-users for booking hotel rooms
     
  • Business-to-Business (B2B): Used by large hotel suppliers, bed banks, consolidators, and aggregators to sell hotel inventory to other businesses
     
  • Business-to-Enterprise (B2E): Preferred by big organizations or corporate companies to regulate bookings for their employees, with added benefits or discounts on hotel pricing  

Additionally, multi-channel booking engines integrate various B2B, B2C, and B2E features, providing all-in-one solutions.    

Benefits of Hotel Booking Engine for End Users & OTA Businesses

  • A reliable hotel booking engine must possess the following essential features:   

    • Supplier Management: Inbuilt option to manage and integrate hotel suppliers as per business requirements.   
    • Easy-to-Use Interface for Customers: A user-friendly interface for smooth bookings.
    • Customizable Booking Engine: Ability to customize the booking engine according to client requirements.
    • Fast & Accurate Search Results: Quick loading times and accurate search results to retain user engagement.
    • Zero Booking Failure: Ensuring seamless booking confirmation to avoid any discrepancies.   
    • AI-Enabled Search Patterns: AI-based search options for personalized results.   
    • Multi-Language and Multi-Currency Support: Adaptation of language and currency based on location and user preferences.
    • Reporting and Analytics: Detailed booking reports for practical analysis.
    • SEO Potential: Built-in SEO capabilities to enhance online visibility and attract organic traffic.   

Technical Requirements to Integrate Agoda API

There are numerous benefits for OTAs and customers as it creates a seamless experience in many ways.  

Benefits For End Users / Customers:    

  • A user-friendly interface allows a seamless search for hotels in the intended area.   
  • Versatile search options like location, hotel, area, locality, ratings, & price help find the right fit. 
  • Details of the hotel inventory provide a wide range of options for comparison. 
  • Ensures quick and accurate search results 
  • Provides safe and secure payment options 
  • Guarantees reliable booking confirmation  
  • Allows access to special offers and discounts 
  • Enables customers to give feedback and ratings   

Benefits For OTAs:   

  • Allows easy integration with hotel suppliers 
  • Facilitates flexible pricing for increased revenue 
  • Access to detailed booking reports   
  • Ensures a consistent flow of bookings   
  • Expands business reach globally 
  • Provides secure and prompt booking transactions   
  • Allows customization to match business requirements   
  • Accommodates international customers with various currencies 

Ways to Build a Hotel IBE  

  1. Build In-house – This option is costly and time-consuming but can be customized per your needs. If you build it in-house, you will have to maintain the servers, take care of updates, match technology with supplier and third-party vendor systems, and repeat the process for every supplier and client.
  2. Choose SaaS Providers – Renowned booking engine providers like ZentrumHub can help you go live on day 1 through a monthly subscription fee for the platform. You can customize the look and feel of your UI and add your domain. This option is feasible on all fronts – cost-wise, time-wise, and effort-wise. You don’t have to look after anything.
  3. Outsource Development – Other service providers can build from scratch by outsourcing the teams, and clients can get the source code. The outsourced vendor manages everything. Outsourcing talent costs less than building and maintaining in-house but is still more expensive than getting help from an expert booking engine provider. And, even in outsourcing, you may take at least a year to go live. 

You can choose whichever way suits your budget, time, and business needs.  

We hope this blog helped you understand the essential aspects of the hotel booking engine.   

Conclusion

The hotel booking system is vast and complex but highly useful for OTAs to reach a global audience. Before purchasing a hotel booking engine, it is recommended to take a demo or free trial to ensure the features align with the business requirements.     

Experience a Free Demo of Zentrum Connect and Zentrum Booking Engine, which offers a ready-to-use system with pre-integrated 50+ hotel suppliers worldwide. Get more information by contacting our Sales Team. 

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