Everything You Need to Know About a Hotel Booking Engine Software

20th Aug 2021

protel NB: This is an article from:  Portel 

Let’s face it. Technology has taken over. Long gone are the days of travel agents and over the counter reservations. Guests are looking for a purely online booking experience.

Today’s travelers are more empowered because they can do comparative research without leaving the comfort of their beds. So, if your hotel isn’t easily accessible and showing itself from its best side online, chances are that you are missing out on a lot of bookings.

According to research, over 57% of travel bookings are done online. This means that you need to be prevalent online to open a window for potential clients to make their bookings.

This article will give you a complete guide on everything you need to know about booking engines in the hotel industry, including how they work, how your hotel can use them, and everything incorporated in good booking engines.

What is a Hotel Booking Engine?

A hotel booking engine is a widget that appears on a hotel’s website or social media and can be used by travelers to make their reservations online.

It is simple and straightforward, it links to a hotel PMS (Property Management System) that provides the data regarding how many rooms are available, their features, how to accept payments and availability and rates provided.

An online hotel booking engine is your key to commission-free direct bookings which maximizes your profits while optimizing your property’s sales strategy.

With most travelers preferring to make their reservations online, hotels have become heavily reliant on online travel agents to deliver them bookings. These listings by agents enable hotels to reach new and larger target audiences.

However, on the downside, for each reservation made, a commission fee has to be paid to the third-party, and when this fee starts creeping way into double digits, it becomes impractical to hoteliers as it eats heavily into profits.

A hotel online booking engine is an easy way for hotels to directly compete with online travel agents to maximize profits and increase their ROI.

How a Hotel Booking Engine Works

An online booking system works by installing a widget onto your hotel’s website which allows your website to process secure online bookings. The data is then passed to your property management system where staff can access and manage customers reservations, and where other sales channels can also be notified of the changes to current availability. Nobody likes to be double-booked, right?

The good thing with the online booking engine is that it can be integrated into your social media pages to facilitate reservations. This means that guests can comfortably book rooms without necessarily being on your website or any other travel site.

The online hotel booking engine displays the rates allowing your potential guests to select their dates, number of people, process payments and receive an automated confirmation email in real-time, making for a seamless booking experience.

Why You Need an Online Booking Engine

Despite your hotel’s size, you need to make your hotel visible online if you want to maintain a competitive edge and stay open for business.

Guests want hospitality in all its shapes and forms and one of those forms is having a great user experience when making online reservations. Top hotel chains using the latest hotel management software have created an expectation from guests that all online booking engines should function as well as the top booking sites (like booking.com). As such your guests expect :

Self Service

Traveler’s need a one-time booking process without the hitches and hassles of being redirected to other websites, having to pick up the phone, or writing long-winded emails. An online hotel reservation/booking system enables them to make direct online bookings quickly and easily by using a “booking button” a quick-click, book-now option.

Trustworthy Online Booking

Online booking offers a fast and secure way to accept credit card payments while still protecting and safely storing your customer’s data. Your hospitality business depends on the fact that your hotel technology is safe and secure, especially when it comes to personalised data collection and secure payment systems.

Fast Booking Process

The hotel booking system and online booking engine must be seamlessly integrated and be able to transact in real-time. Instantaneous availability, room types and up to date pricing presented as professionally as sites like Tripadvisor are currently doing. Special offers and the option to insert promo codes should also be displayed so that guests can take advantage of them.


Modern guests will be surprised if they don’t find a way to make their reservations on your official website and this can have a negative impact on your hotel revenue. One way of ensuring a professional look and feel is by having an online booking engine integration that is fully customizable so that the look and feel of the booking engine fully matches the look and feel of your property website.

Direct Booking Perks

With so many booking channels available these days many guests visit your website with the expectation of getting something extra in return for making a direct booking. This is a trade-off many hotels have to make on saving third party commissions. Why not offer a 10% discount when you would be paying a 15% commission anyway?

Features to Look for in a Hotel Online Booking System

Here’s a number of things you should be looking out for in a great online booking engine:

Number of Images in the Gallery

After doing all the hard work of setting up your beautiful hotel and its rooms, you need to showcase them to potential clients. It’s a widely known fact that visual images are appealing to guests and are more likely to entice customers and generate conversions.

Banner Images

Think of the last time you had a ‘wow’ experience on a certain website. What intrigued the reaction? Wasn’t it the large banner image at the top of the page that made the first impression? Exactly– and your booking engine should allow you to display banner images to improve customer experience.

Facebook Integration

Your guests don’t necessarily have to be converted to clients on your website. You could get potential customers from social media. Check that the booking engine allows you to include the “Book Now” button on your Facebook page to make it easier for your guests to find your hotel and make bookings.

Room Type Auto Optimization

The only way to help your guests navigate your website is by providing them with the results they’re looking for. This feature allows you to display rooms according to your guests’ search criteria – making it quicker and easier for them to make a reservation.

Google Analytics Integration

You definitely need to understand where your bookings are coming from and where your visitors are exiting. Google Analytics gives you the chance to analyze this information and make concrete decisions based on crucial data.

Mobile Friendly

Regardless of the device, your guest is using, the experience should be smooth and seamless. If the booking engine is slow on some devices like mobile phones, it will be a significant deterrent to your visitors and hurt your returns.

Promotion codes

This is a surefire way to step ahead of the competition by attracting more customers through giveaways and promotions. A booking engine should help you create your own promotions for your customers and provide a discount option.

Payment Gateway

When the guest completes their online reservation via the online hotel booking engine the guest should be given the choice of how they would like to make payment. PayPal, Check Card, Credit card or other online payments should be available so that guests can choose their preferred payment method.

Benefits of Using a Hotel Booking Engine for Your Hotel

There are many perks that come with integrating a hotel booking engine on your website and social media channels. Some of them include:

Your Property is Instantly Bookable Via Your Website

As per Triptease, 60% of your guests will compare both OTAs and hotel websites before making an informed decision. By presenting them with an easy way to make online reservations, you increase the chances of getting booked.

You Get More Bookings with Zero Commission

With a hotel booking engine, you will beat the steep commission structure that eats into your revenue through OTAs by owning the customer relationship and driving direct sales through your website.

While online travel agents are a great way to get your name out there, they also mess with your budget and deny you maximum profitability. Why not take charge of your earnings by getting direct bookings from your channel?

You Enjoy a Higher Booking and Lower Cancellation Rate

There are several reasons why guests may book more via an embedded booking engine. For starters, the booking engine is open 24/7 and never gets tired or moody. This means that clients can book reservations regardless of their time zones and other personal factors.

Secondly, when searchers land on your page, they find the interface interactive and just click to reserve—rather than search for an OTA and get distracted by other options.

You Can Easily Process Payments

A major plus for an online booking system is that your guests get to easily process payments on their credit cards regardless of their currency or nationality – saving you the time and energy of manually processing payments.

You Get to Control the Customer’s Journey

From the time your guest lands on your page to the moment they make a reservation, you get to control what they see. That means you can map the journey such that the content they interact with is effective and intuitive. The more seamless experience you create, the better the customer experience will be, and the more the number of reservations.

You Have Flexibility on the Promotions You Offer

Your booking engine can easily set up last minute deals and extended stay discounts with just a click. These kinds of promotions and deals increase loyalty, improve the guest’s experience, and increase the likeliness of a good review.

Get Found with Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel Ads is a paid advertising service that displays your hotel’s rates compared to other hotels on Google’s Hotel Ads platform. For instance, when a client searches for “Hotels in San Francisco,” they are met with Google’s Hotel Ads results. The search enables them to input their desired dates, price range, preferences and all other relevant data.

With a hotel booking engine, you will have a chance to generate more leads and compete better on Google Hotel Ads. 9 out of 10 travellers start their hotel search on Google, and your hotel can only get listed via a Google Certified Partner.