We all know that the rise of technology has made booking travel faster, simpler and more efficient. And, it is now no longer an option but a necessity for online travel agents to have an internet booking engine.
Today, travellers can plan, research and book their trips from the comfort of their homes.
This offers a vast array of both opportunities and challenges for travel companies.
But, what exactly is an internet booking engine?
And how can you integrate it with your website in order to increase sales and optimise your booking process?
Read on to find out.
What are the features of Internet Booking Engines?
According to SiteMinder, an internet booking engine is an application that allows you to capture and process direct online reservations.
It is used to make and manage reservations, integrating travel products such as flights, accommodation, activities and other services such as car rentals and transfers all in one place.
Online booking engines are common within the hospitality sector, allowing businesses to display rates and offers in real-time, often in various languages and currencies.
Booking engines can also collaborate with payment gateways to securely process customers’ payments, and input all reservations directly into your company’s system and calendar.
Internet Booking Engines for travel agencies
Over 148 million travel bookings are made online each year, and this number is only set to grow.
In order to keep up with the rapid digitalisation and transformations of the sector, travel agencies should ensure that their booking process is optimised in order to meet consumer demand and gain a competitive advantage.
The advantages of an IBE
Internet booking engines provide many advantages for travel agencies and consumers alike.
- No more office hours
Of all the online travel reservations made in 2018, 82% took place without any human interaction. Consumers today are increasingly independent and are now much more likely to research and book their trips without the need for the expertise and advice of traditional travel agents.
Internet booking engines allow your customers to make their reservations and payments at the time and place most convenient to them. This means that your business can essentially be open 24/7, in turn increasing sales opportunities.
- Save time and money
Forget time spent answering endless phone calls and emails: online booking engines do all of the work for you. Automated booking platforms give your staff more time to focus on other important tasks, and reduce human error.
And, according to Cloudbeds, the use of a booking engine also allows you to capture new reservations without the need to pay commissions to 3rd party distribution channels such as online marketplaces, saving you money.
- Streamline your booking process
With all reservations made in one place, it becomes much simpler to manage your customers’ trips. Internet booking engines also ensure that payments are fast and secure, protecting customers’ data, increasing confidence and in turn, increasing sales and revenue.
- Easy upselling
Online booking engines make it easier to offer personalised add-ons and services throughout the booking process.
- Gain valuable insights
Online booking systems usually offer analytics tools. By keeping track of your customers’ reservations and habits you can gain invaluable information to better understand them and their preferences, allowing you to further enhance and tailor your services and offerings.
IBE: In-house Vs SaaS
So, you’ve decided to use an internet booking engine, but which one to choose? You can opt to create your own in-house system or to work with a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider.
In-house systems require buying the necessary infrastructure and hiring an IT team with technical knowledge and expertise to build the booking engine for you.
An advantage of having an in-house system is that you will own the software itself and can build it according to your specific needs. However, this process can work out more costly in the long run when compared with SaaS solutions.
SaaS software is usually paid for on a monthly or yearly subscription basis and is easy to implement, which means that you can begin the process straight away without the need for any large investments.
This option also allows for scalability, and all technical updates, support and maintenance are handled by the SaaS provider themselves as and when necessary, meaning that you don’t need to worry about the costs of new equipment or software.
Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Consider what your specific needs are and compare how the features of each could work for you and your travel business.
The case of TripBuilder
Nezasa’s TripBuilder is an efficient, innovative and user-friendly internet booking engine that allows you to plan, book and manage your customers’ trips, all on one easy-to-use online platform.
Through the use of our unique software, you can create hyper-personalised and flexible itineraries for your customers.
We provide travel companies with a seamless and integrated solution that can simplify and streamline the entire booking process, allowing you more time to focus on the customer themselves. For more information on our cutting-edge products, be sure to check out our website, and to keep up with the latest travel news don’t forget to subscribe to our blog.