An Internet Booking Engine (IBE) is absolutely necessary on your property website today. The challenge is chosing the right one. There are dozens of booking engines on the market, including those provided by the PMS vendors. In chosing an IBE, it is, of course, necessary to consider price. The prices range from a flat monthly fee around $100 to as much as 5% of your sales revenue.
The most important functional aspect is the system’s hosting facility. You need to know your future bookings are stored on a reliable server and that there is frequent backup storage. Next is compatibility with your PMS. If the system is not provided by your PMS is it possible to interface one way or two ways with your PMS. One way is the ability for your PMS to receive bookings from the booking engine and the other way is to synchronize your IBE availability and rates when the PMS is updated.
The next most important functions of the book are those that affect the consumer when they are o your website, these are functions that match your hotel’s market segments. Does the IBE enable group bookings? Can the consumer build their own package? Does it enable a package booking? Does it accept corporate or travel agent secure bookings? How easy is the backend to manage when loading and updating rates, availability, photos, policy and so on.
There is also the appearance of the booking page on your website. Does the supplier match your website page design? Is it a flash IBE? A flash IBE is attractive, but it can inhibit some Internet users due to their computer setup or limitations. Generally, the flash is not worth the minor benenfit.
Don’t forget to have your phone number on the booking engine pages so the shopper can always reach you as a default. Just some thoughts about choosing a booking engine.