What Is a Hotel Booking Engine and Can it Take the Pain Out of Corporate Travel?
There are tons of ways for people to book hotels these days, and they’re all right at our fingertips.
For example, there are online booking tools (OBTs) that allow you to book flights, hotels and transportation all at once. Travel management companies (TMCs) are another option similar to OBTs, but they’re expensive to use — often with high monthly minimums — and they are usually exclusively business travel companies.
Then there are hotel booking engines (HBEs)that allow you to book accommodations directly from a hotel’s — they’re sometimes referred to as reservation processing systems or software.
OBTs are arguably the most popular because they cover personal travel as well, and allow you to aggregate various competing companies to find the best deals and discounts. However, every hotel booking engine comes with its own unique advantages for corporate travel — advantages you’ll want to know about when taking on business travel booking.
Keep reading to learn more about hotel booking engines and how to take the hassle out of managing corporate travel.
What exactly is a hotel booking engine?
A hotel booking engine is a type of software that appears as a widget or plugin on a hotel’s website, social media pages, or other media channels. This application allows travellers and companies to make hotel reservations online with ease, as it links directly to the hotel chain’s primary website and payment system.
This is all done via the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) which provides data related to the number of rooms available, features, amenities, rates
In the past, hotels had to rely on third parties to fill their rooms and process payments.
The primary function of the booking engine is to cut out that middle man, so to speak, and collect reservations and credit card information from guests directly for the hotel.
As a result, hotels are able to reach a larger audience and don’t have to worry about losing a percentage of their profits to a third party.
The advantages of hotel booking engines for your travel budget
While booking engines are advantageous for the hotels using them, they’re even more advantageous for the people booking business trip accommodations.
They allow you to deal directly with the hotel
As mentioned earlier, there are several ways in which an individual can book their hotel accommodations. Most of them involve a third-party platform with multiple service providers — which can lead to confusion and oftentimes, poor customer service.
A booking engine allows you to communicate directly with the hotel of your choice, which means they’ll be the ones handling your payment and data instead of a third party. That means you may be able to collect points for certain hotel loyalty programmes, and communication is more streamlined.
They may provide a discount for direct booking
Hotels have a lot of other companies to compete with, and we’re not just talking about other hotels (although that is a big factor). They also have to pay a sizable commission — usually 20 to 30% — to OBTs like Priceline and Expedia.
Therefore, many hotels will offer discounts if you book with them directly.
It allows the hotel to save your information for faster future bookings
Just like any other business online, hotels will save your data for retargeting purposes. This is beneficial for the hotel’s marketing needs, but it’s also beneficial for travellers.
Because it allows the hotel to send you more discount opportunities, and makes it easier for you to go through the booking process since certain information will already be saved. For example, if you previously booked a specific room, you’ll most likely see that room highlighted the next time you visit the hotel’s social media page or website.
So: is a hotel booking engine the best way to save your business money on corporate lodging?
Should you use a hotel booking engine, OBT or TMC?
Actually, your best bet is to use a tool that combines the best features of all three — such as Hotel Engine.
Hotel Engine was built to radically simplify trip management. While it might sound like a hotel booking engine (because of the name), it’s actually so much more.
Hotel Engine can save businesses up to 60% on corporate lodging booked through their platform, which connects travellers with over 700,000 lodging partners worldwide – not just a single hotel group. It also makes managing reservations and reconciliation easier for businesses, thanks to tools like travel policies, customisable reporting views and custom coding for receipts.
Like OBTs, Hotel Engine offers a wide selection of hotels to choose from and useful filters. But unlike OBTs, Hotel Engine also has the tools to truly simplify business travel — and has direct relationships with hotels, with exclusive rates you won’t find elsewhere.
These direct relationships also allow business travellers to double up on rewards points, thanks to Hotel Engine’s integration with 15+ top hotel loyalty programmes (e.g. Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, etc) and HE Rewards, which can be used toward discounted or free stays booked on the platform. No booking engines, OBTs or TMCs offer the ability to layer both external hotel loyalty programmes and an internal points programme like Hotel Engine.
In addition, Hotel Engine is built to book both business and leisure accomodations — handling multiple guests, long term stays and complex billing easily. OBTs focus on individual leisure travellers.
But that doesn’t mean that Hotel Engine is a TMC, either. While Hotel Engine does specialise in connecting businesses with great corporate lodging options and consolidated billing, business travellers can also use Hotel Engine to book hotels for personal travel with the same exclusive rates. And they can layer their rewards for double the points on personal travel, as well.
Most importantly, Hotel Engine is free to use — with no contracts and no minimums required.
Finally, there’s a better way to manage business trips
When it comes to coordinating corporate lodging, the less hassle the better.
Hotel Engine is radically simplifying trip management for every travel budget.
Start managing your corporate travel with ease: sign up for your free account today.
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.