Hotel Engine or Online Travel Agencies: Which is the Best Fit for Your Travel Needs?


Booking a business stay for yourself or your team?

Where will you go to make your booking?

Online travel agencies (OTAs) are a really popular option, with good prices and a huge inventory of hotels to choose from. But after you click to book, you’re pretty much on your own.

Hotel Engine is different.

Hotel Engine builds on what OTAs offer with a specific focus on tools and customer care for businesses that do a decent amount of travel. With us, you can not only book hotel rooms at great rates but also keep track of travel data across your whole company, however big or small.

In fact, there’s quite a bit of difference between Hotel Engine and OTAs, mainly because they’re built for two different kinds of travelers. So, we’ve put together a quick breakdown to help you find just the right option for your business travel needs!

Hotel Engine & Online Travel Agencies: What’s the Difference?

[bctt tweet=”There’s quite a bit of difference between Hotel Engine and OTAs, mainly because they’re built for two different kinds of travelers. Check out this quick breakdown find the right option for your business travel needs!” username=”hotel_engine”]


First up, let’s get a quick lowdown on the key features of both OTAs and Hotel Engine.

Online Travel Agencies

OTAs tend to be big websites featuring thousands of hotels based in a range of international locations. They are a great option if you are looking for a robust inventory of hotels and a quick booking process.

You can search for hotels available for your dates of travel. You can then filter search results by location, hotel amenities, and ratings to find exactly the right property for your trip.

Hotel Engine

On Hotel Engine, you can search 400,000+ hotels based in the US, Canada, and 185+ other countries. Our platform is built specifically to meet the needs of companies with traveling workforces.

Hotel Engine offers a user dashboard, where you can easily manage all your bookings, a feature we know regular business travelers find particularly useful. Some other features that really stand out to our business customers are items like:

    • Direct Bill access, which gives our members the ability to pay charges at the end of each month instead of paying individually for each stay
    • The ability to set Travel Policies for a team or department, including a maximum nightly rate, or the ability to filter out rooms that are non-refundable
    • Advanced analytics and reporting tools
    • Incidentals Coverage (removing the need for remote workforces to present a credit-card at hotel check-in)


How much do hotel rooms cost with these two different travel options? And what can you expect in terms of fees, deals, and rewards?

Online Travel Agencies

When it comes to hotel prices, OTAs are pretty competitive. They also tend to offer a rewards program. Whenever you book a room, you’ll get air miles, OTA points, or a free night’s stay for every ten nights booked, etc. (depending on which travel site you use).

Hotel Engine

Hotel Engine uses its collective buying power to negotiate some of the best rates in the industry.

The platform also has a great built-in rewards program that lets you collect HE Rewards points on top of your favorite hotel programs for double the savings.

What’s more, Hotel Engine is also free to use. There are no joining fees, no membership fees, no minimums, no contracts, and no booking fees.

The savings Hotel Engine members experience are often compounded in the form of time savings. The benefits Hotel Engine boasts for business travelers in terms of time and money saved make it a very cost-effective solution, as we’ll see in the section below.


Finally, let’s take a look at the standout benefits of each travel booking option. What’s their key offering to business users?

Online Travel Agencies

The biggest benefits in using OTAs are inventory and choice. Because the majority of OTAs are owned by two big companies, they all tend to offer something pretty similar in regard to price.

OTAs have the added benefits of great filters and sorting tools, which makes a user’s life a bit easier. Some OTAs also offer package deals, so you can book flights and activities along with your hotel.

Hotel Engine

What makes Hotel Engine stand out from the crowd? We differ from OTAs in two key ways:

Business-focused toolkit

Unlike OTAs, the Hotel Engine platform has been built specifically for businesses and their travelers.

We provide a crystal clear interface, and our admin dashboard gives you access to booking info and travel data at a glance.

Person using Hotel Engine for hotel bookings

You can use the dashboard to manage reservations, generate reports, analyze your company’s travel trends and pay hotel bills in one big monthly lump sum. With our platform, you can save time and also find ways to reduce travel spend (and prove it to your CFO!).

Also, our dedicated Project Services team can help you to make bookings for group travel and long-term projects (and for no extra cost). It’s Hotel Engine’s goal to help companies reduce costs, time waste, and stress levels for all their business travel.

Customer care

Hotel Engine prides itself on being a customer-first platform. We provide a dedicated, US-based Member Experience team who is at the end of the phone 24/7 to help you with your account and your bookings. No long wait times, overseas routing, or frustrating outcomes.

So Which is Right for You?

Now that we’ve delved into the details of these travel solutions, which one sounds right for you?

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t just a teensy bit biased. But, in all honesty, it depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re an infrequent traveler looking for the greatest selection of rooms at good prices, an online travel agency could be a great fit for you. Their prices and large choice of hotels more than makeup for a lack of business tools.

However, if you or your business has relatively consistent travel spend — or you manage a team who does — Hotel Engine undoubtedly leads the pack. We offer incredible rates on top of great travel management features that save invaluable time.

But don’t take our word for it. Check it out for yourself!

Hotel Engine is free to join and free to use. Just click here to set up your account, and our team will work on getting you approved so you can begin your next hotel search!