All online booking engines are not created equal. Today’s online booking solution needs to be a mobile booking engine with flexibility in how business rules are applied and where content is sourced. It is also becoming increasingly important for many successful online retailers to have greater control in customizing their travel booking engine’s user interface and overall branding.
Let’s face it, the internet is full of websites with online booking solutions, many of which look the same and access the same exact content as the others. So how can your travel agency compete and succeed in the crowded online travel marketplace? One way is by offering something different or extra to your customers and incorporating that distinguishing factor into your overall branding.
Online travel booking engines are designed to reduce the time and effort required to complete a booking by automating much of the process. Many of the air booking engines available in the market today offer live access to airline pricing and availability to be sure the most up to date information is used as well as live booking capability to book an airline seat on the spot. However, finding an affordable booking solution that protects your businesses unique brand identity can be a challenge.
The typical “out of the box” online booking engine provides some minimal capability for customization or branding. Some offer the ability to change booking engine elements like headers, footers or even the colors and font used. Others provide the ability change certain features in the template such as adding a customer or membership number, an additional phone field or even a promotional code input box depending upon your specific business needs. Complete private label versions are also available where you can design the complete layout of the booking engine to meet your specific requirements.
There are even XML Booking Engine options for those business owners who want to completely control their own User Interface while taking advantage of the powerful business logic and connections to multiple content sources that an established online booking engine can provide. More than just a “Live connection”, an XML Booking Engine can help your business take full advantage of powerful administrative features such as the ability to easily mark up or mark down selling fares and include “value add” offers in the display.
Robust reporting capabilities that can help you easily track and analyze your business are often available. And some XML Booking Engines offer the ability to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best airfare. There are even a few that can serve as a tool for clients to integrate their own negotiated airfares into some of the most popular online meta search engines. And remember to consider a mobile booking engine so that no matter what device your customers use to research and eventually book their travel plans, your booking engine will be available and ready to help you serve them.
A little research will go a long way when you’re looking for the best booking solution to serve all your customers.