Anyone who has reserved a hotel room online has done so through a hotel booking engine. A hotel booking engine is a website user interface that allows end users to shop for hotel accommodations and make reservations. Some hotel booking engines are hotel-specific, meaning that they provide hotel rooms from a single hotel or hotel brand. Other hotel booking engines, like Hotels.com, offer hotels from many different brands. A private-label hotel booking engine is a website user interface built by one company that offers hotel rooms under the brand of another company. (It is sometimes referred to as a white-label hotel booking engine, as these terms are interchangeable.)
Types of Hotel Booking Engines
Direct booking engines are booking systems that are used for one exclusive hotel property or hotel brand. This type of system sells reservations from that hotel or hotel chain exclusively, and either connects to or acts as the in-house reservation management system. Private-label direct booking engines are branded with the hotel’s branding exclusively, and makes no mention of the company that built the application.
Affiliate booking engines allow a website to sell the inventory from another brand on their website. For instance, a business travel blog might add a sidebar to their site where users can book their business travel. In private-label affiliate hotel booking engines, that sidebar would look like it was just another part of the business travel blog The business travel blog would earn a commission on each sale made through their sidebar.
Travel portal booking engines sell hotel reservations from many properties and multiple wholesale suppliers. These sites market themselves as discount travel sites where users can find great rates on hotel rooms and other travel products. Private-label travel portals are systems that are built by a travel technology company but branded by another company that is going to market the inventory.
Reasons to Use a Private-Label Hotel Booking Engine
Building a hotel booking engine is complicated. It’s not enough to have an amazing interface – there is also the underlying architecture that powers search, determines rates, and secures transactions. For travel portal booking engines, there is also hotel mapping and integrating multiple suppliers’ APIs. All of this back-end functionality is extremely complex and takes a lot of time to build correctly. It can take years and millions of dollars to build an adequate hotel booking engine from scratch.
However, private-label hotel booking engines usually take only a few months to launch under a new brand, saving lots of time and (therefore) money. Additionally, they usually they come with maintenance agreements which preclude the buyer from needing in-house developers.
For private-label hotel booking engines that serve as travel portal booking engines, which sell hotel rooms from multiple hotel brands and suppliers, there is also the issue of acquiring and managing inventory. Some private-label hotel booking engines provide inventory along with the hotel booking engine software, and some do not.
Each supplier has their own process for establishing a business relationship, but generally the process to acquire inventory independently involves putting down a deposit ($10,000+) and proving that the new reseller is credit worthy. Rates, commission, and markup on reservations need to be negotiated as well. The whole process can take 6 months or more to complete, and then the buyer can start integrating the supplier’s API into their booking engine.
A travel portal hotel booking engine needs to include hotel aggregator technology to be able to merge inventory from multiple suppliers through the process of hotel mapping. This is a very complicated process because, even though each supplier can sell inventory from the same hotel brands, each supplier has their own pictures, contact information, descriptions, and prices for a given hotel. The duplicate information on a single hotel needs to be merged together to produce a single hotel listing on the travel portal hotel booking interface.
Working with Alliance Reservations Network
Alliance Reservations Network offers several types of private-label hotel booking engines. Our solutions are customized to fit each client’s individual business need, and our array of options is expansive.
- Hotel aggregator technology
- Established supplier relationships
- The best hotel rates available
- Turn-key solutions or API access
- Over 750,000 mapped properties
- Merchant account
- Customized revenue structures
Learn more about Alliance Reservations Network private-label hotel booking engines.