The most efficient online booking engine for travel agents

The newest and most improved searching and booking options for travel advisors

Every travel advisor needs an all-in-one solution. A booking engine to find the best range of options, easy to use and stress-free. The most advanced features and tools should help travel agents to simplify their tasks during the search and booking phases. But what makes a great portal for travel agents or a great hotel comparison tool? Which features should these tools have to ensure the quickest and best service?

To answer these questions we have gathered information from different travel professionals, coming up with a complete checklist of all the requirements and features that an efficient booking engine should have.

Have a look, and click on any item to jump to that section:

1. Smart Search Box

2. Sortable Results

3. Search and find nearby places

4. Multiple filters to fine-tune your search

5. Selection & comparison of favourite hotels

6. Hotel Cards

7. Available Alternatives

8. Cross-selling module

9. Quote Management Tool

10. Shopping cart with time extension

Smart Search Box

The home page of most of the booking portals features a Search box. An efficient booking engine should offer a fully customizable search tool, and every travel advisor is looking for a solution that stands out as:

  • GLOBAL. Allowing a travel advisor to search for destinations and hotels all over the world by country, city, or even neighbourhood.
     
  • QUICK. A good booking engine always enables you to look up for any destination or hotel name in a matter of seconds...
     
  • CLEVER. A tool that provides autocomplete suggestions to your queries, and understands inputs even with small typos.

 

Smart search box

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Sortable Results

Once you are on the results page, the system will bring up a full list of the properties matching your query. If you are using Bedsonline’s booking engine, for example, you will first see a list of our suggested hotels, handpicked for the selected destination.

You can also sort results by categories such as star rating, price or customer review score.

Are you a Tripadvisor fan? Sort your results by Tripadvisor rates, one of Bedsonline's booking engine latest improvements.

Sortable results

Search and find nearby places

The map visualization enables you to have an overall view of the area you're searching, and the exact location of the hotels. If you want to choose an efficient booking engine, these are our recommendations on things you should look for:

  1. Drag-and-drop Google's "Pegman" on the map for a tour of the area.
     
  2. The map visualization should allow you to see the price, star rating and reviews ideally by moving your pointer over the hotel's icon. This can be helpful to avoid opening every single hotel page in a new tab.
     
  3. The chance to open a pop-up menu with further information about the hotel while still being on the map.

Search and find nearby places

Multiple filters to fine-tune your search

In some cases, the number of hotels available within a destination will be significant and may slow you down. A good selection of filters can help you to find exactly what you are looking for. There are several filters that every booking engine should have, here is some of the most popular: 

Price range, Category. (Hotel Rating).
Hotel board types. (Room Only, Half-Board, All-Inclusive, etc.)
Zone or neighborhood.
Establishment Type. (Business hotel, Leisure, etc.)
Amenities and services. (Spa, Swimming Pool, Parking, Internet, etc.)
Chain name (for those customers who are members of loyalty programs).
Top Hotels (a list of recommended hotels or premium rates).

Top-five filters

If you don't want to settle for just "good", you can also find these five additional filtering options available in our Bedsonline Booking engine:

  1. Favorites. You can filter your search results based on your preferences so you can quickly find the hotels that you have saved as ones you love.  

    Filter by favourites

  2. Close to. Many customers would choose a hotel only for a near point of interest, and this filter allows the user to search a place and a radius around it up to 70 miles.

  3. Cancellations fees. It helps you to quickly find hotels offering the cancellation policies that you and your clients require.

  4. Filter by Tripadvisor reviews. 72% of customers won't take action before reading reviews (My Testimonial Engine), so showing rates of hotels from the world's largest travel platform can be a great advantage.

    Filter by reviews

  5. Filtering by discount offers. Providing a low price is not always enough, but the best offer can be appealing to many. With this filter feature, you can offer premium discounts to your customers and increase your chances of satisfying their needs.

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Selection & comparison of favourite hotels

Travel advisors might need to keep track of the best hotels available on a booking engine and creating a favorite list can be a crucial feature to simplify this job. With an efficient booking engine, it should be as easy as clicking on a button on every specific hotel page. 

This action will ideally insert that specific hotel in a list, where you can sort all your favorites by destination. This is an example from the Bedsonline booking engine:

selection of favourite hotels

Compare your favorites!

With a top booking engine, you will also have the option to compare your narrowed hotel selection showcasing at glance every hotel’s characteristic and feature: equipment, reviews rates, map location, nearest points of interest and much more.
 
Additionally, you will be able to export the hotel comparison as a PDF file, print it or send it via email to your customers.

Hotel comparison

Hotel Cards

When diving into the results of a query, every hotel card should include all the key information such as star rating, Tripadvisor rating, total price, location, highlighted amenities and category room. This to make sure that travel advisors have everything at their fingertips.

 

Hotel cardsAnd some features can make a difference in the hotel card. In the Bedsonline website, these are two of the major changes added to the hotel fact sheet:

  • Tab Menus. Situated on the lower part of each hotel box and separated into four different tabs: map, images, description, opinions. Each of these tabs will show you the information you need when clicked. Our favorite is the map tab, which tells you the distance between the hotel and the essential places such as a bus or train station or the distance to popular tourist attractions.
     
  • Daily Rate Hover.  Normally when someone performs a search they only see the total cost for selected dates. This functionality provides the real cost for each night and the average night cost when the mouse cursor hovers over the price.

 

tab menu in hotel cards

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Availability Alternatives

In the case that there are unavailable rooms for specific hotels, an ideal booking engine should be able to offer a selection of alternative options (with similar search criteria), with rooms available, inside the hotel fact sheet as found on Bedsonline. This is a very important feature that helps in meeting specific needs and customer's expectations.

availability alternatives

Cross-selling module

An ideal cross-selling module for a booking engine can boost your sales by offering at a fingertip related activities, and extra services related to the chosen destination and the client profile such as:

  • Transportation and car rentals
  • Travel insurance
  • Recommended activities

 

Cross-selling module

Quote Management Tool

This feature is an easy and simple way to save quotes, and share them with your customers, while keeping track of their contact details. Watch our VIDEO DEMO about How to make a quote.

These are the advantages of a quote management tool of a booking engine:
 

  • The option to save quotes from a hotel comparison screen.
  • Access to your quotes section with the possibility to search chronologically or through customer’s details. 
  • To link a quote to a customer contact detail form.
  • Quick actions (ideally through buttons) to share a quote with customers, and to finalize a purchase.

 

Quotes management tool

Shopping cart with time extension 

A booking engine that forces travel advisors to make a quick decision can be quite inefficient. Every travel advisor needs flexibility, especially when dealing with uncertain customers.
These are two options that you need to look for in your ideal online booking engine:

  1. Shopping cart recovery. Sometimes errors happen during a booking process. A great booking engine should have the option to add the items again to save your cart and recover it easily and quickly.
     
  2. Timer extension. The regular 30 minutes timer on the shopping cart is sometimes not enough to complete the booking process. It’s great to have a “add time to the cart” button, and extend the timer by an extra 30 minutes.

 

Shopping cart with time extension

At the end of the day, any travel agent who is looking to maximize their productivity and find the perfect trip for their customers will definitely want to have the right tools on hand. We know how important it is for professionals to have a flexible yet very advanced website to find exactly what they are looking for, and that's why Bedsonline is determined to help every travel advisor and make their searching process effortless — and even fun.

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