back icon Back Insights 12/21/2023

What is an Internet Booking Engine (IBE)?

Are you on the hunt for one software application that can simplify the reservation process, improve conversion rates, enhance customer satisfaction, and inspire data-driven decision-making? Look no further than an Internet Booking Engine. An Internet Booking Engine (IBE) software application allows consumers to book travel-related services directly online.

Often referred to as online booking systems, IBEs are tools leveraged by various travel companies—namely airlines, hotel chains, and cruise lines—to sell travel products directly on their website. Such tools provide real-time, 24/7 booking capabilities to users around the globe, as well as a haul of benefits to businesses that use them. Here’s what you need to know about IBEs.

Internet Booking Engines: The Basics

Let’s start with the basics: What is an Internet Booking Engine, and how does it work? 

Internet Booking Engines connect to travel service providers’ central reservation systems (CRS) or global distribution systems (GDS) to generate timely service and rate information. Each time a customer makes a reservation, the IBE communicates with these systems to confirm availability, process payments securely, and produce immediate booking confirmation.

IBEs are indispensable tools to travel agents and service providers because timely and accurate reservations are paramount in the travel industry. Online booking tools eliminate the need for a manual booking management system, reducing the potential for errors that could impact the traveler experience. They also enable travel brands to offer a more convenient booking process. 

By and large, organizations have found that adopting IBEs can revolutionize operational efficiency and expand customer reach. In today’s ultra-saturated travel market, IBEs can significantly lower customer acquisition costs, enhance rate parity, and provide data-driven insights. These benefits improve the overall user experience, increasing customer loyalty and revenue.

How IBEs Enhance the Travel Booking Experience

From tour operators and travel agents to resorts and rental agencies, here’s how Internet Booking Engines enhance the booking experience. 

Streamlines the Online Booking Process 

IBEs automate the booking journey from search to sale, offering dynamic packaging of multiple travel products, like pairing air tickets with rental car rates. They allow for one-click reservations and payment processes, reducing customers’ time finalizing their travel plans. And because IBEs integrate with an existing website, they instantly feel on-brand to returning customers. 

Enables Personalization and Customization 

Like other online travel portals, Internet Booking Engines can track user preferences over time, enabling tailored travel recommendations and personalized deals. Advanced IBEs utilize AI to enhance the user experience by predicting customer preferences and offering customized packages. Even better, AI-powered insights can personalize travel marketing for heightened user engagement. 

Provides Real-Time Availability and Pricing 

Beyond simplifying and personalizing the travel booking experience, Internet Booking Engines also provide availability and pricing updates in real-time, allowing customers to make informed decisions quickly. This real-time data capability is especially crucial during high-demand travel periods, where prices and availability on flights and hotel reservations can fluctuate rapidly.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an IBE

You’ve come to the right place if you’re searching for a reliable Internet Booking Engine. At arrivia, we’ve been powering white label travel portals and travel loyalty technology for over 25 years. As you conduct research for your travel brand or travel-adjacent business, the team at arrivia recommends keeping an eye out for the following four Internet Booking Engine features. 

Pricing Models and Cost-Effectiveness

Different Internet Booking Engines offer various pricing models, such as subscription-based and per-transaction pricing. Subscription-based models charge a flat monthly fee, while per-transaction models take a percentage of each booking. Assessing your average sales volume and preferred profit margins is vital to gauge which model offers the best return on investment (ROI) for your business.

User Interface and Ease of Use

An Internet Booking Engine should feature an intuitive interface that requires minimal training. This ease of use goes two ways: One way for staff, who must quickly navigate internal data insights, and one way for customers, who anticipate a seamless booking process. Your chosen IBE should boast a minimal learning curve to entice users immediately.

Mobile Compatibility and Responsive Design

At a time when 39% of smartphone users are more likely to browse or shop through their devices or mobile applications for ease of use, your chosen Internet Booking Engine must feature a mobile-friendly design. With many travel bookings made on mobile, your IBE must adapt to different screen sizes to ensure a functional and aesthetic user experience. 

Security and Data Protection Measures

2024 must be the era of data security for travel brands and travel-adjacent businesses. Given the sensitive nature of the financial and personal data processed and cataloged through Internet Booking Engines, your desired IBE must have robust security protocols. Ensure it complies with payment and data protection laws and that customer information is secure from cyber threats.

Elevate Your Travel Program with arrivia

With more than a quarter-century of experience and the most competitive travel inventory globally, the arrivia team knows a thing or two about Internet Booking Engines. If the objective of your chosen IBE is to elevate customer satisfaction, enhance conversion rates, and empower data-driven decision-making, discover the power of arrivia’s unrivaled travel rewards. 

Trusted by some of the world’s most respected hospitality and financial brands, the arrivia platform revolutionizes where loyalty programs and travel benefits intersect, introducing white label travel capabilities that integrate directly with your existing framework. Explore the arrivia’s product to learn more about our memorable travel experiences and simplified booking abilities.