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How to Develop and Online Travel Booking Engine

Software Engineering

5 minutes read

Imagine people buying plane tickets chaotically without prior reservation; think of people traveling thousands miles to a hotel just to find out that there are no more rooms available for the nearest weeks or months. If you do so, you will understand the value online travel booking engines bring to customers and why people are so into booking their leisure. It is just a business model that deprives people of troubles, and this is exactly what a booking engine for a travel agency is all about. This is a solution that brings the business and the clients closer in their will to embark upon mutually-advantageous cooperation. Hence, today, we will talk about how to develop a travel agency online booking engine that brings results and not promises.

Advantages of Using a Booking Engine for Travel Agency

The world of traveling has gone online long before the pandemic was here. Both those who travel a lot and those who consider groceries shopping quite a trip like the planning process to be swift and efficient. Steve Deane from Stratosjets claims that 83% of adults planning their trips prefer doing it online. What is more, 65% is the share of online sales in the global travel and tourism market, as per Statista. Online bookings have turned out to be too convenient for the folks to deny them.

So, the question is: why not render the process of using your services more customer-friendly? The advantage of having a refined online booking engine is a cumulative one: it sets one’s clients in a mood to return for the services received time and time again.

Define the Scope

There are various types of booking engines for travel agencies. They might be classified based on their business model (B2B, B2C, and even B2E booking engines), offered product specifics (hotels, flights, etc.), and agent type (reseller or a direct supplier). While having or using a comprehensive product might be a good idea, it should not be too extensive. Too many features are as bad as scarce functionality. In simple words, define what and whom you want to sell it to. Thus, you will be able to develop an online booking engine that sells efficiently.

Sure enough, serving as one of the major tour operators solutions, booking engines for travel agencies make life easier on both sides. But as a service provider, your first task will be defining the very scope of features you want your booking engine to have. By doing this, a business prevents itself from encountering two major issues in the future

  • Wrong budgeting. Knowing the type of the product sets the basis for laying the right financial grounds for its development. 
  • Wrong targeting. Every piece of software must be aimed at dealing with a particular issue or issues faced by a certain cohort of customers. 

The idea behind this phase of development is to set clear business goals, which will then become the basis for setting up the requirements for your tech partner. The clearer the requirements are, the more precise will be the project estimate for developing a travel agency booking engine.

There Are Must-Have Features

As you have proceeded with defining the overall scope of the solution you need, there is a need to make sure it holds fast to the key features every successful travel agency online booking engine should have.

  • Dynamic packaging. Every user wants omnichannel service. Let them book their trips on an end-to-end basis within your platform. 
  • Financial integrations. Leaving your app or webpage to proceed with payment is tedious. Make sure the booking engine features all the financial integrations required for swift and painless payments.
  • Travel content mapping. A built-in or an external mapping tool will prevent the engine from listing the very same inventory multiple times under various names.
  • Management flexibility. Booking a hotel room must not be a verdict. Let the user modify their reservations by changing all the parameters they might need.
  • Multi-language support.  While there is no need to explain why this feature is crucial to your project’s success, never forget that the travel business is a global one. 

Get the Team

While it might sound obvious, putting together a decent travel agency booking engine requires a software development team. Sure enough, there are various so-called ready-made offerings in the market, which you can take advantage of. Nonetheless, get ready for an abridged and limited scope of the tool’s flexibility and scalability. 

Meanwhile, getting a dedicated outsourced software development team is a one-time expense that gets you a tailor-made platform that delivers on the tasks your team has defined crucial for your business. Here is a process of finding a trusted software development team for your travel agency booking engine.

  1. First things first, you should look for a team that specializes in travel software development, and quite likely an outsourced vendor would be a perfect choice for you. Software development outsourcing has proved itself to be a miraculously beneficial model for the client, as outsourced teams are cheaper while their expertise and experience are often wider and richer.
  2. Check the portfolio of the candidate companies that have made it to your software developers shortlist. You would want a tech partner with relevant experience in developing the very same type of products.
  3. IT outsourcing companies tend to sweeten the deal when it comes to talking about their technical exploits on their websites. Go to Clutch or Goodfirms and check what their customers have to say about them.
  4. Finally, talk to their representatives and compare their offerings. Quite often it would be during this stage that you will be able to choose your tech partner based on their vision of the tech stack and the overall development process.

Let’s Sum It Up

As a matter of fact, the very process of developing a booking engine for a travel agency is not that long and tedious. Everything it takes is defining what kind of platform your business needs and what are the users’ needs you want it to meet. Then, you only need an experienced travel software development team to put your ideas together. By the way, a decent software vendor will also advise you on not only the implementation of your idea, but will also let you know how to refine it.

References

  1. stratosjets.com
  2. statista.com

FAQ

  • What is an online travel booking system?

    Online travel booking system is a type of software that allows all the travel business features to work via the internet and automatizes most of the process. Such systems reduced much of the manual work for travel agents, like entering information about clients and other booking info.

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  • Who is the booking engine for?

    Booking engine can be used by:

    • Online Travel Agents
    • Inbound & Outbound Tour Operators
    • Hotels / Resorts / Villas
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  • What is the principle of booking engine functioning?

    Online booking engine integrates into your website and makes online reservations through the website possible, including the display of all the rates and availability in real-time. Everything end-users need to do is to choose the most suitable dates and conditions to make a reservation.

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