A booking engine or Internet booking engine (IBE) is an online application that processes reservations of travel products made via websites, mobile apps, social media, or metasearch.
Booking engines have two main technology layers. On one side, there’s a customer interface that accepts and processes search requests. It enables consumers to look for flights, hotel rooms, holiday packages, insurance, car rentals, and other travel products – and make reservations.
On the other side, booking engines are integrated with travel product suppliers’ internal systems (hotel property management systems, airline reservation systems, bed banks, GDSs, consolidator databases, and so on) that manage inventory distribution. Booking engines retrieve the availability and price of products requested by the customer and transfer the booking details (dates, name, special requests, etc.) to the system.
Other features of booking engines include
- travel content mapping,
- dynamic packaging,
- integration with payment gateways,
- multilingual support, etc.
There are booking engines for different business models, i.e., business-to-customer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-enterprise (B2E).