How to Select a Hotel Reservation System and Web Booking Engine

Selecting Hotel Reservation Systems & Booking Engines
December 23, 2013 Michael Metcalfe

Selecting Hotel Reservation Systems & Booking Engines

hotel reservation system

Loving a Ferrari is simple. You’re still looking at it aren’t you? Well it’s ridiculously good looking, has a powerful engine, is fast, reliable and kaboom – it grabs attention. That’s exactly what you need your hotel reservation system and booking engine to achieve.


Yes – it’s about grabbing attention and converting sales.

The marketplace for hotel reservation systems, cloud booking engines and e-booking software is flooded. Options include plenty of expensive, affordable and cheap products and also, designs, quality, technical functionalities and user experiences differ greatly.

When choosing a hotel reservation system, you must fully analyse your requirements.

So stop before signing that contract. You need to think.

Remember, hotel guests visit loads of websites. When looking at your hotel, potential guests likely have 5 other windows open and successful conversion takes ingredients. The major danger? Paying for and installing non-converting hotel reservation systems.

Hotel Reservation System – Worst Case

Here’s a worst case… you sign long-term contracts with a small company who supplies hotel reservation software and booking engines. It’s hard to integrate into your site. The user experience is clunky, difficult and has painful payment options. Setup and ongoing fees are expensive. You’re not making sales. You can’t afford customisation and the supplier has limited technical expertise. It’s not mobile. Ouch – your setup is killing you.

Selecting the right hotel reservation system is critical.

Choosing from Hotel Reservation System

To help hoteliers, here’s over 50 questions and functional requirements to review when choosing hotel reservation systems. If you’d like help reviewing options, ask a question, visit our services or download a hotel booking engine requirements analysis template.

This system let you set your importance weightings, enter ratings per requirement and view suitability alerts. With this, you easily compare across hotel reservation systems.


The choice will depend on your specific goals, existing systems, distribution plans and functionality needs. You can see additional template previews on the Hoteliyo E-Store.

Here are the system requirement needs to review for choosing a hotel booking engine:

Hotel Reservation Systems – Overall Hotel Needs

1. system can be accessed from anywhere worldwide
2. all hotel info and data input fields are customisable
3. terms and conditions are specific to your hotel
4. options for asking marketing ‘where did you’ queries
5. displays hotel, room, extras and destination photos
6. guests can login for changes online post booking
7. ability to search for ‘all rooms’ or by the room type
8. customise brand and error messages through steps
9. guests are able to submit requests and comments
10. subscriptions to email newsletters / social channels
11. automatic notification and booking emails to guests
12. technical support 24-7-365 for critical trouble times

Hotel Reservation Systems – Site Integrations

13. booking steps can be embedded on your website
14. final payment steps are within your own website
15. able to utilise the booking engine’s SSL certificate
16. a customised URL is used for post booking pages
17. integration of rate and availability on room pages
18. able to integrate bookings with a channel manager
19. able to integrate system with hotel PMS inventory
20. system integrates with hotel financial softwares
21. able to process payment online or manually also
22. 100% PCI compliant suppliers to minimise risks
23. 100% responsive design for mobile-site bookings
24. attractive and simple visuals and user experience

Hotel Reservation Systems – Reporting & Administration

25. backend available as multi-lingual where needed
26. system provides reporting on the below data needs
a) value of hotel bookings each day, week and month
b) breakdown of rooms, extras and credit card fees
c) itemised (per booking) amounts and summary data
d) specific time period ranges
e) arrivals, check-outs and past booking summaries
f) able to export reports to excel or pdf where required
g) multiple user logins and access levels for employees
h) simple backend user experience for fast system use

Hotel Reservation Systems – Pricing and Revenues

27. display the offers and deals visually to grab attention
28. customise and display the payment options available
29. ability to customise debit and credit card fee listings
30. guests can buy extras per room or per actual guests
31. coupon and discount codes for specific guest types
32. displays a rate grid, allowing guests to visually scan
33. display promotion savings i.e. rack vs discount rates
34. shows sold out rooms (impression of hotel popularity)
35. displays remaining rooms to encourage fast booking
36. able to show unique photos of room types and extras
37. packages combine rooms, extras, stay rules, people
38. system identifies stay and room rules for adults/kids

Hotel Reservation Systems – Language & Localisation

39. customise country down-down fields (for priorities)
40. text, fields and payment screens can be translated
41. any ‘guide’ currency conversion rates are displayed
42. the backend admin system auto-translates for users
43. guest email notifications can be translated if needed
44. displayed system language is based on IP location

Hotel Reservation Systems – Commercial Consideration

45. quality of the ongoing technical support and team
46. timing and support provided for the setup process
47. pricing structure flexibility versus available options
48. contract flexibility + ability to cancel is not working
49. availability of online demo products and previews
50. hands on user experience tests of existing rollouts
Are you an independent hotelier? We’d love to hear what hotel reservation systems and booking engine you use. Why did you choose that supplier and how does it suit you?

Hotel Booking Engine Checklist

Need a template to start? Download our Hotel Booking Engine Analysis Checklist to help your decisions.



As always, we're interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let us know in the comments below!

Good luck with your hotels!
- Michael Metcalfe @ Hoteliyo

PS. Need more hotel and resort help? > See our Services | Get a Quote | Hotel E-Store | Contact Us

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  1. John at Sirvoy Ltd 3 years ago

    Hi, I can see has already been mentioned here, but just wanted to let Eric know that we also have integrations with, Expedia etc, besides the website booking engine.

  2. Eric Ring 3 years ago

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions regarding reservation software that seamlessly integrates with a hotel website and with third party vendors ie. Expedia etc

    • Author
      Michael Metcalfe 3 years agoAUTHOR

      Hi Eric, hope the system search and project progresses well!

  3. Thea 3 years ago

    I am loving your site and the template of the hotel booking agreement. I am building a new website for my hotel – so much of the advice here will be of great use, especially the facebook part (I hate the freaking thing but it’s a necessary evil).

    As for a booking engines, I started using Sirvoy a few months ago and I couldn’t be happier. It works perfectly, is easy to learn and manage and it’s affordable. I am now implementing the plugin on my website,and aside from me wanting to style it a little bit with css, it’s simple.

    • Author
      Michael Metcalfe 3 years agoAUTHOR

      Hi Thea – thanks for sharing your experience. Let me know when your site launches!

  4. Runy 4 years ago

    Michael I like your site.
    You have a nice way of telling stories and writing complicated stuff easily.

    What online hotel systems do you recommend, which passes all the criteria you describe above?



    • Author
      Michael Metcalfe 4 years agoAUTHOR

      Thanks Runy. I see you’re from Curacao – it’s a beautiful place.

      I haven’t found a system that easily passes all criteria. Depending on the hotel setup, pricing, clients and strategy, you likely don’t need all. Most hotels need a mix and match of functionality. If you’re asking for a specific hotel, contact me and I’ll recommend something workable.

  5. Raymart Nilo 4 years ago

    Thanks Michael – all discussed in one article! This hotel booking engine info will be helpful for independent hotel owners.

  6. Caitlyn Bell 4 years ago

    Nice sharing!! The information you mention for Select a Hotel Reservation System is great. I’m sure a lot of people will find it very useful.

  7. Nea 4 years ago

    Thanks a lot for sharing this tutorial. Our hotel website definitely needs upgrades!

    • Author
      Michael Metcalfe 4 years agoAUTHOR

      No worries Nea. Email me your site – I will take a look and send some ideas.

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