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Hotel booking engine comparison: Chart to compare

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 9/05/2024

Why is booking engine comparison important?

A booking engine comparison is the process of evaluating different platforms to understand their features, functionalities, and suitability for a specific hotel. It’s essential because the right booking engine can help you:

  • Increase direct bookings by providing a seamless and user-friendly experience for guests to book directly on your website.
  • Boost revenue by reducing reliance on third-party channels and their associated commissions.
  • Enhance guest experience by offering a smooth and efficient booking process.
  • Streamline operations by integrating with your existing systems and automating tasks.

Comparing booking engines is important because hotels can determine the best system that not only improves the guest booking experience through an intuitive user interface, but also provides reliable support and integration capabilities, ensuring smooth operations and maximising direct revenue opportunities in a competitive market.

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Main considerations when comparing booking engines

Choosing the right booking engine is a pivotal decision for any hotel. The best booking engines help generate bookings, true, but they should also enable a seamless guest experience, optimising revenue, and streamlining operations.

To make an informed choice, it’s essential to dig deeper into the key factors that differentiate booking engines and determine their suitability for your unique needs.

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Booking engine comparison element 1: Free trial

A free trial is an excellent way for you to understand the functionality and fit of a booking engine with your hotel’s operations without any upfront investment.

This period allows you to evaluate how intuitive the system is for your staff and guests, how well it integrates with your existing software, and whether it improves your booking process and overall efficiency.

Always opt for a trial that gives you full access to the features most important to your success—this way, you can make a comprehensive assessment.

Booking engine comparison element 2: Reviews from other hoteliers

Reading reviews from other hoteliers who have already implemented the booking engines you’re considering can provide invaluable insights.

These reviews can highlight the strengths and potential drawbacks of each system, offering perspectives from real-world use that you might not have considered.

Look for feedback on aspects like customer support, ease of use, system reliability, and how well the features align with the claims made by the provider.

Booking engine comparison element 3: Clear results from case studies

Case studies are a robust source of detailed information on the effectiveness of different booking engines. They provide narrative evidence of how various systems have been implemented in settings similar to yours, the challenges faced, and the outcomes achieved.

Look for case studies that address properties similar in size or style to your own to understand how the booking engine performs under similar circumstances. Pay special attention to metrics like changes in direct booking rates, operational efficiency improvements, and any financial metrics like return on investment.

Booking engine comparison element 4: Pricing and fees

Consider whether your chosen booking engine requires monthly or annual fees and what these unlock in terms of features.

Assess whether the engine charges a percentage of each booking or a fixed fee per transaction, as this will influence your cost per acquisition and overall profitability, particularly during peak seasons. Be aware of any one-time setup costs associated with initial configuration, as these can significantly affect your budget.

Research any additional charges for extra features or services, such as channel management, custom integrations, or advanced reporting capabilities, which might be necessary for your operations – and if they’ll cost you more to enable.

Booking engine comparison element 5: Support and training

Effective booking engines include multiple support channels like phone, email, live chat, and/or a dedicated helpdesk to resolve any issues swiftly.

Reputable vendors provide ample training resources such as FAQs, tutorials, and user guides should be available to help your staff quickly learn to navigate the system efficiently, reducing the learning curve and accelerating operational effectiveness.

Ongoing assistance and regular updates are important to keep the software in line with the latest features and security standards, ensuring your technology stays current with industry trends and guest expectations.

hotel booking engine comparison
The winner when comparing booking engines: Discover how SiteMinder increased the direct bookings of Terracotta Hotel & Resort by +50%

Hotel booking engine comparison chart

There’s a broad swathe of booking engines available in today’s market. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve summarised some of the best and most popular options below.

Software Pros Cons
  • Industry leader with a proven track record: Trusted by thousands of hotels worldwide, offering a robust and feature-rich platform to elevate your direct booking strategy.
  • Exceptional user experience: Intuitive interface and seamless booking process, ensuring a positive experience for your guests.
  • Extensive customisation: Tailor the booking engine to match your brand perfectly, creating a consistent and professional image.
  • Unmatched integrations: Connect with a vast ecosystem of hotel technology solutions, streamlining operations and maximising efficiency.
  • Scalable for growth: Whether you have one property or a growing chain, SiteMinder adapts to your evolving needs.
Investment commensurate with value: SiteMinder’s comprehensive features and industry-leading position may come at a higher upfront cost compared to some competitors. However, the return on investment through increased direct bookings and operational efficiency can be substantial.
Little Hotelier
  • Ideal for small hotels and B&Bs: Designed specifically for smaller properties, offering a user-friendly platform with essential features at an affordable price.
  • Easy to set up and use: Get started quickly and manage your bookings efficiently without a steep learning curve.
  • Part of the SiteMinder family: Benefit from the expertise and support of the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels
Limited features compared to SiteMinder: May lack some advanced functionalities required by larger hotels or those with complex needs.
Eviivo Focus on vacation rentals and independent properties: Caters to a specific segment of the market with features tailored to vacation rentals and B&Bs.
  • May not be suitable for larger hotels: Limited features and scalability may not meet the needs of larger properties or hotel chains.
  • Interface can feel dated: User experience may not be as modern or intuitive as other platforms.
Innroad Comprehensive hotel management system: Offers a suite of tools, including PMS, POS, and booking engine, suitable for larger properties.
  • Complex interface: Can have a steeper learning curve and require more staff training.
  • Pricing structure may be complex: Understanding the cost structure and potential fees can be challenging.
Think Reservations Focus on independent hotels: Caters to the needs of independent properties with features for managing reservations and guest communication.
  • Limited integrations: May not offer the same level of connectivity with other hotel systems as some competitors.
  • The user interface may not be as intuitive: Some users may find the platform less user-friendly compared to the other options.

Booking engine comparison: 5 must-have features

The sign of an excellent booking system for your hotel is built on the cornerstones of these five crucial elements:

Property management system integration

A good booking engine fits perfectly with your property management system. This means all your bookings and room availability updates automatically and in real-time. No mix-ups, no extra hassle.

Customisable style

Your booking engine should feel like an extension of your hotel’s style. It should be easy to adjust so it looks consistent on your website. This helps build trust with your guests and keeps them from leaving the site without booking.

Multi-language and multi-currency support

Your guests come from everywhere, and your booking engine must be able to cater to that. Make sure it lets guests book in their own language and pay in their currency. It’s all about making them feel welcome and making booking easy, no matter where they’re from.

Safe and simple payments

Taking payments online needs to be safe. Your booking engine should protect your guests’ payment info with top-notch security. Plus, it should let guests pay their way, whether it’s with a credit card, PayPal, or something else. This keeps things smooth and safe for everyone.

This is so crucial, in fact, that SiteMinder has its own dedicated SiteMinder Pay process to keep everything secure.

Approachable analytics and reports

You must know what’s working and what isn’t to keep ahead of the competition. Choose a booking engine that gives you detailed but straightforward reports about how guests use your booking site. Use this information to make things even better, attract more guests, and boost your sales. Knowledge is power.

Booking engine comparison points

No two hotels are the same, and a booking engine suitable for one may not be suitable for another – particularly if they’re appealing to and trying to attract the bookings of distinctly different audiences. Here’s what to look out for based on your hotel type:

Luxury hotel

For luxury hotels, the booking engine should provide an exceptional and seamless user experience that reflects the opulence and high standard of service offered at the hotel. Key features include:

  • Customisable upselling options: Enable personalised room upgrades, special services, and exclusive packages right at the point of booking.
  • High-end security: Ensure top-tier data security to protect high-net-worth guest information.
  • Concierge service integration: Offer guests the ability to book spa appointments, dining reservations, and other amenities directly through the booking engine.


Resorts, often offering a wide range of activities and amenities, need a booking engine that can handle complex offerings simply. Important features include:

  • Package customisation: Guests should be able to tailor their stay by selecting room types, meals, activities, and spa services in one seamless booking experience.
  • Visual appeal: High-quality images and videos showcasing the property and its amenities are crucial to entice bookings.
  • Extended stay discounts: Encourage longer stays with automated discounts or special package rates for extended periods.


Motels need straightforward and efficient booking engines, considering the often short-term and last-minute nature of bookings. They should look for:

  • Mobile optimisation: Ensure the booking engine is highly functional on mobile devices, catering to travellers on the go.
  • Speed and simplicity: A quick, hassle-free booking process with minimal steps is essential.
  • Location features: Easy access to maps and location-based services to assist travellers in finding the motel easily.

Boutique hotel

Boutique hotels, known for their unique character and personalised service, should choose a booking engine that allows them to showcase their individuality:

  • Brand storytelling: Ability to incorporate the hotel’s theme, story, and style into the booking experience.
  • Tailored experiences: Options for guests to customise their stay based on interests or themes specific to the hotel.
  • Visual and media integration: High-quality visuals and media that highlight the unique décor and ambience.

Small hotel

Small hotels need a booking engine that is cost-effective yet powerful enough to handle all operational scales. For example, Little Hotelier’s booking engine focuses on:

  • Ease of use: Simple and intuitive interface for both guests and staff.
  • Direct booking incentives: Features that encourage guests to book directly, such as special rates or freebies.
  • Integration capabilities: Easily integrates with other systems like small-scale PMS or channel managers to streamline operations.

Compare booking engines: Which is best?

Every hotel is different, with a unique appeal to unique audiences. Your choice of booking engine must reflect your own independent, individual place in the wider industry.

In comparing booking engines, consider how each option enhances your hotel’s unique brand and operational efficiency.

Remember, the best choice is one that not only integrates seamlessly with your existing systems but also improves the guest experience from browsing to booking. As you assess crucial features, think about how they align with your hotel’s vision and growth objectives.

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