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ECommerce Solutions Research: Hotel Booking Engines – IBE, GBE and ABE

Image: PopTika/Shutterstock

Definition: Booking Engines create the opportunity for hotels, golf courses, spas and other businesses to expedite purchases from their website. Hotels may receive room reservations for individuals or groups, golf courses receive tee times and spas receive service bookings. These engines are the centerpiece of direct transactions and allow these businesses to participate in the digital economy.


When a consumer goes to travel in today’s world, there are many options regarding how to proceed with finding and booking a travel experience. The resulting choice creates a potential need to purchase multiple types of products and services as the trip is planned and confirmed. While most of us take this scenario for granted, those of us who have to make these ecommerce systems function properly and fulfill these purchases understand the world of booking travel. The aforementioned choice may include much more than just hotel rooms. Setting other major travel segments aside, it may need to consider a bottle of champagne, bouquet of flowers, dinner reservation, voucher, spa appointment, retail product, tee time and much more. If the hotel booking is for a group, then it may need to combine a meeting room, A/V equipment, catering, and that is just the beginning. As a hotelier, it is obvious this ecommerce booking experience may need to cover the ability to purchase numerous products and services to finalize a booking. Therefore, it causes the industry to wonder about the possibilities of multi-product bookings. As you would expect, it certainly is possible, but it may rely on a somewhat capable and complex ecommerce solution or an array of systems that facilitate one or more purchases to complete these hotel booking scenarios.

This Capsolve report uncovers information about the many solutions in this category to allow us to discuss requirements, identify solution paths and find the software that will simplify and increase the conversion rate for the products being sold digitally. Capsolve found three primary subcategories of solutions and labelled them Internet Booking Engines (IBE), Group Booking Engines (GBE) and Amenity Booking Engines (ABE) to support efficient conversation. It’s usually helpful to put definition around these acronyms despite them being relatively self-explanatory. IBEs are designed to sell hotel rooms as a primary function, but they may also encompass functionality to sell amenities. The GBE solutions allow for the initiation of a lead or RFP in various forms and levels of details and could even progress to the confirmation stage of a booking. These solutions may also fulfill other parts of the resulting group booking. Finally, an ABE may take many forms, but allows for the booking of additional products and services. It may be a standalone system, combined with an IBE or even be delivered as a fully integrated multi-product capable system.

As of this writing, Capsolve identified 220 IBE, GBE and ABE solutions designed to address the needs of the industry that were considered for this research. Aside from the original implementations of online hotel booking capabilities for brands and chains, these tools eventually allowed hotel companies of all sizes, including independent properties and vacation rentals, to place their rooms for sale on the web. A segment of these systems then began to house the ecommerce inputs for the many amenities that could accompany the purchase of a room, especially in a resort environment.

As seen in the above image, the ECommerce Solutions are delivered across the globe by companies headquartered in all parts of the world, possibly more than any other technology with the exception of channel management solutions. The United States has a significant share of those tracked in Capsolve’s research and it represents approximately 30% of the total, followed by Spain, Germany and Australia.

Marketplace Context

As with other categories within hospitality, this dispersion extends well beyond the geographic headquarters of the solution providers into the actual functionality of their respective solutions. The reality is that you will find almost any combination of functionality within this marketplace depending upon your business needs, although limits do exist. However, finding and evaluating these and hundreds more vendors that play a role in hospitality ecommerce may quickly become overwhelming.

Capsolve has researched this category of solutions for you and sheds light on how to find the best solutions for your team and company.

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Capsolve’s Research on ECommerce Solutions includes:

  • ECommerce Solution Styles
  • Core Capabilities of ECommerce Solutions
  • Sales & Marketing Considerations
  • The Ecosystem of ECommerce Solutions
  • Current Trends

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About The Document

This document details a review of the marketing information and capabilities associated with ECommerce Solutions and the surrounding technology ecosystem. It contains original content written by Capsolve to provide a perspective of current trends affecting hotels, amenity partners, solution providers, consultants and agencies. The analysis covers a statistically significant portion of the Hotel ECommerce Solution marketplace.