Website Booking Engine Customization Options
The BookingCenter ‘booking engine’ allows online bookings from the ‘real-time rates and availability’ coming from our Desktop, MyPMS and Channel Manager or other systems who interface with us. It is very flexible and therefore, can be customized to your needs.
Any BookingCenter customer can customize the ‘look and feel’ of the booking engine by using one of the 3 approaches described below:
Use the BookingCenter software to alter the features of our existing templates to reflect what you want. This is the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to make the Booking Engine look like your ‘style’. Features such as requiring an email, not requiring a mobile telephone, showing a custom banner, choosing a background color, take the calendar off the enquiry page, use custom package queries, change fonts/colors, etc. can all be chosen.
These are all easily modifiable and can be done by any lay person – or BookingCenter support staff will do it for you.A few examples of customers who have incorporated the Booking Engine using this basic method include: http://www.orchardhill.com and http://www.beallmansion.com/
BookingCenter Booking Engine API
Use the BookingCenter Booking Engine API (Application Programming Interface) to query the Central Reservation Service using common HTML techniques such as FORM POST and GET commands in order to show customized ‘web services’ such as, a photo album of your property, a July 4th Package, a series of rooms that can each hold 4 guests, etc. The use of the ‘API’ requires an experienced programmer proficient in HTML design and coding techniques. Specifically, it is written to use the PHP modules that we support in our Central Reservation Service.
Any BookingCenter customer who signs our Non-Disclosure Agreement (the ‘Booking Engine NDA available here for download) and faxes it back to us at +1-718-228-5959 can receive a copy of the BookingCenter Booking Engine API . For those folks with the skill necessary to implement an API, the document alone is all that is needed to begin customizing the booking engine for your needs. However, the use of the API requires technical skills and therefore technical support is only given to customers paying at the rate of US$90/hour billable in half-hour allotments.
Once again, the BookingCenter Booking Engine API is a technical document that BookingCenter supports with outside programmers at a rate of US $90/hour. One does not require support to use it, only programming knowledge. Support for using the BookingCenter Booking Engine API is not included as part of the standard BookingCenter support packages.For an example of a customer who has developed using the BookingCenter HTML API, take a look at http://www.thelagunabeachinn.com/.
BookingCenter OTA XML API
The most comprehensive customization option, for any customer to implement, is the complete exposure of the Central Reservation Service via our BookingCenter OTA XML API. This method allows you to create your own unique ‘wrapper’ ( or ‘web service’) to replace our Booking Engine entirely for your website.
The method of interfacing is a SOAP XML web service allowing for:
- Availability and booking interface between BookingCenter’s system and a customer’s website application presented as a web service using SOAP.
- SOAP messages using the OTA schemas based on the OTA 2008B Specification from http://www.opentravel.org/ with online documentation is available at http://www.opentravel.org/Specifications/default.aspx?spec=2008B.
- Our SOAP WSDLs are compatible with Microsoft’s .NET platform and NuSOAP (the PHP variant for SOAP). Options exist for other development platforms, but we support these.
- No restrictions on server implementation, as it has no impact on client.
- The XML Service supports multiple search criteria such as availability, rates, rooms, packages, amenities, activities, etc.
- Availability is data is taken from data coming from any Desktop Pro, MyPMS, or Management Tool customers.
Reviewing the HTML API and XML Web Services Spec
In order to examine the BookingCenter Central Reservation System API or XML API specs, you will need to download the NDA (non disclosure, here for download), sign it and fax it back to us at +1-718-228-5959. We will then send the appropriate documentation, login and info for you to test your code against our ‘Test System’ and then release to production once readied.
More Information for getting the most out of our PMS Products and the Booking Engine
MSO: Learn about the features and benefits of the Marketing Services Organization (MSO) which helps track customers to your booking engine by visiting: http://www.bookingcenter.com/products/mso.html. The MSO is meant to help with automating and tracking online marketing efforts.
Source Tracking: By adding a Source code to your online ‘Book Now’ buttons, you can automate the Source analysis used in the Desktop or MyPMS system – allowing you to analyze your internet sources and automatically assign commission payments to Sources that send you actual bookings. Very much like an Internet ‘affiliate program’. The program is easy to do – follow the steps outlined here.