What Customization Options Do I have For the Booking Engine?
Any BookingCenter customer can customize the 'look and feel' of the booking engine by using one of the 3 approaches described below:
1. Use the BookingCenter software to alter the features of our Booking Engine template 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 help you.
2. Use the BookingCenter Booking Engine API (Application Programming Interface) we provide 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 at: http://files.bookingcenter.com/API_use_NDA.pdf 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.
3. The most comprehensive customization opportunity for any customer to implement is the complete exposure of the Central Reservation Service via our BookingCenter OTA XML Web Services API. This method allows you to create your own unique 'wrapper' ('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 2006B Specification from http://www.opentravel.org/ with online documentation is available at http://www.opentravel.org/Resources/xdocs/2006A/index.htm.
SOAP Platform support
SOAP is compatible with Microsoft's .NET platform and NuSOAP (the PHP variant for SOAP).
No restrictions on server implementation, as it has no impact on client.
The XML Service supports multiple search criteria using such criteria 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.
In order to look at theHTML API or XML Web Services API spec, you will need to download the NDA (non disclosure) available for download at the URL above, sign it and fax it back to us at +1-718-228-5959 - letting us know which API you want (one or both). We will then send the appropriate spec for your use in customizing the Booking Engine to your website(s).
Additional website options include:
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/interfaces-and-modules/marketing-services-mso/. The MSO is meant to help with automating and tracking online marketing efforts. For help understanding how to add MSO features to your website, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document we wrote here.
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.
'Book Now' Buttons. For help with placing 'Book Now' buttons on a website - and for free 'Book Now/Check Availability' graphics you can use for this purpose - you may want to see them here.
FaceBook Booking Engine: To learn how to place our FaceBook Booking Engine into your FaceBook 'company page', click here.