3 ways to build hotel booking portal development 2023

You’re here because building a hotel booking portal has crossed your mind at least once! And guess what? Right now is a great time to step into the tourism industry because it is quickly springing back to life after taking a massive hit during the pandemic.

As we know, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry was tremendous. People had been delaying their trips for far too long with travel bans and lockdowns. In fact, there was a 73% dip in tourist arrivals all around the world in 2020!  

So now that the restrictions have been relaxed down, people are ready with their sun hats and packed bags! Experts even predict that the travel industry is going to be on a boom in the near future! In 2023 alone, the industry will grow by 30%, and there will be a great demand to cater. 

See how the tourism market size has changed in the past five years, with a sharp dip in 2020 and a robust increase post-pandemic:


Market size of the tourism sector worldwide from 2013 to 2023


So now you understand that tourism’s future is bright, but how do you step into the industry and do consistent business? Our advice– find the pain point and resolve the issue. And this is why the hotel booking portal development idea is not so bad after all.


Why should you invest in hotel booking portal development?


Why should you invest in hotel booking portal development


The tourist market is booming, and businesses will see significant demand from travellers in the coming year. But the sad part is that the players are not readily equipped to cope with the boom, and there’s quite some frustration due to the lack of a streamlined process. So why not give them that? 

In the hospitality business, hotels are already struggling with managing overbooking, cancellations, lack of communication, delayed/early check-in processes, etc. And this is why building a top-notch hotel booking portal can be a real deal! 

And if you’re going to go with this idea, lucky for you because we’ll brief you on everything about the hotel booking portal or hotel booking website development in this article, answering all the hows, whats, and whys. 

Who should you build a hotel booking portal for?

Any website development should have a clear target audience, and tourism website development is no exemption. When it comes to any kind of travel agency website development, there are three groups they usually cater to:

  • Travellers [B2C channel]
  • Travel agencies [B2B channel]
  • Vendors/Service providers [B2B2C channel]


A hotel booking portal will focus on all. How? 

  • It will act as a hotel aggregator and bring business to vendors/service providers (here, hotels and stays).
  • It gives travel agencies access to a single interface for managing hotel bookings for clients.
  • It will equip travellers with options to choose the best stay wherever they go. 


There are several booking apps, also known as Online Travel Agencies (OTA), in the market that help travellers reserve transport, accommodation, and certain travel-related services. Some of these really popular OTAs are:


The above examples attest that competition in the market is solid. If you’re planning on getting into online travel agency website development with a hotel booking portal, you need to stay ahead of the crowd and offer certain features that ensure the best user experience. Let’s dive a bit into detail on these necessary features of your project.


Must have features to build the hotel booking portal


Must have features to build the hotel booking portal


As an expert travel website development company, we know about a specific set of features that are a must for online travel agency website development, and we don’t gatekeep. This is why we’ve compiled a list of features that we think you should include for your website users:  


  • Sign-up option:

Your vendors and customers can register and have their profiles, which will also allow you on data to personalise their experience. 


  • Advanced search options:

Allow travellers to get exactly what they want by adding filters with categories, tags, keywords, and more. 


  • Multiple payment options:

Customers are more likely to book with your app if you provide flexible payment options. This can be allowing credit cards, debit cards, direct transfers, etc., or supporting multiple currencies. A popular payment method allows customers to reserve and pay at the property, just like Booking.com does. 


  • Maps:

Most accomplished travel web development includes map integrations. Users can visualise where the location of the property on the map, which can help them understand where and how far it is located from major destinations they hope to explore on tours. 


  • Ratings and reviews:

Property ratings can make or break the deal for travellers when choosing a property. It will ensure they have a good stay experience and allow vendors to know where they need to work on their services.


  • Communication between vendors and customers:

One of the biggest struggles for the players in tourism is communication. With an in-built chat feature, you can ensure the traveller can directly question the stay’s manager and all their queries are answered. Property managers can also ensure to prepare well for their guests with a clear communication channel. 


  • Support:
App users will need support for the app and bookings done through the app. Even vendors can need it to efficiently use your platform and resolve an issue they might face with it. If you can provide quick and solid support to customers and vendors, they’ll form a positive reputation for your portal and keep coming back for more. Regardless of what travel website development services are, make sure they can integrate various support channels to help your users.


Now that we’ve discussed the essential features you need to add to your hotel booking portal let’s get to the part where you can decide how to build it. 

Most of the time, the travel agency website development clients need to decide how they will aggregate the vendors and the best offers to attract as many travellers as possible. This needs to happen before you jump into the development process and will include a plan for making a network of vendors for travellers to choose from based on their needs. 

Keep reading to understand three ways of hotel booking portal development.


3 Ways of Building A Hotel Booking Portal


3 Ways of Building A Hotel Booking Portal


During hotel booking portal development, you have three options based on how you want to build an inventory of hotel and stay vendors. Let us brief you on all three types of hotel booking portal systems:


Global Distribution System


A global distribution system (GDS) is a platform where users can directly access all kinds of tourism-related vendors, be it hotels, flights, cabs, etc., and make booking arrangements for various services directly from the platform. Global Distribution Systems is great for travel agents worldwide because it helps them manage all kinds of client reservations at the same central location. 

The four primary GDS platforms are Galileo, SABRE, Amadeus, and Worldspan. They all have extensive databases of travel-related services and well-developed tools for finding, comparing, and conducting transactions.


Benefits of GDS:

  1. Users can access all kinds of reservations and set up a complete travel itinerary with just a few clicks under a single interface.
  2. Since GDS systems make it easy for travel agencies to find available hotels, it decreases their effort spent on marketing and promotion.


Disadvantages of GDS:

  1. It is the most expensive way of hotel booking website development due to the costs related to specific GDS platforms. You will also be required to pay:
    • A connection fee
    • A Subscription fee
    • Transaction fees
  2. You and your vendor clients need approval from Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and International Air Transport Association (IATA).


Affiliate Partnership System


Now let’s talk about the easiest and budget-friendly hotel booking portal development process. With an affiliate partnership system, you can sign on as an affiliate partner with one or more market giants. You simply need to add a widget to your website or app that displays all of the partner’s offers, or you can customise it to show postings related to your niche, i.e. hotel bookings. 

For instance, if you utilise a service like Expedia, Airbnb, or Booking.com to compile hotel information with a widget, your webpage visitor can route to the provider with the cheapest option and book there. You will earn a fee from the original booking platform when that user makes a transaction.


Advantages of affiliate partnership:

  1. You don’t spend much money onboarding vendors and registering them to your system.
  2. You make passive income anytime someone uses your website to make a booking from your affiliate partner.


Disadvantages of affiliate partnership:

  1. Sometimes you only start earning once your website has a certain number of users..
  2. Your hotel options will be identical to those provided by thousands of other portals, so you’d have to focus on a particular market segment or offer unique features to stay ahead of the competition.
  3. You need to generate regular content and thoroughly optimise your website for bringing traffic from search engine and stay ahead of your competitors.


Custom Multi-Vendor System


As an expert in the field of travel web development, we know that the above two systems are two ends of an extreme. We think that a customised solution can give you a travel agency website development solution somewhere in the middle with a multi-vendor system.

A multi-vendor platform act as a network of hoteliers where they can register their properties with the services they provide and make a listing. Travellers can book their stay directly from your hotel booking portal. Here, your travel agency website developer will have to provide certain features like:

  • A separate administration interface for property owners to list their space and services
  • A tool to manage the room availability integrated with the admin’s property management system
  • Flexibility in pricing to modify room prices based on services customers choose and market demands or offer discounts to the loyal customers.


Advantages of the custom multi-vendor system:

  1. You don’t have to depend on other platforms to provide bookings and act as a direct intermediary between travellers and property owners.
  2. You can charge a commission to the hotel directly for every reservation made through your app or creatively define your own business model to get the most profits.
  3. You can provide features to advertise a specific property and charge to earn more money.


Disadvantages of the custom multi-vendor system:

  1. Custom development means building from scratch, which demands you to have enough clarity about features and roadmap of the hotel booking portal. 
  2. Can prove to be on the costlier end as you must invest in an expert travel web development company and need their continuous support in maintainence.


Once you’ve decided on the right way to build a hotel booking platform, you’re ready to work with a travel web developer to create your portal. Let’s discuss the five stages of hotel booking development portal.


How to Build A Hotel Booking Portal?


How to Build A Hotel Booking Portal


We’ve worked with several clients on building a travel booking portal, and we’ve managed to streamline the process in five stages: research, design, MVP development, testing, and launch. Let’s get into it one by one:


1: Stage Research 


Before you jump into the development process itself, you need clarity regarding your market, which includes understanding your target audience and competitors. Based on the research, you should be able to list the problems you intend to solve with your hotel booking portal development project. 

In this phase, we usually work with our clients to help them outline some common solutions competitors offer, where they lack, and how we, as a team, can combat that. We can make a list of necessary features to include and define the kind of user experience you want to provide. 


 2: Stage Design


When the research is complete, you and your travel website development company can discuss the design of your interface. UX/UI designers and developers work together on the design as part of front-end development. 

Each travel web development company has its own preference for its tech stack. We usually prefer working with the most advanced tools depending on whether you aim to build a website, a web app, or a mobile application.


3: Stage MVP Development


Developing the minimum viable product (MVP) for the hotel booking portal is a crucial stage, and we strongly recommend taking your time with this.The actual development process starts here where your travel web development company will build a basic version of the hotel booking portal with essential features you’ve finalised in step 1

Our team focuses on creating something functional at first, not making it very complex. It works for us, especially because quickly prototyping an operating version with limited features of your platform is the easiest method to determine whether it has promise and can be executed.


4: Stage Test 


When your MVP is complete, you can put it to the test by allowing a specific number of users to try it out. You can network out and find experts in this domain you can trust and recruit them to use your hotel booking portal and give you honest feedback on what works for them and what doesn’t. Based on their reviews, you can decide whether to add or eliminate certain features to enhance their experience. 

The reason why we keep limited features in MVP development is that it’s easy to add more features at a later point. But when you roll out a product with too many features at once, it is more expensive and time-consuming, and it can also damage the user’s experience and prove futile. 


5: Stage Launch


Remember that it’s okay to reiterate the software several times to polish it before you decide on a final launch. But after finishing testing and reiterating your MVP, you can launch it to the general public with extensive marketing campaigns and allow access through different platforms. So, for example, if your hotel booking platform is a smartphone-compatible app, it can be registered on app stores iOS and Android. 


Thinking ahead? 

Since the tourism industry is quite competitive, it’s wise to consider how you want to make your platform accessible to people and scale in the future. 

Native application development often proves to be relatively costlier if you hope to release your hotel booking portal on several platforms across various devices. If that’s what you want, we recommend you consider cross-platform app development or progressive web app (PWA) development. 

If you’re expecting your hotel booking portal to boom quickly, we suggest you consider developing a large-scale web application that can accommodate large volumes of traffic at any point in time.

What you choose solely depends on your plan for the future, but it’s our duty to help our clients understand all the solutions and their benefits that an adept travel web developer can offer.


How much will the hotel booking portal development cost?

We know you want an exact figure, but unfortunately, the cost ultimately depends on your requirements and expectations of this hotel booking portal development project. Here are some things that can influence the price:

  1. Type of application you want to build and the tech stack it involves
  2. Type of hotel booking portal you select, i.e. GDS, affiliate, or custom
  3. The number and complexity of features you wish to include
  4. Where do you get your travel website development services from (Getting an app developed in India will be cheaper than developing it in the United States)
  5. Who do you hire as your travel web developer (experience comes at a cost)

At Anglara, we’d happily run you over an estimate once we understand your needs. We also understand that small businesses and startups have budget restraints, but that’s no excuse to choose a travel website development company that isn’t experienced and qualified to give you quality work. For this reason, you can trust us to provide you with the most affordable solution and suggest the right alternatives.


How can Anglara help? 

Choosing a travel website developer will be an essential factor in the cost and success of your project. If you’re a newcomer in the industry, you want to go with a partner who specialises in this domain and has solid expertise to guide you through the challenges of entering this market. 

Join hands with Anglara, a leading custom web and app development team with an extensive experience of over 5+ years. Our experts have specifically catered to clients in tourism and hospitality industry in the past three years to generate over $3 million in revenue. We do so by providing them with comprehensive digital services and focusing on delivering custom travel and tourism-related app, be it B2B, B2C, or combined solutions. 

We will be more than happy to combine our knowledge and experience with cutting-edge digital technology to help you build your hotel booking business from the ground up. We also understand that it can be challenging to decide how to go about this process, which is why we offer a free 30 min consultation call with one of our experts to guide you. Simply fill-up the form, and we’ll give you a callback!