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Bye-bye Booking Engines (IBE): Why a Sales Engine (ISE) is the Future of Direct Sales in Hotels

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

If you want to avoid losing your share of direct sales and even increase it in the long term, it's worth taking a closer look at the comparison between an IBE and an ISE.

An ISE fulfills all the expectations that one has of an IBE, but it requires new technologies and data structures in the background that bring many other new solutions, including automated room assignments and optimization, as well as feature-based revenue management.

Above all, incredibly interesting and new data views on user behavior and preferences are generated. Based on these data evaluations, new sales and marketing activities can be planned, and decisions can be made regarding value-adding product improvements.

In comparison

Sales Engine

Booking Engine

  • Latest technology and use of AI models to offer personalized recommendations based on user profiles

  • Established technology with fixed, rule-based functions

  • Poly-dynamically* adapted products and categories to create flagship stores on own sales channels

  • Standardized presentation of room categories, identical to all other distribution channels, does not allow differentiation

  • Proactive sales techniques like scarcity and labeling to boost sales

  • Reactive sales - no sales techniques other than the "best price" argument

  • Dynamic image display based on travel dates

  • Fixed image display regardless of travel period

  • Room configurator for hyper-personalized real-time product sales

  • Guests have the option to express limited, non-binding requests - but without guarantee

  • Sales plan with flexible daily payment, cancellation, and restriction management for total sales strategy flexibility

  • Static presentation of room categories and rigid rate plans with fixed associated payment, cancellation, and restriction management

  • Additional services can be booked individually, dynamically, in various variations and packages

  • Extra services can be booked individually or partially as a package

  • Automated product availability management prevents overbooking of categories

  • Overbooking of room categories cannot be prevented

  • Automatic room assignment for each booking, as well as reassignment for maximum revenue generation


  • Automated feature pricing based on occupancy


  • Room product transparency leads to natural upselling


  • Telephone/operator module enables untrained employees to handle reservation requests and create offers.


Most people are probably familiar with the saying from Henry Ford: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

Many currently available IBE technologies (that have been offered since the beginning of online bookings in the 1990s) are mature and have reached the end of their life cycle because their logic and structures have not changed since then.

With an ISE, about 30% of guests book higher-quality room products, and on average, 20% higher average rates are achieved. For example, the value of additional upselling at a 3-star hotel is in the four-figure range per month. Even if you do not have more users on your site initially, the conversion rates (from looker to booker) will double. If you invest only half of the additional profit earned in direct activities, this is a budget that generates itself and creates new opportunities and ways to promote direct sales activities.

What happens when you suddenly have an infinite number of opportunities to position yourself distinctly from others and provide guests with real added value and reasons to book directly?

Maybe it's worth trying out, because making changes without changing the status quo will not lead to new results!

* Polydynamic refers to the ability to sell each room multiple times (i.e. "poly") and to adapt the sale based on the corresponding guest profile. This creates multiple ways to dynamically sell the same room.

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