It is an online application which allows to chose from a wide range of travel products (hotels, air tickets, conference halls etc.) and book them on the Internet.
An OBE displays rates and allocations in real time and shows the customer an immediate confirmation of the product / service booked. The engine shows its maximum potential if used together with a CRS / PMS or a GDS. It serves as an interface.
Online booking engines can combine multiple services (like hotels, flights, rental cars etc.) and may be integrated from a 3rd party vendor (like Expedia, Bookings.com etc.) into the website. They can also be a standalone application (booking possibility on a hoteliers’ website), in which case, it is mostly directly connected to the hotels system (CRS / PMS).
The main advantage of a booking engine is that it provides an easy access to payment processes and purchase systems. The guest can finalise a booking easily, without any help or need of a travel agent or a hotel.