A central reservation system is one of the most valuable tools you can use as a hotel manager. The right solution can help you centralise all your booking details in one place so that you have access to everything you need to know, in real-time and at the click of a button. This includes customer booking details, distribution data, rates, and inventory levels. And access to this data is vital for optimising your operational processes so that your hotel runs as smoothly as possible at every stage of the guest journey.
In this post, we will discuss what a central reservation is exactly, and what functions it can perform. We will also share a few examples so that you know what features you should be looking for when you invest in a CRS platform.
What is a central reservation system?
A central reservation system (CRS) is a platform or cloud-based application for centralising every stage of your booking process. Essentially, it serves as a unique interface where you can view all of your hotel reservations in real-time, regardless of which distribution channel guests have used to make a booking. This includes your hotel’s website, online travel agents, and third-party booking engines such as Expedia and Trivago. That way, you always know exactly what your occupancy levels are for any given date, and how many rooms still need to be sold.
Aside from keeping track of your occupancy levels, a central reservation system also helps you monitor the rates and availability being promoted on all your distribution channels. That way, you can synchronise any updates to your pricing strategies from one centralised platform, saving you valuable time and helping you ensure that your rooms are being sold at the right price through all your distribution channels. It also makes it much easier to monitor market trends and adjust your pricing strategies in line with real-time demand fluctuations.
Functions of a central reservation system
A central reservation system can help you:
- Keep track of all your bookings in real time.
- Synchronise your rates through a centralised platform to ensure rate parity, which is especially important if you market your hotel through numerous distribution channels.
- Streamline your booking process so you can re-focus on maximising your revenue per room.
- Optimise your distribution strategy and increase your brand exposure as it is much easier to expand into a range of platforms with very little effort.
- Easily adjust your rates and availability across all your distribution channels in line with demand and market trends
- Easily share promotions and offers through all your distribution platforms.
- Better manage room cancellations and refunds so that you can adjust your availability across all channels and re-sell cancelled rooms more efficiently, helping to boost your occupancy levels.
- And, thanks to all the above, the biggest benefit of a central reservation system is that it helps you improve your revenue management strategy and boost your overall revenue and profit.
Central reservation system examples
There are many software solutions currently on the market, which all offer a variety of features and functions. Some platforms offer basic features for managing reservations, whilst others offer a more comprehensive solution that you can integrate with your existing tech stack. In order to determine which central reservation system is best for your hotel, you need to consider a number of factors.
Firstly, you need to consider how easily a CRS can be integrated with your existing hotel management software tools so that you can boost your efficiency. For example, will the centralised reservation system easily integrate with your property management system? Will it help you create a user-friendly data ecosystem? Will all your data be centralised and easy to access? Can you use the CRS to update your rates and availability across all your distribution channels in real-time? Can you manage your inventory through it?
You also need to consider which distribution channels you can incorporate into your central reservation system interface. Can you manage all your distribution channels, including third-party booking websites, your hotel’s website, your call centres, and any online travel agents and booking engines used to promote your hotel rooms? And, ultimately, will all this help your operations run more smoothly so that you can increase your RevPAR?
These are all important questions so make sure you take the time to research all potential options before you choose the right central reservation system for the specific needs of your hotel.