“Giving great service requires the right people and the right tools”-Ron Kaufman.
It’s quite imperative that technology is the heart of the hotel industry. Like every sector, there is a growing need to embrace technology to find smarter ways of doing things.
To remain on the customer’s mind, hoteliers jump through the hoop to meet the customer’s ever-changing requirements. From providing a seamless booking process to giving the best possible room rates, hoteliers leave no stone unturned to attract customers.
That’s what has led to the emergence of a Central Reservation System (CRS) in the hotel industry.
But what is a CRS?
Also known as the database management system, CRS is a computer-based system that maintains the room’s availability, reservation, and rate. It also ensures proper payment processing and maintains a database of client’s information. This centralized hotel management system transmits data from the PMS (Property Management System) in real-time to direct or third-party channels like GDS (Global Distribution System), metasearch platforms, OTA (Online Travel Agency), etc. Reservation from all the channels is transferred from the CRS to the PMS for tracking the hotel’s data. Without having access to the inventories of all the distribution channels and without staying connected, you may end up re-selling a room that has already been booked through OTA platforms.
According to research, two-thirds of hotel reservation takes place through the OTA and one-third through the hotel. The same study reveals that 50% of customers who find a hotel via an OTA visit the hotel’s website. This multiplies the chances of direct-booking, thereby making CRS a must-have for every hotel irrespective of their size.
Why is a CRS a Must Need for a Hotel?
Based on the hotel market mix, you might be getting bookings from a distribution channel outside of your website. Having control of all the distribution and booking channels ensures easy management and increases footfalls.
Reason#1: Increases direct booking
The Holy Grail for hotels is not the occupancy rate; instead, it’s the percentage of direct bookings. With OTAs receiving a commission ranging from 10-30% per booking, direct booking creates the difference between a profitable and not so profitable hotel business. Today, hoteliers prefer commission-free booking.
Though travelers prefer a seamless travel experience over anything else, they value money. With most customers under the impression that OTAs provide cheaper room rates, urging travelers to make a direct booking is an uphill battle.
What you require is CRS software offering OTA rate comparison pop-up to the website visitors.
Such a pop-up will show the visitors the rate of famous OTAs on your hotel’s website while they’re making a reservation. This ensures your guests are getting the best possible rate for their upcoming trip.
An increase in direct booking enhances the net operating income as you spend less on commissions. This improves revenue, and you successfully build a profitable hotel.
Reason#2: Improves profitability
Using the CRS, hotels can easily update their room availability and pricing to all the distribution channels through a single system. Managers have to input rates in the CRS, and it automatically gets updated in various booking channels. It allows hoteliers like you to reach a broader spectrum of audiences while being cost-effective.
For hotels considering expansion, CRS helps expand the reach to different booking platforms (including OTAs, metasearch platforms, travel agents, etc.) even in worldwide markets. The Central Reservation System is an economical solution for reaching a global audience.
Apart from reaching a global market, the system improves the hotel’s performance and visibility. You can implement multiple channel strategies and keep a hawk-eye using the CRS.
All-in-all, it’s your one-stop solution for improving profitability without compromising on customer experience and satisfaction.
Reason#3: Reduces booking mistakes
As a CRS ensures connectivity between different distribution channels, it reduces the scope of booking mistakes. It creates an effective booking platform wherein no two guests can book the same room simultaneously, thereby making the reservation process efficient and creating a seamless experience.
From booking tables, rooms to cars and other things, CRS empowers you to book months ahead of time without the fear of mixing up reservations.
To err is human, but booking the same room for two different guests hampers the brand image and results in customer dissatisfaction. A CRS system seamlessly distributes all inventories on the OTAs and channel managers, leaving no scope for errors.
Reason #4: Allows personalization
As a hotelier, you need to break the box thinking and give your customers unparalleled customization and personalization to increase the footfall.
Using the CRS system, you can store the customer’s birthday, anniversary, favorite cuisine, room types, and more to create a personalized experience. With more than 70% of guests report a positive experience with personalization – ignoring it could be the difference between success and failure.
Interestingly, 58% of people aged above 55 don’t mind when hotels use their personal information for offering exclusive deals, offers, and even loyalty points. The digital customers want their experience to be specific to the situation.
Imagine how a loyal customer who comes to your hotel would feel on receiving a complimentary birthday cake or a spa service?
They would be elated. By using the power of personalization, you’ve probably built a customer for life.
A CRS also helps decode the customer’s buying pattern, which plays a vital role in building long-term relationships. The hospitality sector thrives on service and customer experience, and you must have a system for a better understanding of your customer.
Reasons #5 Keeps track of your bookings
By integrating CRS for your day-to-day operations, you ensure that all the hotel personnel are on the same page. The designated hotel staff can see travel details and other customer bookings across all the computers through the system. It eliminates confusion and booking problems. You’re better prepared for your busy season and can let your staff relax during the off-peak season.
You can even track the hotel’s marketing situation with CRS. Analyze the effectiveness of the marketing strategy and adjust it if necessary, using the central reservation system.
Reasons #6 Reduces operational costs
A hotel CRS takes away the front-office staff’s burden as booking a room, reserving a table, etc., is automatically done by the software. Your reception and front-office staff can focus on other essential things, such as attending to customers.
It’s empowering hotels to better define staff roles, saving numerous working hours daily.
Choosing a CRS for your hotel
When selecting a central reservation system for your hotel, consider the following features:
Dynamic pricing capability: When selling multiple room or suite types, a CRS offering a dynamic pricing tool comes in handy. It gives you the flexibility to execute complex revenue strategies.
Excellent booking engine: A booking engine without conversion rate optimization is as good as waste; it encourages direct bookings. The booking engine should showcase incremental pricing, dynamic room rates, and save customer data, among others. Today, hotels prefer cloud-based CRS – giving them access to information from anywhere on Earth. With 62% of hotels migrating their CRS to the cloud, a cloud-based system is the need of the hour and will go a long way in building a reputable hotel chain.
User-friendly interface: An intuitive and user-friendly interface is imperative for increasing the hotel personnel’s efficiency using the system. No point spending hours is trying to understand the working of the reservation system.
Customer support: The reservation system provider should offer support 24×7.
Account management: A good CRS provides detailed reporting and analysis of the pricing and revenue strategies. It should advise on these strategies to improve the profitability of your hotel.
Change with changing technology: The CRS should support the latest technology and should have room for evolving when the technology changes.
Do you see the desired revenue even after having a functional booking engine, a featured channel manager, and a customer-centric hotel kiosk?
If not, these are an indication that it’s high time you invest in the Central Reservation System (CRS) for your hotel.
Your hotel’s CRS holds the key to increase guest retention and profitability by skyrocketing direct bookings. Having a CRS is crucial in the digital age as the system reduces confusion and unhappy guests while allowing you to mint money.
From taking rooms out of inventory to running promotions, a centralized system makes everything a breeze. Therefore, don’t be among hoteliers who save money by avoiding a worthwhile investment in such a reservation system. Sooner or later, this investment will yield results as it’s a helping hand to keep the occupancy rate and direct bookings high and ensure everything runs smoothly.
Integrate a CRS today to reap results in the future.