A potent hotel reservation system must employ the latest advancements in technology, be robust and secure and allow clients to have all features under one roof. It need not necessarily be the fastest or the most secure, but it must be a combination of all the essential features, giving it the competitive edge. The past few years have seen a huge growth in online bookings with people using booking portals more than individual hotel websites. This only tells that the hotel industry is booming rapidly and the only way to stay abreast and competitive is to have an efficient hotel reservation system that ‘does it all’ at the right price with least manual interference!
Trends in hotel reservation system –
Mobile technology –
With the growth in mobile technology and internet, the use of hotel booking apps has increased significantly in the past couple of years. Mobile has become an indispensable part of people’s lives and they have become more reliant on their smartphones than their computers. “Not having a mobile optimized site is like not having a website in 2002” – Hach. This is not to say that the importance of websites has paled in comparison. It has seen an equal growth adding to the overall growth of the online booking platforms. Web bookings, including those made via mobile apps and responsive websites, represented 27.7% of the reservations in the second quarter of 2015, which is up from 26.3% in 2014. Sam Trotter, Director of Development and Portfolio e-Commerce manager for Boutique Hospitality Management, said dealing in mobile has become a regular part of doing business at his company. Everything they do now has to be mobile friendly”. (Source).
Central Reservation System (CRS) –
Central reservation system is a tool used to reach Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Internet Distribution Services (IDS) to allow hoteliers to manage their online marketing and sales and upload their rates and availability for all sales channels. This makes online distribution more efficient by distributing hotel information to sales channels including traditional travel agencies and newer online agencies. A CRS has a two-way interface which allows its database to exchange information and communicate with Property Management Systems (PMS) at each hotel on file. This, in turn, allows the CRS to control all reservations coming from different sources in a single control system, distribute rooms favourably to different online channels and analyse the contribution each sales channel provides to revenue, allowing it to identify the most efficient ones. This helps businesses stay ahead of the competition and run as economically efficient as possible.
Global Distribution Systems (GDS) –
Recent global data released by TravelClick projected 2015 to be a record year for bookings through Global Distribution Systems. It projected 62 million bookings in 2015, which is up from 61 million in 2014 and 42 million in 2009. The total revenue across all booking channels was $12 billion with the highest portion coming from direct bookings (about 36%), followed by web bookings (about 22%), CRS bookings (about 12%) and OTA bookings (about 10%) taking the smallest pie. GDS bookings managed to hold their share and stay steady at 19.1%. Although people predicted the demise of travel agencies, it never really happened, in fact the bookings from OTAs remained steady and represented some of the most profitable guests for the hotel with the guests spending more on suites and concierge floor.
New technology –
New software development technologies have also emerged and software systems have become faster, more secure, more capable and able to handle multiple requests at the same time. Hotel reservation systems are made to simplify daily tasks carried out within a hotel and each company’s software is built to handle certain functions better than the others. Gone are those days where software systems had only one or two USPs or top features, now-a-days most systems pack all the features necessary for a travel business to excel.
Software Advice, an Austin based company has reviewed 385 hotel reservation system shoppers and has reviewed and recommended enterprise software for 160,000 businesses of all kinds. According to their research, the reasons for companies to replace their software systems are –
Source – Tnooz
Another study revealed the features that most hotel reservation system shoppers demanded. They are –
Real-time reservation capabilities and online sales channel management was noted as the top priority of shoppers followed by online booking capability. Some shoppers also demanded efficient guest management, housekeeping communications, accounting/reporting and distribution/marketing. The least demanded features were mobile options and restaurant registration. This data also reveals yet another fact that b2b wholesalers/travel companies are not embracing mobile technology as much as they should.
Hotel reservation system has evolved over the years to manage large B2B wholesalers offering hotel bookings, car rentals, dynamic packages, group bookings, miscellaneous services, visa, and much more services under one roof. If you have any comments on this article or if you wish to add anything, please post in the comments section below.