By: Pelle Sundin
As a small or independent hotelier, you might not be utilizing a CRS. With only a few rooms, I understand your argument. Maybe you’re only cooperating with a few OTAs (or none), have your seasonal rates set, and mainly get your bookings through email. You might have steady business in the high season and an expectably slower pace in the low season.
Do you want increased bookings and revenue?
Wouldn’t you want to fill in the gaps and get solid business throughout the year with higher revenue as a result?
A central reservation system can do many things for your small or independent hotel — an increased booking rate is one of them.
What is a Central Reservation System?
A Central Reservation System, or CRS for short, is a centralized system used to handle the inventory and rates of your hotel. It’s in the CRS where guest reservations are processed and stored, both direct bookings from front desk, your booking engine, and OTAs.
The CRS is the central reservation hub that’s always connected to your distribution channels, displaying and updating availability in real-time.
By using the right CRS, your return on investment, and possibilities to scale your business are endless.
1. Open your hotel to millions of guests
With a central reservation system and channel manager, you can open your hotel to potentially millions of guests.
Most solid central reservation systems come with a channel manager included. A channel manager distributes all your OTAs (Hotels.com, Booking) from a single point, meaning you don’t have to manually update rates for each OTA or every time a room is available or gets booked.
Why you should cooperate with OTAs
In today's fast-paced digital climate for hoteliers, OTAs are a must for the brand establishment and revenue optimization.
Most leisure travelers today use an OTA to book their hotel. Roughly 2/3rds of all online bookings get booked through an OTA, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. By 2022, online hotel bookings estimate to exceed $174 million worldwide.
And believe it or not, OTAs can help you drive traffic to your website. Did you know that 52% of travelers visit the hotel's website after seeing a room listed on an OTA?
By making OTAs your friend, you future-proof your hotel by increasing exposure, bookings, and excellent reviews, all while having full control of your inventory.
2. Get full control of your inventory and bookings
Your inventory and reservations are as vital to your hotel as food is for a restaurant. By having a robust central reservation system taking care of your hotel’s inventory, you don’t have to think twice about overbooking and other booking mistakes.
No more booking problems
Having many distribution channels without a central reservation system can put you at risk of overbooking and unhappy guests. When you have several distribution channels, including walk-ins, front-desk, OTAs, and direct bookings from your website, you need one core reservation system to update your inventory in real-time.
A CRS can prevent overbookings by refusing guests to book the same room twice. All bookings are updated in real-time across all distribution channels, including all OTAs.
3. Increase your hotel revenue
Another effect of implementing a central reservation system is increased booking rates and revenue.
Having all of your availability, rates and inventory in one system that is connected to every channel your hotel sells on will help make sure that they are accurately reflected on all of these channels.
And with a channel manager together with your CRS, it’s easy to do.
For example, let's say that the first two weeks of December are unusually slow in your hotel. Because you have the booking records of past years in your CRS, you see it’s reoccurring.
Why are those weeks slower? It might be because it’s in-between holidays, or simply that many travelers have a tight budget, saving up for Christmas gifts.
In this case, the traveler’s reason for not choosing you is down to their budget.
Could you lower the rates for these two weeks or charm your potential guests with a special deal? If this makes your hotel 80% booked instead of your average 30%, you'd still make more revenue with the lower rate.
How a CRS increases your revenue
So, where does a central reservation system come into this?
Features such as secret deals, blended rates, recovering abandoned carts and checking competitors’ rates all work to increase the revenue of your hotel.
Only you and your CRS set the limits.