Central Reservation Systems vs. Global Distribution Systems: Streamlining Hotel Bookings for a Connected World

Aug 04, 2023

In the interconnected world of hospitality, efficient and effective management of hotel bookings is paramount. Central Reservation Systems (CRS) and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) have emerged as essential tools for hotels to streamline the reservation process, connect with distribution channels, and maximize occupancy rates. In this article, we will explore the functionalities, benefits, and differences between central reservation systems and global distribution systems. 

Central Reservation Systems (CRS):  

A Central Reservation System is a software platform that allows hotels to manage and streamline their bookings in a centralized manner. It serves as the heart of a hotel's reservation operations, providing a single point of control for managing availability, rates, and inventory across multiple distribution channels. 

Key Features of Central Reservation Systems: 

  1. Inventory Management: A CRS enables hotels to manage and control their room inventory, including room types, rates, availability, and restrictions. This centralized approach ensures consistency and accuracy across all distribution channels. 
  1. Real-Time Updates: CRS provides real-time updates on room availability, rates, and reservations. This ensures that potential guests receive accurate information and minimizes the risk of overbooking or double bookings. 
  1. Rate Management: With a CRS, hotels can set and manage different rate plans, promotions, and discounts. This flexibility allows hotels to adjust pricing strategies based on demand, seasons, and specific market segments. 
  1. Channel Management: CRS integrates with various online distribution channels, including the hotel's website, online travel agencies (OTAs), global distribution systems (GDS), and metasearch engines. This integration ensures consistent and up-to-date information across all platforms. 

Hospitality & Leisure Ecosystem

From an individual location to an enterprise chain, get the most modern, comprehensive property management solutions for managing your hospitality business.

Global Distribution Systems (GDS):  

Global Distribution Systems are platforms that connect hotels, travel agencies, and other travel providers to a vast network of global travel agents. GDS acts as a central hub for travel agents to access and book hotel rooms, flights, car rentals, and other travel services. 

Key Features of Global Distribution Systems: 

  1. Wide Market Reach: GDS provides hotels with access to a vast network of travel agents worldwide. This significantly expands the hotel's market reach and exposure to potential guests, including corporate travelers and travel agencies specializing in specific regions or industries. 
  1. Content Distribution: GDS allows hotels to distribute detailed information about their property, including room types, rates, amenities, and images. This content distribution ensures that travel agents have comprehensive and accurate information to assist their clients in making informed booking decisions. 
  1. Rate Parity: GDS typically enforces rate parity, ensuring that the hotel's rates are consistent across all distribution channels. This eliminates rate discrepancies and maintains a fair and competitive environment for travel agents and guests. 
  1. Streamlined Booking Process: GDS simplifies the booking process for travel agents by providing a centralized platform to search, compare, and book hotel rooms and other travel services. This convenience enhances the efficiency of travel agents and increases the likelihood of bookings for participating hotels. 

Differences and Integration:  

While both CRS and GDS focus on managing hotel reservations, there are key differences between the two systems. CRS primarily focuses on centralizing inventory management, rate management, and distribution across the hotel's own channels. On the other hand, GDS connects hotels to a global network of travel agents, facilitating bookings through the travel agency channel. 

Food & Beverage Ecosystem

Optimizing food & beverage operations and profitability demands a flexible, enterprise class point-of-sale system. Is yours up to the task?

In practice, many hotels integrate CRS with GDS to leverage the benefits of both systems. This integration allows hotels to manage inventory and rates centrally while simultaneously distributing their offerings to a vast network of travel agents via GDS. 

Central Reservation Systems and Global Distribution Systems have revolutionized the way hotels manage their reservations, connect with distribution channels, and maximize occupancy rates. CRS streamlines inventory and rate management, ensuring consistency across all channels. GDS connects hotels to a global network of travel agents, expanding their market reach and simplifying the booking process for travel agents. The integration of these systems empowers hotels to efficiently manage their reservations and connect with a wider audience, ultimately driving revenue and guest satisfaction in the competitive hospitality industry.  

To find out more about how Agilysys helps properties maximize Return On Experience at every guest and staff touchpoint, book a personalized demo with one of our Hospitality Experience Experts. 

November 02, 2023

2024 Hospitality Industry Conferences You Shouldn't Miss

The year 2024 promises a vibrant tapestry of innovation, knowledge sharing, and networking opportun .....