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What is a CRS (central reservation system)?

The meaning or definition of a CRS or Central Reservation System is a type of reservation software that is used to update and maintain information of a hotel pertaining to inventory and rates so that hotels are able to manage guest reservations and the process around such reservations in real time.

These reservations are managed across a multitude of distribution channels such as the 3rd party booking websites, direct internet booking engines, the global distribution system (GDS), wholesalers and more. A CRS centralises the data from the property management systems (PMS), distribution channels, call centres and phone reservation systems used across one or many properties.

A CRS will transfer the reservation data from the PMS/s to the distribution channels in real-time so that hotels are able to reach guests across as many channels as needed as part of their distribution strategy. The platform allows for administration of room allocations for single to multi-property groups and chains which is particularly useful for managers who want a single source to manage multi-channel and multi-property strategies. Revenue managers can respond to market demand and adjust pricing quickly, and front office managers can create reservations and allocate rooms from one source of truth while guests are able to access multi-property offers from a single source of truth.

Importantly, a CRS is critical to a diversified distribution strategy, to increase REVPAR and ensure operational efficiencies across independent and chain hotels.