The Ultimate Guide to Central Reservations Systems

17th Jul 2023

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HotelTechReport NB: This is an whitepaper  written By : HotelTechReport 

The Ultimate Guide to Central Reservations Systems

A central reservation system (CRS) is a platform used by hotels to centrally manage and distribute room inventory, rates, and reservations. The CRS typically receives inventory from the PMS, then distributes rates and availability in real-time to direct and third party channels, including the hotel’s own website booking engine and call center (direct channels), as well as channel managers, OTAs, GDS, and metasearch (third-party channels). Reservations from these channels are sent back to the CRS and subsequently synced into the PMS for room allocation. Hotel revenue managers and marketing/ecommerce managers use the CRS to create various promotions and offers through rate plans for different channels and to adjust pricing quickly to be updated across all channels. Reservation agents also work in the CRS to manage reservations.

The concept of central reservation system is simple. A chain of hotel which has a CRO system has reservation office in different cities although they may have no-unit operating in that city. All the units of the chain are inter-linked with CRO/CRS of the chain. The units allocate a particular percentage of the total number of rooms to CRO/CRS. It becomes the responsibility of CRO/CRS to book these rooms for the hotel. For providing this service, the units give a particular percentage of commission to CRO/CRS. Over a period of time a close watch on the performance of CRO/CRS is kept.

If the CRO is not able to book the allocated number of rooms then the unit can withdraw rooms from CRO and also if the CRO is able to book more rooms than allocated to them, more rooms can be given to CRO for booking. If any such changes in the allocated number of rooms are made, both the parties must very clearly understand this so as to avoid any double booking. CRO can also be an independent organization unattached to any chain or hotel company. This type of CRO offers a greater range of hotels over a wide area.

This gives each member a wider market of prospective customers. The biggest example of one such CRO is Omaha (Western International). How big and wide is the scope depends upon the number of hotels participating in it. The CRO is usually located in flagship hotel of the chain. CRS is very useful for those units of the chain is which normally are not doing well on their own.

Why Your Hotel Needs a Central Reservation System (CRS) 

A central reservation system, also known as CRS, is a software solution that hotels—both big and small—rely on to manage all their reservation-related processes across various distribution channels.

As such, a CRS is nowadays an indispensable tool in every hotelier’s arsenal.


Simply put, it consolidates all the important reservation data in one place and makes the task of reservation management effortless for you and your staff.

a graphic depicting information that a central reservation system consolidates

Source: WebBookingPro

Without up-to-date, accurate reservation data readily available, the odds of seamlessly running your hotel operations become very slim.

After all, the success of your establishment largely hinges on your ability to properly manage your reservations, no matter what distribution channel they come from.

Imagine a scenario where your staff has to manage your room inventory and update pricing across various distribution channels, as well as input each new reservation—manually.

Firstly, manually handling those tasks—on top of everything else they do around the hotel—would likely rob them of several hours each day.

Secondly, manual processes are error-prone by nature and, as such, carry financial risks.

All it takes is for your staff to incorrectly enter one digit while updating room prices for your hotel to miss out on revenue.