How Online Hotel Distribution Works

Few aspects of the hotel industry are as overwhelming as understanding GDS, OTA, PMS, and online distribution. With a few quick tips, hoteliers can work to take over the market—and maybe even the world. Here is a closer look at distribution.

HOTEL. The most important distribution channel hoteliers have is walk-up and drive-by business from the local market. Then, distribution starts at the hotel with the PMS (property management system). All hoteliers need to sell is rooms, rates, and dates, so if a good product exists, along with quality rates and reviews, and the property is prominent in the local market, hoteliers should plan on seeing at least 50 percent via direct local.

PMS. A hotel’s PMS should have the ability to connect to a CRS (central reservation system). Newer web-based PMS platforms such as RoomKey or AutoClerk are low cost and offer remote access, CRS connectivity, and continual system upgrades.

CRS. A CRS is an online hub that holds data about rooms, rates, dates, and hotel location descriptions (including local corporations, tourist attractions, airports, freeways, government, and educational facilities). The CRS then feeds data back and forth between the PMS and the major distribution channels called GDS, OTA, and metasearch. If a hotel is affiliated with a brand, a chain will have a CRS. If the hotel is independent, a couple of good top CRS platforms are Sceptre Hospitality’s Windsurfer CRS and Sabre’s SynXis CRS.

GDS. GDS stands for Global Distribution Systems. Most CRS platforms connect to all GDS, which are Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre, Apollo, and Worldspan.

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