Mastering the PMS/CRS Integration to Maximize Distribution
In today’s ultra-competitive hotel market, hoteliers know that fully-functioning distribution channels are key. Yet many of them are still having trouble getting the most out of their channels. The root of the problem can often be traced to their PMS/CRS integration.
In a recent webinar, we shared both technical and operational information on how to minimize your PMS/CRS frustration while maximizing your distribution.
Understanding the Distribution Landscape
As Todd said, you need to choose what you put into your system very carefully. But to understand what that means, and to better control exactly where and what products are being sold at your hotel, you first need to understand the PMS/CRS connection as one that feeds all the channels of our distribution. We can break these down into direct booking, call centers, GDS, and OTAs, while we look at what a CRS should, ideally, do for each channel.
The direct booking engine, your priority, should be customizable within your CRS to differentiate you in your marketplace. For your call centers, you should be able to channel-specific offers to them via your CRS. With OTAs, you should be able to organize them by rate codes via the mapping that lives in your CRS. The GDS is integral, so you should have great offerings pushing through your CRS to your GDS platforms. With OTAs, looked at as both booking and shopping channels, your CRS should have a good channel manager integration that can reach out to smaller OTAs specific to your market.
Building a Visual Guideline
Interfaces. To de-mystify your system further, you need to look at what your PMS and CRS interfaces are saying to each other. Some interfaces are very robust, and some are not, but in any system, reservations are always number one. So, when you are evaluating a new system, or simply trying to better master your current system, you need to figure out what are non-negotiable categories for your interface, and what you can live without. For instance, if you are a group-heavy hotel, you would want to make sure that you have full group functionalities.
Mapping. Your mapping tables can live in both your PMS and CRS, so you need to ensure they align. Work with your account manager to understand what should and can be mapped. Failed updates, lost reservations, and bad reports can result from mismapping between the two systems. Todd pointed out that this is where regular auditing comes in, on a weekly basis not just bi-annually, to make sure your interfaces are mapping properly to minimize errors, and to make sure you’re receiving all your reservations.