Reservation drives hospitality marketing

Why Reservation is Critical for Hospitality Marketing

In Customer Life Cycle, Marketing by Freddie FramptonLeave a Comment

Hospitality Marketing Customer Life Cycle: Reservation

Your reservation system is a critical element of hospitality marketing. If you do not have a solid system in place, transactions cannot be completed and customers’ digital footprint will vanish. Typically, hotels, clubs and restaurants view their Computer Reservation System (CRS) as a stand-alone module, serving only to confirm and deliver bookings, supporting staff at the reservations desk. CRS today can do much more than that, playing an important role in an integrated system. It is the first hospitality marketing Goal, typically the first line of conversion. From here you can assess which hospitality marketing campaigns have been the most effective and quantify your marketing return on investment.

Analysing Your Reservation System

It’s important to analyze your existing reservation system, and determine the best solution that will meet your needs. There are numerous options on the market for CRS systems, but not all of them will provide the integration, connectivity, and data capture that will best support your hospitality marketing objectives.

The Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS)

The CRS today, like earlier versions, will display availability, confirm reservations, and return a confirmation number to the user. CRS systems have now moved beyond that. Typically they convey real time data via connectivity to the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system. The CRS can provide detailed product data. It also provides reservations through multiple front ends, including a range of internet and online services.

Database Management

In addition to its active role as a service provider to various front end portals, a CRS also plays another vital role. The CRS stores data, and effectively functions as a data warehouse, supporting the ability to gather and analyze data. This provides a solid foundation of information and analytical capabilities for management decision making. Data from the CRS can improve hospitality marketing with data base segmentation, decision support, and revenue management.

An Integrated Environment

Moving forward into 2014, the CRS has assumed a very different role hospitality marketing. It has sophisticated interfaces integrated to an array of different online sales channels. It integrates with other business systems, and it collects data which supports enterprise analysis, reporting, and decision making. Rather than the stand-alone module of the past, the CRS is now a mission critical component which is part of an integrated computing environment. When making decisions on purchasing a new CRS or updating an existing system, a broader vision is required when setting priorities.

Why CRS is Cost Effective?

CRS is critical for supporting reservations agents and the processing of bookings. The importance of that central function is still paramount. However, bookings can also now be done via a variety of front end systems, with the CRS providing the booking engine and data repository. This has the advantage of being more cost effective than using human voice agents and eliminates human errors on the agent side.

Revenue Management

The CRS today also plays a vital role in revenue management. This system is a primary source of data, and the data warehouse functions allow complex retrieval and analysis to be performed. This data can generate recommendations, and provide support for revenue management decisions.

Management Reporting

In the search for competitive advantage amidst rising occupancies and technology trends, data retrieval and analysis tools have become more flexible, powerful, and user friendly. These tools make it possible for users to get timely and comprehensive data on business activities, much of which is captured in the CRS database. Users can now easily generate sophisticated management reports that used to cost thousands of dollars to develop. Hospitality marketing executives can access up-to-date charts and graphs instantly, showing the information they need for effective decision making.

Customer Patterns

This data presentation and decision support can let upper management spot patterns and trends more easily, allowing them to address issues and take advantage of opportunities more quickly than ever before. This data warehouse becomes a key resource for data base marketing. Information can be mined about geographic and market segments, demographic profiles, past activity trends, and repeat customer data. Modern tools make it relatively easy to mine CRS data in a cost effective and timely way, making the role of CRS more essential.

Historical Records

Finally, the CRS can also function as a master database for guest activity, history, and preferences. It stores records of all guest history in a central place, with easy access. With all of the demands on a modern CRS, this system is critical for competitive hospitality marketing and can provide vital assistance to operators. The demands on the CRS and its interfaces and communication network can be high, it must be able to provide the speed and reliability of a critical enterprise system.

It’s all about Integration

The CRS of today functions at the heart of an integrated set of systems. Providing service functions as well as data storage, distribution, and analysis. It must be fast, reliable, and have high availability. It must also support new interfaces and front ends as they are developed.

Choosing the right CRS?

The challenges for those operating a CRS today is to create a technical foundation which can support all of these functions, and be expandable for emerging trends and needs. Downtime and unavailability must be avoided at all costs. The hardware and software platform must be scalable, so that it can grow with business needs, and allow expansion to cover future hospitality marketing opportunities.

The Computer Reservation System should provide all of the following:
• Process reservations for your business 24/7
• Provide online reservations for customers and through third party systems
• Make maximum use of your restaurant capacity
• Offer customers alternative time selections if their first choice is booked
• Suggest sister properties when fully booked
• Provide personalized messages for VIP reservations and private events
• Provide for opt in / opt out marketing messages
• Associate special promotions with different days and times
• Integrate seamlessly with social media, including Facebook
• Save regular database backups
• Manage reservations made online and offline
• Help to reduce expenses and save time with automated reservations
• Eliminate errors that occur in human reservations
• Allow table split / join capacity management
• Manage table allocation for walk ins
• Allow to increase or decrease group size after seating
• Allow table priorities and assignments
• Provide wait lists
• Provide for VIP, frequent, or high spender guests
• Notify about reservations online
• Integrate with SMS and email for booking confirmations and cancellations
• Cover sections and wait staff assignments

Visit the following link to read more about the Hospitality Marketing Customer life Cycle. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the impact of CRS on hospitality marketing in the comments section at the bottom of this post..

About the Author

Freddie Frampton

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A progressive and operational, British National, strategist and trusted consultant with a rich mix of Business Development & Marketing experience spanning over 20 years of international work experience (Middle East and Europe) as a leading business professional in the hospitality industry.

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