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Computer Reservation Systems in Hotel Service and Hospitality Industry

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History of development of the Computer Reservation Systems

Hotel service is exposed to a full computerization today. The computerization gradually changes all the processes of work of the hotel service, and by means of computers more and more important problems are gradually solved, it serves for work simplification.  But computerization process is an expensive one and demands additional investments.  So the computerization of the HS in general depends on an economic situation in the country, a condition of the hotel service, understanding of a problem from administration of the hotel, a financial position of it, and existence of qualified personnel.

Process of a computerization of hospitality industry began later, than in other areas. Many branches were computerized even in the 1960th years, the hotel service on a large scale didn't use possibility of automation up to the beginning of the 1970th years. The appearance of the Computer Reservation Systems (CRSs) in the 1970s, Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) in the late 1980s and the internet in the late 1990s have changed radically operational and strategic methods of hospitality industry (Buhalis & Law, 2008).

The Internet became one of the most important openings. The Internet unites a huge number of webs. The World Wide Web (the Web, or www) is only one of many other parts of the Internet. Besides text information which occupies the most part of the Internet, the World wide Web offers various opportunities of sound reproduction, animation and information video. Also there is a number of software in the Internet. More than two-thirds of the hospitality and travel companies view the Internet site as a significant competitive weapon in their industry (Baloglu & Pekcan, 2006).

For the first time the concept "Computer Reservation Systems” (CRSs) appeared in the USA and Europe in the seventies. The first CRSs were created by separate airlines and intended only for service of own needs of tourist agents. In a while such approach led to that, on the one hand, in actively working travel agencies some CRSs terminals belonging to various airlines were installed, and, on the other hand, airlines had to spend more and more funds for technological development of CRSs. Later on in 1980s CRSs were transformed into GDSs, which starting from early 1990s emerged as a major driver of ICTs and it shown itself as the most important promoter of ICT globalization (Buhalis & Jun, 2011). Result of this integration was emergence of four so-called global systems of booking (Global Distribution System - GDS): Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan. They are the strongest GDSs in the marketplace. Together these systems have got more than 500 thousand terminals installed in the agencies all over the world.

GDSs were widely adopted as a version of electronic data exchange (Electronic Data Interchange, EDI) and a wire transfer of means (Electronic Funds Transfer, EFT). They are the prototypes of business systems in the information environment. For the decades which have passed since introduction of the GDS technologies, many airlines, travel companies and agencies on sale of transport tickets established electronic relations with partners and clients, significantly having increased thereby efficiency of the work. However these systems are very expensive.

Nowadays it became possible to use the Internet both for improvement of existing model of interaction, and for formation of business relations of a new type. The Internet has changed tourist behavior dramatically (Mills & Law, 2004). Nowadays, there is a great number of customers who make reservations directly from hotel websites (Jeong, Oh, & Gregoire, 2003).

Benefits of the Computer Reservation Systems

The correct and well-timed information processing about reservation has crucial importance for success as for the hotels’ network and for the independent hotel as well. ICT helps to meet the demands for timely and accurate information by customers and the ICT diffusion in the tourism and hospitality industries has recently increased at an unprecedented rate (Connolly & Lee, 2006). Each request demands the exact answer according to the type of the room, price, etc.– computer systems allow to carry out effectively all these tasks for the minimum time.

The programs which are a part of computer system are united in structural units - modules. The module is the group of programs which is carrying out operations, works of the hotel relating to a certain procedure (reservation, the settlement, calculation, etc.).

The Booking module ("Reservation") is created for performance of function of booking of hotel places and confirmation/refusal binding with a right time. The Booking module allows booking service to process quickly information according to inquiries of guests, to prepare rooms in time, and also to make forecasts and to fill in reports on profit. Internal systems of reservation (that is such systems which directly work in the hotel) are specially developed taking into account specific needs of the hotel service.  The module of reservation of a computer control system of the hotel allows managers to answer phone calls with demands for rooms quickly and accurately.  The module considerably reduces paper work, need of physical information processing and other office procedures. 

Registration of the reservation identifies the guest and his needs before his arrival to the hotel, and allows hotel to personify service and to optimize the schedule of work of the personnel.  Besides, the Module of reservation can make the reports necessary for managers.

The demand for reservation can be received personally, by phone, by mail or via the interface of external system of reservation. Regardless of an origin, the demand for reservation is reformulated by the manager of service of booking in request for reservation. This inquiry usually contains the following information:  arrival date;  type and number of required rooms; number of nights etc.

The manager enters these data into the computer according to accurately certain procedure of inquiry. The simultaneity of data processing allows to reach compatibility with real time. In many modules of reservation compatibility with real time is created to provide a prompt reply (within five seconds) and, thus, to give the chance to the manager to edit, change or improve inquiry while the client still gives the comments. As soon as the inquiry is coordinated with data o? ??t? rooms available to sale, PMS (property management system – the control system of the hotel) writes down and blocks this room, excepting it from the file of the rooms which are available to sale.

As soon as the demand for reservation is received and room is blocked, the system demands a filling of registration form of reservation from the manager of booking service. Registration forms of reservation are stored in the electronic files divided on an arrival time of guests (year, month, day), to the name of group, a name of the guest. Such organization of files and method of their correction is the most suitable for optimization of operation of the module of reservation as guests often come before the determined date, change date, cancel the order.

The module of reservation can also interact with other functions of reception service. The computer report on quantity of the vacant rooms shows daily quantity of vacant rooms of each type. The module of reservation can also make additional specialized reports, for example, the report on refusals, the report on blocked rooms, and the report on not appeared clients. Computer Reservation Systems considerably facilitate work of managers, but all of them need a certain completion and improvement.

Section 3: Comparison of Methodologies

Increase of efficiency of the Computer Reservation Systems

With the globalization of internet and ICT, development of E-business, it is necessary to provide functional research of CRS in order to increase client value, the hotel CRS has to improve income database, product database and client database (Lu & Zhu, 2009). Starkov (2005) proposed to analyze, and adopt websites designs of the hotels in order to acquire the maximization of client value by the wide on-line distribution of the client-oriented websites and by simplification of a procedure of reservation. One of the most convenient, permissible method is a method of samples and questionnaires, which was carried out by Lu & Zhu (2009), then interviews and surveys are also implemented. The interviews help to establish the CRS functional demands on the base of the first-hand materials.

Abu Bakar, AR & Hashim, F (2009) proposed interactive questionnaire, which consisted of four sections in order to get the information concerning respondents gender, age, educational level, etc. The third section seeks respondent’s reasons of using the Internet for purchase decision. And the fourth section measured customer’s online hotel reservation intention, purpose of reservation, etc.

The Internet and ICTs proposes a lot of advantages to organizations and individuals, but there are some bars in their utilizing, such as: deficiency of universal standards for quality, security and reliability (Van Toorn, Bunker, Yee & Smith, 2006); internet accessibility is still expensive, etc. (Turban, 2008).

When booking through Interenet the hotel demands a reservation guarantee. Number of a corporate card or club card, the name of the special program of service can become such guarantee. The same data can have impact on accommodation cost as by corporate and club cards the discount can be provided to their owners. Other form of guaranteeing booking is the credit card number, a surname of the owner and use expiration date. All these data can be transferred through the Internet in the protected mode as financial information is confidential. Modern programs and communication protocols constantly improve methods of protection of information transferred on a network. Payment privacy and security concerns form one of the major nontechnological restriction that prevent consumers from completing transaction online (Buhalis & Law, 2008). An emphasizing of  basic importance of the on-line technologies for a travel agent is worth doing. 

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