Image: Creative Travel Projects/

CRS Research: Hotel Central Reservation Systems & Solutions

A Brief Analysis of the CRS Market

Image: Creative Travel Projects/

Definition: A Central Reservation System (CRS) consists of centralized software that stores rates, availability and property content for one or more properties and disseminates this information to multiple distribution channels, while receiving and managing reservations made across all channels. A CRS is often connected to multiple distribution sites within each channel, including Voice, Global Distribution System (GDS), Online Travel Agent (OTA), Corporate Travel, Wholesale and Tour Operator.


Hotel Central Reservation Systems (CRS) come in many shapes and sizes. The functionality they offer is available from chains, brands, software companies and service providers and in nearly any combination of these. The various solutions are often sold as a grouping of software and services from vendors and hotel companies. As a result, hoteliers have multiple options to choose from and this may cause the need to review other important decisions connected to a chosen Central Reservation Solution.

Affiliating with a brand, signing a contract with a management company or selecting a CRS vendor will each have an effect, if not define the CRS a property will have. Therefore, hoteliers may need to choose from or become familiar with a marketplace that covers more than 89 prospective solution providers. Their products and services originate from numerous locations across the globe with myriad capabilities.

Many years ago, the original design of CRSs was to centralize basic reservation functions that may be more expensive or less efficient to operate at the individual hotel level. These solutions handled voice reservations directed at the 800 number and property overflow. They usually centralized GDS connectivity, allowing hotels to more easily reach travel agents. This required the active management of rates, inventory and availability within the CRS in coordination with the same at the hotel.

As the distribution landscape increased in complexity, the Central Reservation Systems matured right along with it. However, centralized functions are designed to create operational efficiencies at scale. When new, innovative solutions became relevant, but were only applicable to selected hotels within a portfolio or brand, it wasn’t always economically viable to centralize this new capability. This continues to result in the need for a unique footprint of marketing and technology solutions at each property with certain capabilities managed centrally. Yet others account for the local specifics of the property, such as its staff, location and resources.

The introduction of Internet distribution eventually created numerous options for potential reservations. This new electronic distribution channel increased rapidly in complexity and eventually offered hundreds of distribution opportunities, initially providing low volume potential from each. As the channel matured and consolidated, some sites flourished and began generating significant marketing opportunities, advertising solutions and reservation volume. The result was that these high volume solutions garnered the attention of those with CRS management responsibilities. However, it took the emergence of Channel Management solutions to effectively reach the smorgasbord of consumers browsing the web for travel.

CRS Marketplace Context

Hotel Central Reservation Systems and the Services that may accompany them, can include numerous capabilities in today’s marketplace. This vast set of software functionality is purchasable from one multifaceted Solution Provider or a combination of solutions interfaced with each other. As a result, it may be packaged as a fully functional service that encompasses a set of capabilities, but ultimately requires people to make it all work well. If multiple systems are purchased, the sophistication of integration across these systems is a consideration when determining your organizational needs. Planning for the future is critical regardless of what solutions are selected to be part of a capabilities roadmap at any point in time.

Capsolve researched a total of 40 United States based CRS solutions to determine their core features, based upon marketing information.

Need more information? Read more below by logging in or subscribing to Capsolve’s Introductory Research Plan. Alternatively, search for relevant CRS solutions by requesting a Custom List from Capsolve at the following link:

Your customized list of solutions will meet your primary criteria for a particular type of solution, such as a CRS. However, you may request this type of list for any category.

Capsolve’s Research on Hotel Central Reservation Systems & Solutions includes:

  • CRS Styles
  • Core Capabilities
  • Marketing Considerations
  • Interfacing

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About This Document

This document details a review of the marketing information and capabilities associated with Hotel Central Reservation Systems and the surrounding hotel technology market. It contains original content written by Capsolve for the industry to provide a perspective of current trends affecting solution providers and hoteliers. If you have questions pertaining to CRS solutions, please contact Capsolve to get further information specific to your unique business needs and goals.