COMPUTERISED RESERVATION SYSTEMS (CRS) By George Otieno

Overview
Hoteliers, airline companies, car rental companies, cruise ships, travel agents, tour operators etc. deal with wide range of travel products and travellers originating from different parts of the world. Reaching these diverse types of clients requires the property owners and managers to convey information regarding their products features. The industry either deals directly with clients concerning business transactions or through clients’ agents. To efficiently and effectively reach its clients, property owners and managers are continuously embracing different ways through which they can communicate their product availability to clients. They do this through use of various distribution channels in existence. Existing Electronic Distribution Channels The industry is shifting from the traditional product distribution channels that consisted of the middlemen (wholesalers, retailers etc. who include traditional travel agents) who ensured that products reach individual consumers. Advances in technology and embracing use of computers applications systems by the tourism industry has proven useful for business operation. Today, the tourism industry is employing electronic distribution systems (EDS) or channels to ensure that travel, tourism and hospitality products are available for individual consumption by the clients. These include global distribution systems, internet distribution systems, distribution service providers (DSPs), third party websites or online travel agents (OTAs) e.g. Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline.com, Hotel site etc.; faxes, e-mails, smart phones, hotel directories, information packages etc. Other EDS include e-commerce and call centres (with Call Center Reservation and Support Services) for hotels without PMS. Evolution of EDS The evolution of the EDS can be traced in three phases: development of airline reservations systems (ARS), development of GDS and advent of OTA Development of ARS - Electronic distribution channels began way back in the 1940s with the development of central reservation systems (CRS) by both domestic and international airlines in the US. - In 1946, the first kind of GDS system: experimental electromechanical Reservisor was introduced by the American airline (AA). This was later improved to an automated Airline Reservation System (ARS) in the 1950s. - American Airlines (CEO C. R. Smith) and IBM developed the system which later gave birth to a joint venture program known as the Semi-Automatic Business Research

Delta Air Lines launched the Delta Automated Travel Account System (DATAS) in 1968. and TWA. seats in the cinema. and travel agents began using the software as well.) and surplus of demand in some cases. For instance. Amadeus and Worldspan) were then operated as a joint venture system. In a single cinema for instance. .com etc. . . a Global Distribution Systems were used primarily by those in the travel industry. popularity of the airline reservation system reached outside of individual carriers. A reservationist in all the cases is often confronted with a challenge of limited travel product (airline seats. . How CRS operates Booking/Reservation Systems Computers are often used to book (reserve) air flights.The four GDSes (SABRE. with the advent of the Internet and online booking portals. This is because they provide consumers with 24-hours access and are often more affordable than even the hotel websites themselves. This new development made purchasing airline tickets so easy that soon a number of other airlines had developed similar technology of their own. individuals make use of call centres or mobile phones to make reservations via SMS or even through social platforms such as Facebook. tourism and hospitality products rates and inventory online more complex and such sites are perceived to pose threats to the existence of travel agents. tables in restaurants etc. has made managing travel. rooms in hotels.The advent and growth of Internet Distribution Systems (IDS) such as third party websites e. British Caledonian and CCL launched Travicom in 1976 which was later changed to Galileo. Travelsky. PARS.. GDS Emergence . . Other systems that were developed along the way include Apollo.g. Northwest Airlines.In the past.Worldspan was also launched in early 1990s by affiliates of Delta Air Lines. Emergence of OTAs . Priceline. Nowadays. Expedia. hotel rooms etc. Travelocity. Inc. Sometimes. KIU and Shares. Galileo International was merged with Worldspan to form Travelport. the booking . It is very important that any booking system prevents the same item being booked twice (double booking). Abacus.Apollo was merged with Galileo to form Galileo International. How Booking/Reservation Systems Work The nature of the booking process and procedure depend on the travel product on offer and the technology being employed by the booking party.By the 1970s. Videcom international with British Airways. Galileo. internet savvy travelers are able to use these systems when booking travel over the Web. .Several GDS systems then came into existence operated by different airlines.Environment (SABRE) which was launched in 1960. In 2007.Air France and West Germany's Lufthansa launched Amadeus Global Travel Distribution in the early 1990s. Patheo.

Because booking/reservation systems operate on real-time. how do reservation systems manage all these booking requests without making any double booking? This is possible because all booking systems are real-time. c) The outputs are the booking confirmations/rejections. 38C at the same time. all arriving at the same time. when a booking request arrives. A real time system is one in where every input is processed immediately. Both Simon and Peter are trying to book seat No. so that the resulting output is ready before the next input is processed. most booking systems are much more complex than this. Same scenario would apply to individuals booking bus seats. This is what prevents double-booking. This clearly shows that the first queued reservation request is fully processes by the system before embarking on the next reservation request on the queue thus prevents seat 38C from double-booking . by travel agents in dozens of different offices. c) Output: Booking confirmed for seat 38C d) Input: Please reserve seat 38C. However. by business itself etc. Therefore. e) Process: Has seat 38C already been booked? Yes! f) Output: Booking rejected. This is what happens: a) Input: Please reserve seat 38C b) Process: Has seat 38C already been booked? No…so book it. Simon based in Mombasa and Peter based in Kisumu are using KQ’s website to try and book seats on a KQ Nairobi to Amsterdam Monday morning flight. In such a case. A typical system must cope with booking requests from many different sources. For instance. flights may be booked by clients online. the previous booking has already been fully processed. the reservationist may use a piece of paper and tick off seats as they are reserved. In the case of a booking system: a) The inputs are booking requests b) The processing involves checking if bookings are possible.process may be characterized by individuals queuing up to buy tickets at the front door and in such a case the reservation system may be very simple. and if so making the bookings. What would happen? Who would book the seat given that the seat was not reserved before by anybody? NB: Even though the booking requests are made at the same time. Example Two people. one request will be received by the airline’s computer just before the other since reservation requests come into the system through a queue.