Since the 1960s, rapid development of information technology and computers has spread to almost every walk of life and some of its most fruitful applications have been in service industries, in accounting, banking and retailing, as well as in hotels. More recently developments in computer hardware and software have enabled the more widespread use of computers in both small and large hotel operations. This technology now makes possible fast, reliable and cheap electronic devices that can help hotels in the following areas:
Administration: word-processing, spreadsheets, data storage and manipulation.
Control: reservations, billing, telephone charging, in-room entertainment
Finance: budgeting, accounting and taxation.
Internal systems: property and energy management, security and fire control.
Management: management information and decision-making, project management systems.
Marketing: Internet selling, customer profiling.
The new technology is fast and speed is important in hotels – in responding to a guest, travel agent or tour operator enquiring about room availability, in effecting a reservation, in linking the reservation with the registration of guests, their charges, and the settlement of accounts.
The new technology is accurate and accuracy is important in hotels. The sale of a drink affects cash or a guest’s bill, the liquor stock and the revenue analysis of the hotel – it should affect all three to exactly the same extent.
The new technology is becoming cheap to use, cheaper than ordinary office machinery, and with rising costs of clerical labour in hotels, the scope for saving may be considerable.
The new technology, therefore, also has a major contribution to make to the way that hotels operate.
The main applications of computers in hotels are being extended from their established role in reservation systems to front office procedures and guest accounting, to purchasing, stock control and general accounting functions of hotels, as well as other aspects of hotel operations, to form integrated management information systems, which enable the whole business to be closely coordinated and monitored.
A major development of recent years has been a rapid growth of computer reservation systems (CRS) and global distribution systems (GDS) and central reservations systems. Developed initially by airlines, the interactive electronic data systems provide direct access through terminals not only to airline but also hotel and other operators’ computers, to establish product availability, make reservations and print tickets or confirmations. The leading hotel consortia shown in Appendix G use the power of the new technology to market the hotel services of their members around the world. Global distribution systems allow these consortia to update information on availability of room stock and prices