Hospitality Technology International (HTI), Africa’s leading developer of hospitality software for hotels and lodges, has announced its new road map for its eRes Central Reservations (CRS) and distribution software for the next two years, adding it will be spending up to R12-million on software development.
The company supplies its eRes software to over 90 groups, spanning more than 2000 properties, in sub-Saharan Africa. The software – a Web-based application that interfaces seamlessly with most major property management systems, travel agents, tour operators and marketing portals – is said to be the most widely used CRS in South Africa.
The company boasts a number of blue chip hotel groups among its client base, including Protea Hotels, City Lodge and Southern Suns.
The company’s development plans were unveiled to clients and potential clients recently, with more than 65 people attending the roadmap launch.
Rory Montgomery, the marketing executive at HTI, says that the new version of eRes would be “browser-based and would include major architectural changes”.
“We are looking at a slew of feature enhancements that will have the effect of making eRes the continued first choice of many property groups and companies in the coming years," says Montgomery.
“We believe our investment will bear fruit during the next few years, and will assist us to grow our client base, especially into Africa where market conditions are ripe for expansion.”
Improvements include enhancing packaging capabilities and displaying one single package price for multiple components, and enhancements to the Opera property management system’s exchange module and its OpenTravel property management system (PMS) interfacing capabilities.
This, says Montgomery, will mean that from the Opera PMS – and any PMS developed based on the OpenTravel platform – there will be a full two-way interface between the PMS and eRes CRS – so reservationists can view all of the booking details in eRes, even if the booking was made directly at the property.
Group reservations will also be given attention. Here group reservations that contain multiple itinerary lines will be sent in one block per itinerary item – and the eRes "name list" will be sent as part of this block.
The mobile booking engine will also be enhanced, allowing features such as search for availability, an option to seamlessly interface with a call centre, the ability to make, amend and cancel reservations, the easy operation of loyalty membership, allowing an easy log-in and the easy population of a guest detail screen.
“This is important, as entering large amounts of data on mobile devices is challenging.”
Additionally, a browser-based CRS will replace the current CRS front-end for increased reliability.
“This, in turn will be an extension of HTI’s WebBookings 6 – but will come with added features such as advanced search panel, allocations, waitlisting, hold reservation and rate overrides,” explains Montgomery.
Cognisance will also be taken of the social interaction revolution currently underway, and new features will allow "social media integration" modules to take account of burgeoning social business tools such as Facebook and Twitter.