Property management systems are the technology used by hotels to manage inventory and guests. While the most obvious implications of reducing the number of PMS platforms across their hotel brands to have a common data source are internal, benefits from better efficiency eventually trickle down to corporate travelers and travel buyers.

"As a traveler and a hotel guest, you want to get access to your rates, you want the hotel to recognize you in the most up-to-date, real-time manner," said Tim Unwin, vice president of business development in reservations services for Dallas-based Pegasus Solutions. "Integration is important to ensure a hotel is able to deliver accurate information out to the distribution world."

Hilton Hotels Corp. once had a patchwork of property management systems because the company did not have a consistent PMS product to put in place, making it difficult to communicate data across the company, said Greg Cross, Hilton senior vice president of revenue management.

"There's a complexity to having each particular room type with matching, corresponding rate codes, both in the property management system and the central reservation system, and that needs to be accurate no matter what channel you go to," Gustaaf Schrils, IHG's vice president of global technology in the Americas, said. "Having a ubiquitous environment allows us to ensure that we have accurate inventory, accurate rate quotes and provide a perfect match for the desire to all our loyalty guests."

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