In a hospitality operation, some information is used for more than one purpose.
The name of a guest registering in a hotel is an example of information that
might be used for room reservation, registration, guest history, housekeeping,
and accounting purposes. Similarly, the name of a food item might be used for
receiving, storing, issuing, recipes, production, inventory, and sales control.
With a computer system it is feasible, sensible, and advantageous to use
software that is integrated. In integrated software systems, the objective is to
record an item of data only once and then use it in every possible way to provide
information for planning and control purposes. If the item of data had to
be entered into the computer each time it was wanted, errors could be made.
Correcting errors costs time and money.
One could consider a hospitality operation as an entire system and have a
completely integrated package of computer software to control and plan every
aspect of its operation. However, a completely integrated software package to
handle all this would be costly and complex, would probably incur higher training
costs because of its complexity, and would create severe maintenance and
data security problems. Further, if one part of the system failed, it would create
difficulties in all departments or areas. For these reasons, a small operation might
find it difficult to justify a completely integrated system financially.