Channel manager: what is it and why you should use it in your hotel
Today’s technology enables hotels to offer their accommodations through different channels. But how to get them all to work in harmony and avoid overselling issues? Well, the answer is simple: with a channel manager. Learn what this tool can do for your hotel’s management.
What is a hotel manager and what can it do?
A channel manager is software designed for managing any channels used to offer hotel services online. It centralizes and manages your room availability. Its main attribute is doing so automatically: it does not need manual updating.
Nowadays, a channel manager can connect with any of these paths of distribution
for hotel services:
- Online travel agencies like Expedia and Booking.com
- Traditional travel agencies via GDS systems.
- Metasearch channels with booking functionalities, such as TripAdvisor.
- Rental platforms like AirBnB.
- Hotel’s website and booking engine.
What does it do?
Essentially, this tool increases your hotel’s occupancy and boosts your online sales. Moreover, it saves you time, avoids consistency errors in information across channels, and helps you implement your pricing strategy in all your distribution channels.
Nowadays, it also admits managing complementary services to your business, such as car rentals or tourism packages.
Now that we have talked about what is a channel manager, let’s dive into its benefits.
Why use a channel manager?
What this tool can do, without a doubt, seems beneficial. But if you are asking specifically ‘why use a channel manager?’ and ‘can it change the way I manage my hotel’?, we give you the answers.
Real-time connectivity and pooled inventory
A channel manager gathers your hotel’s inventory and keeps it updated in real- time across all the channels you manage. In doing so, it avoids the risk of overselling a room.
Plainly put, an instrument that centralizes channel management gives you the ability to be in a lot of them. Think about it: if you had to update booking and prices manually in each channel you use, you would most likely not venture into a lot of them. So a channel manager makes it easier for you to decide to offer your services through more channels –thus increasing your visibility and potential bookings.
This tool reduces human errors in booking management, as well as room and services inventory. By automating these actions, there is a lower risk of wrong, incomplete, or inconsistent data across all distribution channels.
Additionally, the best managers analyze the data they manage and create useful reports for informed decision-making regarding pricing strategies and inventory distribution. They can reveal ways to make the most of the channels you use.
Automated pricing strategy
As mentioned, an adequate channel manager allows you to automatically implement your hotel’s current pricing strategy. For example, it can:
- Set sell closings when a certain channel reaches its goal.
- Determine the minimal number of days allowed for a booking.
- Offer discount prices according to your user’s behavior on that specific
Integration with other tools
Solid channel managers can work jointly with other tools in your hotel. This is the case for your Property Management System (PMS), Revenue Management System (RMS), and Central Reservation System (CRS).
Considerations to choose a channel manager
Finally, there are many aspects you need to take into account when choosing a manager that best adapts to your business. These include:
- Updating speed.
- Ability to work in integration with your other systems, especially your PMS.
- Interface ease of use.
- Reports generation.
- Security system for effective data protection.
- Learning curve to use it at its most capacity.
Furthermore, keep in mind these questions while looking for the most suitable
manager for your needs:
- How many channels can I connect to it?
- Does this option host the most important channels for my hotel and strategy?
- How many channels, inventory lines, and days can it manage simultaneously?
- Does this manager issue the reports I need to make informed and timely decisions for my hotel?
This is how a channel manager makes for a critical tool in any solid and efficient hotel management. Its traits contribute to creating a positive experience for guests when it comes to bookings. It also helps to optimize your staff’s time and attention.