A hotel channel manager is a technology that allows hotels to expand reach and visibility online by listing across multiple hotel booking sites, as well as more easily manage its rates, availability, and reservations. With a channel manager, hotels can access hundreds of online distribution channels and connect to as many as they like at the same time. Hotels can list all of their rooms and availability on all online channels from OTAs (online travel agencies) like Expedia and Booking.com, GDS and even vacation rental booking channels like AirBnB and Homeaway. A channel manager will update these automatically and in real-time when a booking is made, thanks to a pooled inventory model. This allows the hotel to maximize occupancy and reservations with minimal risk of being overbooked. Channel managers have an indirect benefit of helping you improve metasearch ad performance (e.g. TripAdvisor) by ensuring that you can spend on advertising without double booking across channels.
- Increase occupancy: Hotels can list on multiple channels at once which is an opportunity to broaden their reach across business, domestic and international travelers and increase the chance of being booked.
- Stay in control and save time: Rooms listings and availability are automatically updated on direct and indirect sales channels. Hotels can leverage yield management to maximize occupancy rates and reduce over bookings.
- Maximize profits: Reputable channel manager technology can be integrated with a hotel’s booking engine, which promotes direct bookings. This ensures the hotel is kept at the forefront of the guest acquisition strategy and customer acquisition costs are kept under control. Rate automation and rules can maintain the pricing strategy with little effort in real-time.
- Increased total reservations and revenue: With more visibility on more channels, the hotel should attract more reservations than ever before. Even a small increase in occupancy rate from the channel manager should have a very positive effect on monthly and annual revenue. Results will vary according to occupancy rate and average daily rate of the hotel.
- Growth in occupancy rate: It depends on the size of the property and the amount of connected channels. An increase of 10% or more is very achievable.
- Drives more profits: By setting direct pricing rules in the channel manager, hotels ensure direct bookings always offer the best value. Other approaches to improve profits include stop-selling rooms and packages, setting a minimum number of days per stay, or creating discounted rates.
A good hotel channel manager is one that helps hoteliers optimize their distribution strategy and maximize profitability. It should be user-friendly and have advanced functionality such as real-time inventory management, two-way integrations with online distribution channels like OTAs, GDS, and metasearch sites, as well as a CRS, PMS, and booking engine. A good hotel channel manager must have rate parity across all booking channels, ensure a pooled inventory model, and prevent double bookings and overbooking. It should support various room types and manage cancellations and check-ins. Additionally, it should have a strong support team to help with any issues or updates, and offer partnerships with providers like Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Airbnb, and VRBO. A good hotel channel manager must also provide revenue management tools, help increase direct bookings, and offer a mobile app to update rates and check occupancy in real-time. Cloudbeds, Siteminder, and Rategain are some examples of hotel channel management software. The best channel manager for a hotel depends on its needs, but it should ultimately improve the guest experience, increase online sales, and connect to multiple sales channels.