The Better Guide to a Channel Manager [Benefits & Considerations]

guide to a channel manager

While back in the day people used to go to physical travel agencies to obtain recommendations and to help book vacations, these days, people prefer to go online to find the best deal. Websites like Expedia and have exploded in popularity, meaning that more people are using them to discover, research, and book their vacation rental, campsite, hotel, or resort stay than ever before. 

These companies offer the convenience of booking from home and often entice customers with package deals and savings that they can’t find anywhere else. As a result, the online travel agency (OTA) market has grown tremendously in the last two decades, accounting for as much as two-thirds of revenue for online sales channels in 2022. In the same year, the OTA market was estimated to be worth roughly 475 billion USD, with the forecasted value projected to reach as much as one trillion USD by 2030.

Considering the behemoth that the OTA market is, it’s not surprising that accommodations businesses utilize multiple channels to gain regular bookings. Focusing on just one isn’t viable because different OTAs offer different deals. 

However, each OTA is of course, different. Because they are individual businesses, they have different approaches to listings, fees, advertising, and more, meaning that the more OTAs you list with, the more time and energy it will take to effectively manage listings and determine which ones are generating bookings and which ones are not. 

That’s where a channel manager (the software, not a person) comes in. By integrating with multiple popular OTAs, the channel manager software centralizes management and allows revenue managers to view data and control integrations from one location. 

In this article, we explore more about channel manager software, including key features, benefits, and recommendations. 

What Is a Channel Manager?

what is a channel manager

Channel management software allows accommodation operators to manage multiple OTAs from a central location, rather than needing to visit each OTA’s website individually to manage listings. 

In other words, if you want to list with Airbnb, Expedia,, and more without having to visit each of these websites every single day to manage your listings, then you’ll need a channel manager to do it for you. If the channel manager solution you choose supports automation (which is one of the key features we recommend in the section below), then you can ensure that your prices and availability are updated automatically without the need for you to intervene at all.

Using a channel manager is an extremely convenient way to not only be able to increase the number of OTAs that you list your accommodations business with but also reduce the amount of work needed to manage each individual listing. 

There are two types of channel manager software:

Type of Channel Manager Description
1. Integrated into your property management software (PMS)The channel manager is integrated into your PMS. Newbook is one example. It has channel manager software integrated into the system, so you don’t have to worry about finding a third-party solution to manage your OTA listings. Newbook offers unlimited listings without the extra cost, while most channel manager solutions make you pay for each listing. 
2. Third-party channel managerIf your PMS doesn’t include a channel manager out of the box, you’ll need to incorporate a third-party solution (like a middleman) to handle the data transfer between your PMS and each OTA.

Regardless of which channel manager solution you take advantage of, you’ll want to ensure that the software you’re using has key features to make managing your listings easier and more efficient. 

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Key Features of Channel Manager Software

To solve the challenges of managing multiple OTAs effectively, channel manager tools should include:

1. Automatic Synchronization

If you have dynamic pricing, you’ll want your changing rates and room or site availability to seamlessly sync with your channel manager so that the correct information is displayed across all your OTA listings. You don’t want a customer booking on a travel website displaying a price that’s either too low or too high or having to deal with double bookings because your channel manager isn’t facilitating the updates it needs.

2. Real-Time Updates

Effective business automation for accommodations is such a useful feature for ensuring a seamless workflow. Your channel manager should integrate with your availability calendars for all your properties so that your calendars are automatically updated when a customer books via a travel website. 

As a side note, this is also important to facilitate a larger workflow within your PMS. Once the booking is automatically placed on your availability calendars, the relevant tasks that need to be completed beforehand can also be automatically booked. This means that tasks like cleaning, special requests (maybe your guest needs an extra picnic table at their campsite or a bottle of wine in their hotel room), and more can be scheduled without anyone having to lift a finger.

3. User-Friendly Interface

It’s important that any channel manager software you choose is easy to use. Every piece of new software that you add to your business will have some sort of learning curve, but even though channel management software is powerful, the process of integrating OTAs and getting your automations working properly should be straightforward. 

In addition, user-friendly software increased employee buy-in. If the software isn’t easy to use and it proves to be more frustrating to incorporate into a daily workload compared to not using it at all, chances are your employees will opt for the old way of doing things over the new, negating the reason why you decided to use the software in the first place.

4. Dashboard for Simple and Effective Reporting

Being able to see which channels are the most effective in gaining bookings at a glance is important, as you can prioritize using certain channels over others. Granular reporting is a plus, like seeing data for different types of accommodations and bookings packages so that you have a better understanding of what performs well and with which channels. Plus, an effective channel manager should show the data that’s being displayed on each OTA in real-time so that any errors can be rectified immediately. 

5. Secure Data Transfer

Whenever any data is transferred over the internet, that data is vulnerable to potential attacks. Ensuring that your channel manager solutions support industry-standard SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption is important for keeping your data safe and secure while it is in transit (being sent to the OTA) and at rest (sitting in your system and the OTA’s listing system).

Benefits of Channel Management Software

benefits of channel management software

Using channel management software over manual listing management has a variety of important benefits for all types of accommodation providers. These benefits include:

1. Improves Online Exposure Resulting in More Bookings

One of the more obvious but important benefits of an online channel manager is that it helps you increase the exposure of your accommodations business on the internet, which will naturally result in more bookings. It also allows you to easily diversify your booking channels without adding to your workload.

Let’s say you have a vacation rental business that currently relies heavily on one booking channel, perhaps Airbnb. What happens if Airbnb suddenly becomes no longer viable in your area? Many major cities have taken action to prevent people from turning their homes into Airbnb rentals and listing them on the platform, which on the surface, doesn’t affect vacation rentals, but, unfortunately, contributes to tarnishing the reputation of this popular platform. Although there’s evidence that regardless of the bans, Airbnb is still going strong despite evidence of fewer bookings, the situation provides an important lesson for accommodation businesses that traditionally rely on one third-party booking channel.

2.  Eliminates Risk of Double-Bookings When Using Multiple Channels

Synchronizing your calendars across multiple OTAs is extremely important to prevent double bookings. As a result, most modern online channel manager software includes automatic and real-time synchronization so that each booking channel gets the most current information regarding price and availability, preventing customers from being able to book a specific room or site on a day that has already been booked on another booking channel.

3. The Ability to Distinguish Between Strong and Weak Channel Connections

While listing with multiple channels is beneficial, it’s also important to note the ones that are getting you the most bookings and additional revenue. This way, you can prioritize specific channels for marketing purposes or do research to find out if there are more lucrative channels in a category that’s bringing you consistent business that you can take advantage of. A dashboard that lists all the current channels that your PMS is connected to and their individual performance is useful for at-a-glance prioritization. 

4. Reduces Workload

Imagine that you’re only using four OTAs to list your property. If you’re checking each one manually to ensure that they are listing the right price, have the right picture(s), descriptions of the property and amenities are correct, and more, it could easily take you about 15 minutes to check each channel daily. This means you’re spending at least an hour every day checking your listings. Assuming you work a typical 40-hour workweek, that’s 4 hours—or half a day every week—that can be eliminated from your schedule just by using a channel manager.

5. Eliminates Human Error

Using a channel manager doesn’t just reduce your workload, it also helps eliminate human error. When a person is updating information on multiple OTAs, it’s extremely easy to accidentally make a typo somewhere—whether it’s in the price or selecting the wrong date for when a unit or site is available. A channel manager eliminates accidental entry through automation, ensuring that all your booking channels are always listing the correct information. 

Best Channel Manager Software

If you do a quick Google search for “channel manager software”, you’ll get hundreds of results in seconds. With such a large market share in the accommodations industry, you can choose from tons of channel manager solutions. However, having too many options can be overwhelming and lead to choice paralysis, where you cannot make a decision for fear that it will be the wrong choice.

Before you check out our recommendations below, there are a few important things to remember that will help make choosing an effective online channel manager easier:

  • Determine whether you need a channel manager or a full PMS. While third-party channel manager options are available on the market, they often charge per listing, which can quickly eat into your profits. If you’re using a PMS that doesn’t have a built-in channel manager and you’re managing multiple properties that need to be listed with multiple OTAs, it may be more cost-effective to switch to a PMS with a channel manager included rather than paying for listings. The cost of listing with a third party varies widely depending on the provider, but listings can cost as much as $50–100 per month per listing. Some third-party channel manager providers may instead take a commission per completed booking, which can range from 3% (like with VRBO) and up.
  • Determine which key features you absolutely need. While all the key features of a channel manager we listed above are important, you might want to pick and choose which features you absolutely can’t live without. Automatic synchronization is probably the most important feature that a channel manager can have, but you might be able to live without the Dashboard.
  • Reliability. Once you get your listings up and running with your channel manager, you’ll want to be able to rely on the software to ensure that your prices and availability are getting appropriately updated to each OTA and that any errors or issues are brought to your attention immediately through notifications. Determining reliability might require you to trial the software with a few OTAs that you use to see if information is being updated consistently over time.
  • Ease of Use. It’s important that the channel manager you choose is easy to use. Integrating your preferred OTAs and enabling the automations that will ultimately create and manage your listings should be straightforward, and any changes and updates you need to make should be easy to do. Out-of-the-box integrations with popular OTAs typically make the process of managing your channel listings as easy as possible.

With those important points in mind, let’s get into our channel manager comparison. 

1. Newbook

newbook channel manager

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for channel management, property management, and revenue management for your accommodations business, then Newbook is worth a serious look. Through a centralized approach to managing your business, you can ensure that you have a single source of truth available at all times for your single property or multiple properties. 

This centralized management also makes channel management easier, as adding more middleman software (i.e., a third-party channel manager) increases the risk of downtime due to errors or software malfunctions impacting your ability to make accurate listings on multiple booking channels.

How Newbook’s Online Channel Manager Syncs With OTAs

newbook channel manager sync with OTA's

Aside from a fully-featured PMS and revenue management system , Newbook has robust channel management software included. Instead of having to rely on third-party channel managers, Newbook’s channel manager allows you to not only easily connect with multiple popular OTAs like Airbnb, Expedia, BookOutdoors, and more, you can make unlimited listings for no additional cost

You can also manage multiple listings for multiple properties with Newbook’s channel manager, which is functionality that most channel managers don’t have. This allows you to manage your listings easier and faster than most available solutions. 

With Newbook, you can rely on a 99.99% uptime rate compared to most property management providers, which boast a 99% uptime rate. While that extra .99% might not seem like a big deal on the surface, it actually matters quite a bit when you break it down.

Reliability RateWhat it Actually Means
99%The potential of 3 days, 15 hours, and 39 minutes total outage time annually
99.99%The potential of 52 minutes and 35 seconds total outage time annually

When you’re relying on software to consistently update your information on dozens of OTAs that are your bread and butter for receiving bookings, dealing with a three-day outage either means that you allow the OTAs that you’re booking with to list incorrect information, which can lead to plenty of overbooking and price management fires to put out or spend sleepless nights managing it yourself. Neither option sounds great, so it’s better to go with the software that has the more reliable uptime rate. 

booking system newbook




VRBO is an online booking channel associated with Expedia. Aside from the fact that the association with Expedia is sure to land you more bookings due to the popularity of the parent company, VRBO also offers a service called Fast Start, where a team member helps you get your property listed through a quick phone call. For each successful booking, VRBO charges a 3% commission rate.

How Newbook’s Booking Channel Manager Can Help Increase Booking Rates

how channel manager connects to otas

When it comes to channel management, Newbook integrates with hundreds of popular OTAs to get your accommodation business in front of as many eyes as possible, which naturally increases your booking rates. Because Newbook doesn’t charge you for bookings, you can list as many bookings as you want with as many OTAs as you want without getting charged extra. That means we don’t take a commission for your bookings—unlike the majority of other channel managers.

Ever heard of the billboard effect? There have been multiple studies conducted about this phenomenon and its impact on the hospitality industry. Essentially, the billboard effect occurs when you list your property on an OTA website. Upon doing so, studies have found that more than half of people who see your listing will visit your direct website in search of cheaper rates. This means that you’re not only getting your business in front of more people, but you’re increasing your direct bookings as well.

The combination of unlimited listings and scientific proof of the billboard effect means that Newbook gives you the tools you need to set up your accommodations business for success.

channel manager newbook


The importance of an effective online presence in today’s hospitality industry cannot be overstated. The shift from traditional travel agencies to online booking platforms has reshaped the way people plan their vacations and accommodations.

However, because there are numerous online travel agencies (OTAs) available for listing your business, being able to manage multiple listings efficiently has become a challenge for accommodation providers.

Booking channel manager software emerges as the beacon of convenience and efficiency in this scenario, streamlining the complex process of managing various OTAs. By centralizing listings management, channel manager software simplifies the intricate task of managing different booking channels, including:

  • Updating prices
  • Updating availability
  • Changing descriptions or updating pictures

This automation functionality not only saves time but also minimizes the risk of human error, ensuring accurate and consistent information for potential guests.

Newbook stands out as a comprehensive solution, integrating property management, revenue management, and channel management into a single, user-friendly platform. Its approach epitomizes the essence of streamlined operations, offering accommodations providers a reliable and hassle-free way to manage their listings.
Contact Newbook today to learn more about how our comprehensive property management solution can help increase revenue for your accommodations business.

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Newbook is your all in one property management system. Talk to us today to learn how you can improve operations and increase bookings for your business.

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