700 million people will be booking their hotel rooms online by 2023. With the influx of traffic to booking sites, and the subsequent boost in hotels listing their inventory online, a solution is necessary to help hoteliers manage their online inventory successfully. That solution is a Hotel Channel Manager.
What is a Hotel Channel Manager?
A Hotel Channel Manager is an online tool used by hoteliers to automatically distribute their rooms and rates online. Channel Managers were designed to replace manual methods of inventory distribution that were often time-consuming and costly. Now, most hotels around the world use hotel channel management technology to manage their online listings.
What is channel management?
Channel management is the process of distributing your accommodation across multiple sales channels. It’s purpose is to maximise your property’s visibility and increase your sales avenues so that you aren’t bound to taking bookings from one single source. Done manually, channel management involves individually updating listings with rates and availability, which historically has proven difficult, timely, and inaccurate for hotel operators.
How does a Channel Manager work?
A Channel Manager works by automating your processes and allocating rooms, rates, and availability to each of your online channels in bulk. By synchronising your Booking Engine and Property Management Software, a Channel Manager will update all of this information in real time, ensuring maximum accuracy.
What is an Online Travel Agent?
Online Travel Agents (OTA) are basically grocery stores for accommodation businesses. These online booking sites list and sell rooms on behalf of thousands of properties around the world, taking a commission fee of around 15% for each booking placed. Chances are, you’ve made a stack of your own bookings via an OTA like Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, and Hotels.com. Because these sites have such an enormous global audience, they can effectively boost booking potential in the blink of an eye. For example, Airbnb alone has an audience of 150 million.
5 Signs You Need a Hotel Channel Manager
- You want to reach more travellers from overseas but don’t know how
- Managing your online listings by hand is causing you a massive headache
- You keep running into human error, like accidentally overbooking your rooms
- You want to grow your brand’s online presence further than just your website
- Your competitors are crushing it and you’re falling behind
The Advantages of a Hotel Channel Manager
No more switching between multiple systems
A Hotel Channel Manager integrated with your PMS and Booking Engine offers a single, reliable solution for channel management. Once you’ve implemented a Channel Manager, you won’t need to switch from platform to platform to make updates to your listings one by one. Instead, you can manage everything within one, centralised platform. Phew! Obviously, this is a massive time (and frustration) saver.
Reduced human error and overbooking
A Hotel Channel Manager will help you guarantee accuracy across your online inventory by eliminating the human error associated with manual labour. Because channel management technology automatically updates and syncs data, the information you present to your guests will always be a precise representation of your rates and availability. With fewer booking errors, you’ll save time on correcting mistakes and following up with your guests, giving you more hours in a day to focus on other areas of your business.
More online exposure
The biggest benefit to employing the help of a Hotel Channel Manager is easily the way that this software can push your reservations through the roof. The more channels you can use to sell your rooms, the better the chances of filling them. More bookings mean more revenue, and there’s nothing bad to say about that, right?
Well, you might have caught it when I said that Online Travel Agents can charge around 15% per booking in commission fees. When added up, it’s a significant chunk of coin. However, a Channel Manager can increase your bookings so much that the commissions paid, although hefty, sometimes make only the smallest hole in your revenue.
The best way to make the most out of your online bookings is unquestionably to use channel management tech in unison with your own, commission-free Online Booking Engine. In fact, reports have shown that 65% of consumers who booked accommodation via a hotel’s website directly, actually visited an OTA prior to placing their reservation.
Other Helpful Hotel Software
There’s no question that a Hotel Channel Manager will be a welcome addition to your hotel software stack, but it certainly isn’t the leading lady. When it comes to hotel technology, there are some essentials that need covering before you can even begin to use a Channel Manager.