The growth in the number of online sales channels available to accommodation and property owners to sell your rooms creates huge opportunities to boost your bookings but not without a few headaches. You are now able to reach more people than ever before but how do you connect to the plethora of travel meta search engines and OTAs (Online Travel Agents)? And how do you keep your room rates and availability up to date on all these channels? This is where channel manager software can become the best tool you could invest in.
What Is Channel Manager Software?
A Channel Manager is a software tool that allows you to maximise your property’s online visibility and booking potential. It seamlessly connects and manages your online room distribution to all leading channels such as OTA’s, GDS and Metasearch channels. Your property’s rates and availability are automatically updated in real-time, eliminating the need to do this manually on each channel, minimising the risk of overbookings and saving you time and money.
How Does Channel Management Work?
A channel management system is the link between your property management system (PMS), your own website direct booking system and the online booking ecosystem. This includes OTAs such as Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway and Expedia, travel metasearch channels such as Google and TripAdvisor and Global Distribution Systems such as Sabre and TravelClick.
What Are The Benefits Of A Channel Manager?
Increased Online Visibility
Channel management software makes it easier than ever to connect with a global audience and increase your occupancy rate. If you’re a relatively small operator, even if you have your own website with online booking capability, reaching such a wide audience of travellers is a challenge unless you have a huge marketing budget! A channel manager that connects with the leading OTAs gives you access to a sales network that you would otherwise miss out on, at very affordable rates.
Increased Occupancy & Revenue
Using a channel manager to help sell your rooms or property across a wider range of online sales platforms, provides several opportunities to increase your occupancy and revenue potential. Not only will you reach a much wider online audience than with your website alone, you also have the opportunity to grow your direct bookings. This is due to the trend known as ‘The Billboard Effect‘ travellers will browse the OTA’s to shortlist accommodation prior to conducting more in-depth research and booking directly on the property’s website.
Saves Time & Maximise Profit
The biggest challenge for many property managers trying to increase their reach is the manual process of updating multiple booking channels when a booking is made or you want to change the room rates. Logging in and out of different platforms and tools is both complicated and time-consuming. With a good channel manager, you log into one dashboard and manage all channels simultaneously. Not only does it minimise the risk of mistakes being made but it saves you heaps of time and reduces your operating costs.
What Should you Look For In A Good Channel Manager?
Obviously, your needs and priorities will be different depending on whether you are a large hotel chain or managing a single vacation rental property. However, there are a few channel manager features that we consider essential. These include:
It’s really important that all your software tools work seamlessly together to make sure you get the optimum benefits. This includes ensuring two-way integration with your PMS as well as the widest possible range of OTA, Metasearch and GDS integration partners.
To minimise the risk of overbooking and pricing discrepancies it’s also vital that the channel manager you choose offers real-time, instant rate and room availability updates. This way every time a booking is made either on your website or on a third-party booking channel, your real-time availability is updated everywhere.
Intuitive Pricing can help you maximise your profitability as it allows you to set rules to ensure your rooms are always listed at the best price based on demand, without you even having to log in. You set parameters around the rates you want and can sit back and relax while your availability is monitored and rates adjusted accordingly across all online booking channels.
Suits All Property Types
Many channel managers are built with specific segments of the market in mind and offer limited flexibility to customise a solution suitable for your specific needs. Make sure you choose to work with a software developer who can tailor their tool to work effectively for your business.
Integrated Booking Engine
Make sure you don’t miss out on those all-important (commission-free) direct bookings on your website. A fully integrated channel manager means it should be able to connect your full booking ecosystem, from direct to third-party.
Analytics & Reporting
Understanding which channels are working the hardest for you will be a breeze if you choose a channel manager that comes with great analytics and reporting technology. Good channel manager reporting tools will give you insight into your business performance as well as competitive insights so you stay ahead of the market.
Local, Responsive Support
Many of the newer channel management systems are developed overseas meaning it’s not so easy to get support when you need it. When you choose an Australian-based software developer, you can be sure that they fully understand the domestic market and you can get the support you need at a time that suits you.
From a single house to a portfolio of hotels or a collection of holiday homes, HiSITE Channel Manager has a solution for every property manager or owner. We’ve been at the forefront of channel management in the hotel industry for over 20 years. In fact, our industry-leading software has been designed to not only include all of the features we have talked about here but many more.
With a team of industry experts including software developers, Australian-based support and training, website designers, marketing specialists and sales professionals, we know what works and you can trust HiSITE to help take your business to another level.