Without a channel manager, hotels must manually update their inventory and availability on each channel, which is a tiresome and time-consuming procedure that frequently results in discrepancies between channels. Hotels with a channel manager also have more influence over the channel mix. Revenue managers can set channel-by-channel objectives and subsequently modify inventory and price on specific channels to maximize revenue. Revenue managers may more effectively manage a hotel's distribution and give the highest priority to the most lucrative media at any given time by employing this dynamic strategy. Some tips for choosing the top channel manager for hotels are:
Establish the ideal channel mix
The first factor is surface-level. The channel manager you choose must link with those that are best for your property and the experience you provide, keeping in mind that you need one to boost your online exposure and welcome more visitors. A channel manager should, more crucially, offer reliable links to the channels utilized by the kinds of visitors you want to draw. You need access to the most popular booking channels if you're a hotel trying to get guests. Gaining access to these more specialized channels and the leading worldwide ones will enable you to diversify your distribution plan and draw in new kinds of visitors because traveler demographics are continuously changing.
Make sure XML communication is two-way
One of the essential characteristics of a contemporary channel manager is quick connectivity, often accomplished using the XML data format, between a PMS and selected third-party channels and your booking engine. Systems connected in both directions continually exchange information regarding prices, reservations, availability, and limitations. Using these channel managers, property owners may prevent overbookings and inconsistent pricing. Another crucial factor is how quickly channel management refreshes your data. Hotels can decrease overbookings and instances of pricing discrepancy by using channel managers with faster update rates.
While APIs are typically used to link apps or services, you may also share calendar and schedule data via the iCalendar (iCal) protocol. It is significantly more constrained than APIs because it doesn't provide an exchange of any pricing information, for example. Still, it might be helpful when API connectivity is unavailable, or you have insufficient characteristics to meet the requirements for specific channels. If it applies to you, see if iCal synchronization is supported by your channel manager provider.
For practicality and automation in booking, look for PMS/CRS connectivity
When a channel manager is compatible with your PMS or CRS, inventory availability is updated immediately. Travelers will thus always be aware of the precise quantity of empty rooms, beds, or properties. In turn, you make the most of your resources and stay clear of scheduling and price mistakes. Therefore, you must ensure that a program interfaces easily with your present property management system.
For complete rate control and efficient profit management, offering interaction with your revenue management system (RMS) is vital. You might think about working with an outside integration provider to put up such two-way connections if they aren't already accessible.
Set pooled inventory priorities
You should seek out a channel offering a central place for inventory management. Pooled inventory lets you concurrently disseminate all available rooms on several channels, including your website, without worrying about multiple reservations or overbookings. For instance, a reserved property or space is instantly deleted from a list of all channels' available inventory.
Analyze the system to see if it has a centralized content management
A busy property is well-presented, and a user is interested in learning about all aspects of a destination, including its rules, architecture, facilities, and attractions. In contemporary channel management, you must be able to edit material across all channels. In other words, it needs to work effectively with the management systems of different media. Synchronizing inventory and rates is no longer the focus of distribution. Richer linkages enable centralized content management, streamlining everything from initial registration and contracting to ensure that seasonal images and promotions are precisely synced across platforms. Distribution technology's capacity to effectively manage and sync material may help properties save time and, more crucially, increase bookings.
Analyze the possibilities of analytics and reporting
Forewarned is wise. Select a channel manager that offers thorough analytics and reporting. You may build your distribution plan using the information on revenue per channel, booking volume, overall revenue over a certain period, competitive analysis, or parity rate.
Ask about security
Your guests' personal and financial information is handled sensitively during hotel reservations. This sensitive data is held by your internal systems (PMS, booking engine, and channel manager online
) and your distribution partners. Thus, it's critical to guarantee the highest level of security. Inquire with the channel management provider about the connections' safety and adherence to essential regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation, Strong Customer Authentication, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) (GDPR). In a unique piece, we went through the basics of data privacy laws and how to comply with GDPR.
Look for stable prices
You looked into several channel managers, analyzed their features, and bookmarked the ones that fit your needs. It's time to assess the costs associated with each of the solutions. If a provider offers a variety of price options, it's not a challenging task. What about extra charges for every booking or a share of channel revenue? Consider using vendors who provide set monthly payment alternatives, our recommendation.
A set of capabilities and the capacity to grow and adapt a solution determine the pricing for each plan. Most sellers also adhere to the "try before you buy" philosophy, allowing you to test each product and decide which is best for you based on its user-friendly interface, smooth integration with markets and systems, and quick updates of travel-related information. A demo version also allows you to assess a customer care team's responsiveness and professionalism.
After giving the factors above, it's time to choose the ideal channel manager for your site. The factors that are crucial to you will help you focus your search for a channel manager using this guide.