A hotel channel manager is a critical software tool for effectively managing online distribution for hotels. By centralizing inventory, rates, and availability across multiple online booking sites, a Hotel Channel Manager makes it easier to implement pricing and allocation strategies to maximize revenues. However, simply implementing a channel manager is not enough. You need to leverage your full capabilities to truly optimize performance. Here are some tips for improving the efficiency of your hotel channel manager:
The starting point is having a solid grasp of the key metrics to monitor. Some important KPIs to track include occupancy rates, ADR (average daily rate), RevPAR (revenue per available room), booking conversion rates, and channel contribution. Analyze how each online channel is performing on these metrics over time to identify positive and negative trends. Compare your hotel's metrics to those of local and regional competitors. Break down performance by market segment, such as leisure, corporate, group, etc. The granular analysis will reveal where the biggest inefficiencies and untapped opportunities lie across both seasonality and customer segments.
With detailed benchmarks established, set S.M.A.R.T. goals you want to achieve through better channel management. Do you want to increase overall occupancy by 10% year-over-year? Boost the website conversion rate by 15% this quarter. Shift 20% more group booking volume to high-RevPAR distribution partners within 6 months? Ensure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Let the goals guide what strategies you implement and how you measure success. Share goals openly with your revenue management team to align efforts. Public and ambitious goals also motivate cross-functional collaboration.
One of the most powerful ways hotel channel managers optimize conversions and RevPAR upside is via robust and automated dynamic pricing capabilities. Cutting-edge algorithms assess real-time demand signals, immediately adjust standard and promotional rates based on competitor price shifts, apply minimum price guardrails you configure, and incorporate seasonal trends. This empowers the implementation of truly sophisticated revenue management tactics at scale across all channels. To maximize value, train front desk staff on how dynamic pricing works so they can confidently explain rate fluctuations to guests.
In addition to adjusting prices, hotel channel managers let you actively control how much inventory gets distributed to each connected platform. Set occupancy-based allocation rules and minimum availability thresholds as part of your pricing strategies. Allocate more rooms with discounted prices to OTA channels, driving high conversion rates for value shoppers. Limit allocations to lower-performing sites during peak seasons when demand is strong. Customize allocations across channels for different market segments' booking patterns. Continually adjust allocations as demand patterns shift to capture more high-value bookings.
Don't just set distribution rules and walk away! Make reviewing the hotel channel management dashboard part of your daily revenue management routine. Log in each morning to check key performance indicators, monitor bookings by channel, review top referral sources, assess overbooking risk, and identify denial trends. Flag any channels that are significantly underperforming on bookings or rates. Provide customized mentoring to improve laggard OTA partnerships. Then, tweak pricing and allocations to optimize channel contributions and conversions continuously.
Savvy guests increasingly use meta-search engines like Kayak and TripAdvisor to compare real-time hotel rates across multiple sites. Advanced hotel channel managers have rate shopping features that automatically sync your lowest room rates and availability to these shopping engines on an hourly basis. This greatly expands shopper reach during the research phase, especially on last-minute trips. It also lets you capture bookings directly on your site instead of via a third party. Carefully monitor click-through and conversion metrics from rate shoppers to optimize promotional pricing.
Sophisticated hotel channel managers make setting up seasonal deals, advance-purchase discounts, family packages, and other special promotions simple. The system automatically handles validating codes and applying complex rules across all your connected OTA and metasearch distribution channels. However, the software also provides tools to actively showcase time-sensitive promotions across the consumer journey. Site placement on booking pages, email deployment to member lists, social media ads, and prominent display on your booking engine homepage drives incremental visibility and conversions for special offers.
Having your branded hotel website booking engine seamlessly integrated with your centralized channel manager is mission-critical. Real-time synchronization eliminates the possibility of disappointing overbooking, one of the biggest channel management frustrations. Travellers expect a consistent guest experience, so syncing availability, rates, and room types also ensures you always offer the same stay pricing and options on your site as via online travel agencies. This rate parity builds trust and confidence, while direct bookings capture more margin and guest data.
Your channel management software likely delivers excellent reporting on performance trends by distribution partners. But don't just view it monthly. Set aside 30 minutes every week to review the latest metrics: conversion rates, average daily rate per channel, booking volume momentum, and guest profile data. Flag any high-potential channels that are significantly underperforming.
A connected hotel channel manager dramatically streamlines inventory and rate management workflows. Instead of relying on manual processes to update availability and pricing across multiple channels, everything becomes centralized and automated. Staff productivity is improved by reducing time-consuming administration and chances for human error. Properties with limited revenue management resources can leverage system automation and analytics to punch above their competitive weight class operationally.
The most effective channel managers provide holistic visibility into current and historical demand across both direct and indirect sales sources. Review analytics to identify market segments with untapped booking potential. Are you getting requests for volume for extended stays that go unfilled? Could co-sponsored local events drive incremental leisure visits? The data insights uncover demand opportunities to help shape pricing, packaging, and marketing initiatives that captivate target audience interest. Ongoing optimization of channel management technology and strategy compounds growth over time.
By setting measurable goals, monitoring performance rigorously, and leveraging functionality like dynamic pricing, room allocation, rate shopping, and promotions, hoteliers can transform the efficiency and impact of their channel distribution strategy. But it does require actively managing your hotel software channel manager instead of just setting it and forgetting it! Adopting these best practices will keep your business booked.