To increase exposure and attract more potential guests, hotels have to partner with OTAs and distribution channels. However, for effective management of distribution channels, their rates and availability, as well as inventory, hotels require a software channel manager. Channel management software facilitates improved efficiency in distribution, occupancy maximization, and revenue increase in hotels.
However, the choice of a single channel manager software program may be an extremely difficult task with a wide range of available options. However, if you are aware of some best practices in assessing hotel channel managers, you can make your own pick. Six Expert Tips on Choosing the Right Business Needs of Your Property:
A channel manager allows hoteliers to book and manage inventory and connect with different OTAs from a single console. Channel manager software combines all channels into one simple interface that updates both rates and availability at once rather than on different platforms separately.
Make sure you have aggregated OTAs, reservation sources, websites, and local travel portals in one seamless OTAs, reservation sources, websites, and local travel portal calendar when vetting channel managers. Rate and inventory updates should be pushed to all platforms at the same time. This gives hotel staff much time and prevents instances of overbooking of rooms and missing reservations from channel variations.
Hotel pricing and inventory have to be adjusted dynamically across channels in order to capture immediate updates of availability and demand trends for maximum revenue maximization. Instead of depending on old static rates that repel potential customers within a short period, your channel manager should post actual updated rates and inventory to every partnered distribution source.
Ensure any channel management software under consideration offers bi-directional, real-time distribution via open API or channel connectors for all your integrated channels. Real-time distribution of rates and inventory prevents overbooking situations and enables hotels to adjust pricing based on changing demand.
Every hotel has a unique channel mix comprising various OTA and direct booking channels. Some depend heavily on a few select OTAs, while others focus mostly on branded website direct bookings. The ideal channel manager lets hotels customize their channel mix to reflect their target guest segments and brand positioning.
Evaluate channel managers that allow you to adjust commissions and pricing across individual channels. Also, confirm the software enables custom promotion development and restrictions by channel. Optimized channel mix and segmentation produce higher returns by improving your property's exposure to the right potential guests.
Software channel manager systems should integrate robust reporting and analytics covering channel performance, guest analytics, rate management, and more. Comprehensive analytics and reporting help hoteliers make smarter revenue management decisions using real-time, channel-specific data.
Ensure the channel managers you're vetting include easily digestible visual reports and summaries to help illustrate channel productivity, demand patterns, and booking trends over time. You should also be able to filter data by date range, market segment, booking channel, and other factors to extract targeted analytics that shed light on channel efficiency.
Channel managers built on scalable technical infrastructure can readily expand to support hoteliers managing an expanding portfolio of properties. Whether overseeing a single boutique hotel or a growing regional collection of hotels, your chosen software should easily scale.
Determine whether the channel management platforms you're evaluating allow you to create separate logins and manage unique rate and inventory calendars for each property. Growing multi-property managers need specialized functionality like multi-user dashboards, customized channel menus by hotel, and property-specific reporting.
Functionality only goes so far if your channel management software partner doesn't back its solution with exemplary onboarding, training, and ongoing support. Managing the complex world of distribution channels involves continual learning and refinement for maximum financial returns. Your channel management provider should actively share its hospitality and channel expertise with you at each step and adapt its platform to help you test promising strategies.
Vet each channel manager's customer service options and client training services. Consider solutions that provide individual client success managers who contact you directly with platform usage analytics, best practice recommendations, and onboarding checklists customized for your hotel. This degree of attentive service ensures you get the most out of your channel distribution.
To fully optimize distributions, your channel manager should integrate with your property management system (PMS) and central reservation system (CRS). Rather than relying on error-prone manual uploads, opt for solutions that sync reservations, rates, inventory, restrictions, and billing automatically between systems.
Two-way integration eliminates tedious data uploads, reduces overbookings from discrepancies, and ensures availability shown online matches your true open rooms. Evaluate compatibility and review case studies demonstrating proven integrations with your hotel's specific PMS platform.
As hotels budget for new systems, ease of integration can minimize additional costs. Opting for a channel manager that seamlessly syncs with your payment gateways via open API eliminates the need to pay for additional modules.
Ensure any solution under consideration already integrates with leading payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and major merchant services banks. Pre-built integrations allow staff to capture OTA commissions, taxes, and credit card authorizations within the channel manager for simplified reconciliations.
Advanced channel managers utilize live market data, demand forecasts, and competitive intelligence to provide science-based rate recommendations by channel. Robust automation paired with revenue management expertise helps hotels benchmark performance and maximize rates.
Determine whether the solutions you're evaluating offer one-click rate updates based on algorithms that weigh channel-by-channel demand analytics, online reputation metrics, and local event factors surrounding your property. Automated rate guidance lets you keep pace with local competitors and capitalize on demand shifts.
The software channel manager has evolved into essential revenue generators helping hotels manage online distribution and availability. However, suboptimal software leads to inefficient operations and lost profits from discrepancies across channels. By focusing on core features like real-time distribution, customizable channel mix, robust reporting, scalability, and excellent support when evaluating systems, you can select cost-effective channel management that maximizes reservations and optimizes distribution. The right channel manager aligned with your business objectives drives faster growth and amplifies your hotel's visibility across channels.