What is a Hotel Channel Manager and How Can It Increase Your Bookings?
September 29, 2022
Article by Ayna Gonzales
The way customers make hotel reservations has significantly changed in the last few years. Now, it’s no longer enough just to direct guests to your hotel website to make a booking. As a modern hotelier, you need to maximize your inventory by being present on the most popular hotel booking channels.
However, even if you do manage to create hotel listings on all the OTAs and go-to travel agencies, how do you ensure you won’t make a mistake in managing those listings? The more booking channels you use, the higher the chance of having a reservation error.
To avoid the costly mistake of overbookings, double bookings, and inventory mismanagement, make the decision to invest in a hotel channel manager.
What is a hotel channel manager?
A hotel channel manager is an inventory and distribution management software that allows hoteliers to monitor, update, and analyze their listings across multiple booking channels. It synchronizes with a hotel’s property management system in real-time to reflect all changes in reservations and inventory. It also helps hoteliers increase their occupancy rate by analyzing the best rooms and rates for each online booking channel.
How does a channel manager work?
A channel manager is designed for bulk managing hotel listings. Once installed, the system is usually paired with the hotel’s property management system (PMS) so that both can exchange information seamlessly.
Hoteliers need to connect the channel manager with all booking platforms they are currently using. This includes OTAs, travel agency websites, global distribution systems, meta-search sites, and their own booking engine. The data is then stored and organized on a dashboard for easy monitoring and updating.
When someone makes a reservation on any of the connected platforms, the channel manager updates your hotel’s PMS to remove the booked room from the inventory and from all other booking channels. It also sends the relevant booking information like guest details, date of booking, room type, and length of stay.
This all happens instantaneously to eliminate the chances of having a double-booked room or booking an unavailable room.
What are the benefits of a channel manager?
Having a channel manager at your hotel makes it easier for you to maximize your inventory and increase bookings. You increase your online visibility, reach more guests, and improve the chances of getting a fully booked hotel.
Furthermore, a channel manager automates inventory and distribution management so you can have more time to focus on other aspects of your business.
The benefits of a channel manager include:
1. A channel manager helps you connect with popular OTAs and booking sites to increase the online visibility of your hotel.
While you don’t necessarily need a channel manager to make listings on OTAs and other booking sites, a high-quality one can introduce and integrate your hotel to the best channels. Listing your rooms on high-traffic websites and platforms increases your reach and online visibility.
Customers who would have never come across your hotel are suddenly looking at your website because they found your listing on a particular website. With a channel manager, you can discover more booking channels to market your hotel.
2. Use a channel manager to maximize room distribution across platforms to increase bookings.
When you have access to different booking channels, allocating rooms across those platforms can be challenging. With a channel manager, you can bulk manage your room inventory to match the types of rooms that sell best for each platform. You can add more rooms to popular OTAs and include more discounted listings on lesser-known sites – anything that will help clear your inventory.
Plus, by using a channel manager, you can easily make changes to room allocations and even room rates without manually going through each platform. You can keep making adjustments until you get 100% occupancy.
3. A channel manager also indirectly helps drive customers to your website to make commission-free bookings.
A channel manager gives you an overview of which rooms at which prices are popular among guests on each online booking site and OTA. When you notice a particular room-and-price combination consistently sells, you can offer guests better rates if they book on your website. This usually means they pay less, you waive OTA booking fees, and both parties are happier.
Most of the time, you don’t even have to convince customers to book directly. It’s common practice among travelers to look for hotels on OTAs and then go to their desired hotel’s website to make a booking. As long as you make better offers on your website, you’re guaranteed to get guests from third-party sources.
4. Monitor your competitors’ listings on multiple platforms to create a strategic distribution management plan.
One of the features of a channel manager is the comparative analysis of listings in each booking site. With the software, you can compare how your own rates and rooms are performing against those with a similar target audience.
If there are top-ranking hotels or listings, be sure to note any best practice or techniques you can use for your own business. Not only are you keeping up with trending customer preferences, you’re also staying aware of what you can do to make your offers more competitive.
5. Get detailed reports and analytics from the channel manager to identify recurring booking patterns and trends.
The information stored in the channel manager can be used to track, analyze, and interpret the booking patterns of your customers. You can check which room types are popular on which platforms, which rates are the most competitive, and even which days and times most bookings occur.
You can then tweak and adjust your distribution strategy, pricing models, and promotions to maximize the potential of each platform. The same analytics can also help you make long-term plans about revenue management, inventory planning, and forecasting.
Curious to learn more about channel management? Check out zenrooms Channel Manager, one of the top room distribution softwares in Southeast Asia. It’s designed to help hoteliers manage multiple properties across multiple booking channels from a single-point dashboard.
Other features of our Channel Manager include:
Connection to 130+ global and regional booking sites
Instant info exchange between channel manager and PMS
Seamless integration with other hotel systems
Rate parity optimization
Get a FREE demo and learn how our Channel Manager can help you increase your bookings.
Learn more about inventory and distribution management on our website.
Channel management is all about maximizing your hotel’s inventory and strategic room distribution. Investing in a channel manager can make it twice as easy for you to bulk manage your properties and get the best possible sales from each booking site. It saves you time, effort, money, and gives you a closer look into the booking process and guest preferences.
Looking for more ways to grow your business? Work with zenrooms! We offer a full range of accessible and easy-to-use hotel software to help hotels improve their performance. Get a FREE consultation to find out which customized solution is right for your hotel.
Frequently Asked Questions About Channel Manager
What is a channel manager?
A hotel channel manager is a software that helps hoteliers monitor and update listings simultaneously across multiple booking sites.
What is channel management?
Channel management is the process of strategically distributing rooms across multiple booking channels to maximize revenue.
Why is a channel manager important?
Instead of manually inputting reservations and changes in room distribution, a channel manager automates the entire process and reduces the risk of human error. It streamlines the process and makes it easier for hoteliers to monitor their properties.
What are the benefits of a channel manager?
Using a channel manager helps hoteliers increase their online visibility, a maximized room inventory, and insight into competitor listings. Other benefits include more direct bookings, insight into competitor listings, and identification of booking patterns.
What is the best channel manager?
zenrooms Channel Manager is a fully-automated room and distribution management system that allows hoteliers to monitor and manage their inventory across multiple booking channels. It connects to 130+ booking sites and features a single-point dashboard for efficient management.