The basis of digital success for any hotel is to be everywhere its customers are. Today, tech-savvy travelers are searching and booking on an ever-expanding mix of direct and indirect channels, including metasearch engines, brand.com websites, and big and small Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). To make sure your customers can find you, your marketing and distribution strategy should be created keeping in mind travelers’ search and booking behaviors.
Thus, a wholesome hotel marketing and distribution strategy includes a diverse mix of channels on which a property is marketed, and inventory is distributed. This is the key to being found online and winning more hotel reservations.
If you’re a hotelier or property owner, chances are you already distribute your inventory on multiple channels, like OTAs, metasearch engines, and your own website for maximum visibility and bookings. While distributing rooms on several channels is great for business, managing these bookings manually can be inefficient and frustrating.
A hotel channel manager can help solve this problem. Let’s find out what a channel manager is and how it can help you manage your inventory across various booking channels.
How a channel manager works
Imagine getting a booking on one channel and going to all other channels to manually update your inventory and rates. If you manage your bookings this way, you might know how timely and costly this process can be.
A hotel channel manager is a tool that automatically updates hotels’ availability and rates in real-time across all connected booking channels whenever a booking is made, or a room is closed for sale, thereby helping hoteliers avoid overbookings while saving time and avoiding errors.
It has a single dashboard that allows you instant access to your live rates and availability across various booking channels, thereby helping you speed up the way you manage and sell your inventory.
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How a channel manager can help you
We’ve seen how a channel manager can help you in simplifying the process of managing your inventory. In addition, a channel manager can help you in the following ways:
Boost online bookings & profits
A channel manager can help you manage all connected booking channels from one place and at the same time. Thus, it places you in the best position to take advantage of as many online booking channels as you want, thereby enabling you to create a vast sales network. It also updates your rooms and rates automatically so that you can accept bookings faster.
With the help of a hotel channel manager, you have access to your pooled inventory across multiple channels in one place. Its single dashboard leads to quicker and simpler management of bookings with a reduced risk of overbookings and errors. This is because guests can only book a room when it’s actually available, which also leads to higher customer satisfaction.
Analyze your revenue streams
A hotel channel manager also allows you to track and measure your sales channels. Here, you can see where most of your bookings come from, that is, which booking channels are performing the best. This can help you analyze your marketing and distribution efforts. With this knowledge, you can negotiate commissions and end partnerships that aren’t working for you, thereby saving money.
Promote your official direct rates to boost bookings.
How to choose a channel manager
Choosing the right channel manager for your business is critical. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind while choosing the right channel manager for your hotel:
Having an in-depth knowledge of your business and your best performing booking channels is the most important factor. Check if the channel manager integrates with the OTAs and metasearch engines on which you’d like to distribute your inventory.
Pick a channel manager that is easy to use regardless of your technical expertise as a lot of your staff members would use it in the future. Also, make sure that the channel manager team offers effective support to help you navigate the system and troubleshoots issues.
Sure, a channel manager increases your efficiency and bookings, which implies higher revenue. But this doesn’t mean that you have to overspend on a channel manager. Keep in mind the size and needs of your business and evaluate the ROI that hotel technology would bring. The ROI of a channel manager for your business is the ratio between the net profit and investment cost.
Featured image: Francesca Saraco on Unsplash