Finding the right channel manager as an independent hotelier isn’t easy.
There are so many on the market to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for.
Can we let you into a secret? Most channel managers do exactly the same thing. It’s the service, features, choice of OTA connections and PMS integration that matter.
With that in mind, here’s how to pick the perfect channel manager for your hotel.
1. Think about your budget
Hotel channel managers shouldn’t break the bank.
Working with online travel agencies (OTAs) alone is expensive. They charge commissions for bookings, and the last thing you want to do is add unnecessarily to that cost with an expensive channel manager.
Some vendors will charge a monthly fee, others a booking fee. The best will include the channel manager as standard with their PMS.
When pricing it up, make sure the channel manager you choose leaves you plenty of room to still make a decent profit on each room sale.
2. Make sure it links up with your PMS
If you’re in the market for a new property management system (PMS) too, you have the luxury of being able to find one that has its own channel manager.
If you have an existing PMS, it’s important that you find a channel manager that links to it comprehensively.
By this, we mean the ability for rate and availability information to be automatically synchronised between the two systems and bookings sent directly to the reservation chart.
Running two separate systems is a no-no in this age; you’ll end up with double bookings and oodles of needless time spent on your hotel’s online distribution.
3. Identify the key channels you need
Most channel managers will link to the big boy OTAs, such as Expedia and Booking.com.
However, there might be other channels from which you can gain lots of bookings. TripAdvisor, Trivago, Hostel World and AirBnB are just some examples of channels that could perfectly suit your business.
Make a list of the OTAs you already work with and any that you might want to work with in the future and make sure the channel manager you choose has those integrations.
4. Make sure it offers two-way interfaces
A channel manager that only sends information one way isn’t much use.
For instance, some basic channel manager may only send your rates and availability to OTAs. This means any bookings you receive will have to be manually entered, thus creating opportunities for double bookings (or forgetting entirely to enter bookings onto the PMS).
If a channel manager doesn’t offer genuine two-way, automated links with OTAs, it isn’t fit for a modern hotel operation.
5. Don’t forget your own booking engine
With the channel management focus so heavily placed on OTAs, it’s easy to forget about the most important channel of them all - your own website.
The best channel managers will offer comprehensive control over your own booking engine. If you find one that doesn’t, its other benefits will pale into insignificance - this is a vital piece of functionality if you want to avoid double bookings and encourage more direct bookers.
We hope our tips above help in your quest to find the perfect channel manager for your unique situation (because let’s be honest, every hotel is unique).
If a channel manager seems too expensive, overly complicated or lacks the PMS integration you need, walk away - the right one is out there.
Welcome Anywhere has over 30 years of experience in helping independent hoteliers deliver guests an unforgettable experience with its simple property management system that controls your daily activities. The best part - it’s all cloud hosted! We develop scalable solutions for your property such as PMS, a Booking Engine and Channel Manager. Our team has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and we serve you to better serve your guests.
Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.