What is a Channel Manager? Manage the distribution on the various portals through a Channel Manager?
If a few years ago hoteliers wondered whether or not to buy a channel manager for their hotel, today there is no longer any doubt and not having this software tool can create serious management problems and complications.
Let’s find out why.
Channel Manager definition
The channel manager is a software tool that has the task of synchronizing prices, availability and reservations on all sales portals and online agencies (OTA channels) such as Booking, Expedia or Airbnb.
The channel manager, in addition to significantly reducing manual interventions to manage prices and availability of certain accommodations, protects the hotelier from overbooking.
Overbooking situations can occur when the availability of accommodation for a time interval is indicated in a specific OTA portal, but in reality there is no availability in the hotel.
So it happens that the customer makes the reservation and if the hotelier does not realize the error, then the customer will risk arriving at the hotel without having a room to stay.
It is therefore clear that the channel manager’s task is to simplify the hotelier’s job and reduce the possibility of making mistakes regarding availability to zero.
What are the advantages offered by the channel manager?
The main advantages offered by this software tool are:
- Automatically synchronize availability, prices and restrictions on OTA portals;
- Download reservations from OTA channels directly to the PMS;
- Reduce staff costs as the opening and closing of the accommodation is done automatically;
- Manage the sale of housing from a single control panel.
Channel Manager: 5 tips to keep in mind
1.Channels with two-way XML connection
It must have a two-way connection with XML system: this is because it has a bidirectional software interface with a “server to server” communication capable of exchanging data between the channel manager itself and the OTAs, with which prices, availability and registration are communicated of reservations that will arrive at the hotel.
2.Single interface from which to manage the different OTA channels
Often those who stay at the front desk in the hotel find themselves in difficulty with the management of the various extranet panels of the OTA channels.
A channel manager must allow you to manage the availability and prices of the different portals from a single platform, allowing you to simplify these steps as much as possible.
It must guarantee flexibility.
This implies the possibility of varying availability, deciding how many and which accommodations to sell, closing certain rates and setting minimum and maximum stays.
4.Connected with the PMS and the booking engine
The channel manager must interface with the pms, crs and the booking engine.
First of all to avoid going overbooked, but also to synchronize the data of the customers who made the booking.
A “friendly” CM connects directly to the hotel planning and shows for each day in question which rooms are free and which are occupied, giving at a glance a clear view of the state of openings and closings.
A clear and detailed reporting of the bookings coming from the different sales portals allows you to be clear on which channels to invest in the most. The reports must be supported by graphs and by the setting of filters that provide today’s occupation and number of bookings registered per month.
Practical case of using the Slope Channel Manager
Let’s take a practical example of how Slope’s channel manager works and what happens when a booking arrives from an OTA portal.
1.The hotelier sets up his own channel manager and offers 5 lodgings (standard double room) for sale on the OTA portal, setting prices and rates.
2.Mario Rossi books a double room for two nights on the Booking portal with check-in on August 15, 2019.
3. The CM receives Mario Rossi’s booking data and deals with:
- Decrease the availability of the master bedroom of that period (from 5 to 4)
- Download the reservation within the planning, indicating Mario Rossi’s data
- Update availability also within the PMS, so as to avoid overbooking with the same booking engine
- In the event that the customer Mario Rossi decides to cancel the reservation in the OTA portal, the channel manager will update the availability from 4 to 5.