In the early 2000s, online hotel bookings started to develop. It was much welcomed by hoteliers as it brought them a good quantity of additional bookings besides the traditional source and improved occupancy well. More OTA channels that a hotelier cooperates with, more demand for an effective distribution management solution that they need. Thus, Channel Manager was an innovative invention to reshape the way that hoteliers manage all their digital inventory distribution.
Why Properties Need Channel Manager Tool
Before the presence of Channel Manager, the method to manage their online distribution channels was very manual, time-consuming, even might be heavy paperwork. This traditional process is still applied until now for some small property such as 1 or 2-star hotels. In this way, a property’s reservation staff has to access one by one OTA to update room rate and availability, which duplicates the task many times and increases the margin of errors, the main reason for over-booking or under-booking situation.
These restrictions faced by properties create a huge need for a solution to automate updates and centrally monitor all bookings. And Channel Manager has been functioned to solve the problems.
Understanding How The Tool Works
The Channel Manager provides a dashboard allowing a property’s reservation department to do updates and control all bookings info. The main function of this tool is connecting rates, availability and more details to all the connected key online channels (OTAs), such as Agoda, Expedia, and Booking.com. The data updates are automatically shared and synchronized among all channels.
Literally, there are two ways that channel management shares data between the property and the OTAs:
- Through direct XML feed between your Channel management and the OTAs. This is the most accurate way as it provides constant updates and availability to the OTAs. The OTAs have established timed criteria that must be met. This assures rate parity and no overbookings.
- Through “Scraping”. It is kind of an automated software program that goes out and pulls your availability and then automatically updates the channel. The problem with this is it typically runs one time a day. This means your rates and inventory may be outdated.
Ideally, The Channel Manager should be integrated with your Property Management System (PMS) and Booking Engine. The integration makes your systems fully empowers the hotelier to manage their operation most efficiently.
Gaining Benefits of Channel Manager
Some obvious benefits a property will obtain when utilizing this tool are:
- Minimizing mistakes and gaining efficiency. As mentioned, The Channel Manager eliminates duplication in the update process, so avoid human errors caused by manual work. Just with a rate and availability adjustment on the dashboard, the data is automatically synchronized among different online distribution channels in real-time. It ensures the data accuracy and consistency, avoids the overbooking problem.
- Saving time, staff energy and even human cost. Using Channel Manager, the hotel’s staff do not have to go and update data on each OTA, so they have more time to focus on taking care of the customers and improving the service. For some hotels, they can save money to hire an employee for just managing OTA sales as before because the task is now simplified thanks to Channel Manager and any existing reservation employee can handle it as well.
- Increasing the property’s online presence. As over 21% of travelers using an OTA to plan and book all or part of their trip, according to a study in 2018, the exposure of property on OTAs is absolutely beneficial in terms of marketing. As of early 2019, there are more than 400 OTAs and the trick is to get listed on them to maximize online presence. Now the channel manager system is connecting a hotel to as many channels as desired. Hotels using a channel manager or resource for interacting with channels will also likely enhance their online presence.
Hotel Link Channel Manager is highly recommended by the world-leading OTA Booking.com because of our quality connectivity service.
In a nutshell, The Channel Manager is a very useful and essential for any property, especially for the one selling their accommodation on a range of OTAs. As a core solution of Hotel Link, The Channel Manager has been innovated to meet the more sophisticated demand today. Our Channel Manager is one of the most advanced two-way XML services on the market and very easy to integrate with other systems such as PMS, CRM and Booking Engine. Contact us for more details of this solution.