What is the best channel manager for bed and breakfasts?

As the name suggests, channel managers allow properties to efficiently manage the different online distribution channels that their property sells through.

They allow small properties to give booking sites their up to date rates and inventory, using a pooled inventory model.

This means that no matter where a booking is made – be it direct on your website, through a third party booking site, or at your point of sale – inventory is always up to date and you are never overbooked.

B&B channel managers give small accommodation providers two main benefits:

  • Ability to sell the most rooms possible through as many channels at possible (without risk of overbooking).
  • Reduced admin by managing inventory and room rates from one central place (no need to log into the backend system of each booking site)

For travellers, channel managers allow them to instantly confirm a booking from third party websites – typically trusted OTAs that have special rates, and whom they feel comfortable booking with.

 

Watch how Little Hotelier distributes your rooms to the world with the Best Bed and Breakfast Channel Manager

Live rate and availability updates

Without a channel manager, you spend hours updating multiple websites for changes in rates and inventory, and it’s not a one-off job. In fact, each time a booking is made on one of your sales channels, you have to make sure your availability is reflected correctly on all of your booking sites. An all-in-one online booking solution like Little Hotelier will combine your booking engine, front desk system, and channel manager, meaning you only have one place to manage your hotel from. You can update your rates and apply stop-sells at a click of a button. The channel manager will automatically reduce availability when a room is booked on any one of your sales channels. All your booking sites will display the right inventory without you having to adjust a thing! There’s no lag time in inventory updates, so double bookings are a thing of the past.

Connection to hard-to-reach markets through a variety of OTAs

 

Making sure international travellers can easily book with you is a top priority for bed and breakfasts. Your channel manager should help you do this by allowing you to partner with a variety of OTAs that can allow you to reach markets you could never access directly. For example, to sell your rooms to Chinese travellers, you should connect with Ctrip, because it is the preferred booking site in China. The more sites it connects you to, the better. For example, Little Hotelier connects with over 350 different booking sites. Think about all the different kinds of travellers you would like to reach, and make sure that your channel manager connects with sites that cater to that niche. For example, a channel manager that connects you to a last minute accommodation website would be perfect if you want to target deal-seeking travellers.

 

 

 

Solid reporting on which channels work

It goes without saying that in order to manage your revenue successfully, you need to be able to see all your revenue streams – from the online booking websites where you advertise your property, to your marketing and sales efforts. A good channel manager will allow you to easily track and measure which online sales channels are working. This gives you the knowledge you need to negotiate commissions and end partnerships that aren’t working for you.

Your channel manager is just one piece of the puzzle

Bed and breakfasts don’t need the added hassle of using separate systems for each. Find an all-in-one hotel reservation system that is suited to bed and breakfasts, like Little Hotelier is. Make sure the software you choose lines up with the needs of your small property, especially in terms of flexibility and cost. Some solutions will enforce contracts, and structure their pricing based on a percentage of commission per booking, but it is difficult to grow with such a pricing model. On the other hand, systems like Little Hotelier operate off a no contract, fixed monthly fee, which makes it easier for you to budget your expenses. Make sure you take a free trial of each of the systems you look at – they are standard in the industry. If no free trial is available, at least request a demonstration of the product. You want to play around with it to make sure that it is truly the easiest and most comprehensive solution for your small property.

 

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