A channel manager is a technology solution for accommodation providers such as B&Bs, hotels, motels etc that will dramatically help the way they sell rooms online.
With travellers continuing to move online to book travel, B&B operators need to react to and manage this trend with a channel manager. It’s the only way to effectively and efficiently stay on top of incoming online reservations.
This blog will tell you everything you need to know about channel managers for your B&B, including how it works, what the benefits are, and how to better sell rooms online.
A channel manager will help you increase the number of distribution agents you partner and distribute your rooms with in the most effective way possible.
Essentially, a channel manager works in cooperation with your property management system. From OTAs to independent retail travel agents, a channel manager gives you an opportunity to form a relationship with the agents who are most likely to book your rooms. It broadcasts your live rates and availability via two-way connections and allows travellers to book your B&B from a multitude of possible locations.
When a reservation is made, the channel manager will automatically update your availability on your PMS and booking channels in real-time. This simplifies the booking process for everyone involved.
A channel manager is a tool that you can use to steadily increase your profits while improving your brand recognition around the globe.
Here’s what you need to know:
You will notice an organic growth in your bookings. You can also sell more rooms during your peak season at a higher rate, and still sell out during the slow travel times. As your bookings increase, your revenue will grow as well.
A channel manager connects with your property management system, instantly updating your availability so that everyone has access to the most recent and most reliable information. This minimises the need for the staff to complete manual booking entries and subsequently eliminates the risk of overbooking the rooms at your B&B.
A channel manager is an essential piece of technology for B&B operators who want to succeed in the instant, global travel industry.
So what should you look for in your channel manager?
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.
Making sure international travelers can easily book with you is a top priority for small hotels. 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.
Think about all the different kinds of travelers 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 travelers.
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.
As something that manages your room rates and availability, your channel manager is an integral piece of software that will sit at the heart of your day to day property management agenda.
This is why getting everyone to use it quickly and easily is going to be key to your success.
There are tonnes of benefits to using a channel manager at your small boutique hotel. Here’s a whole list of the advantages:
Booking engines, which are commonly known as ‘book now’ or ‘booking buttons’, are another vital aspect of amplifying your online presence. They consolidate and convert your direct web traffic into actual bookings. The capability to add a booking engine to Facebook and other social media sites is a standard feature that will provide another direct booking avenue for your business, so make sure it is on your list.
The channel manager component will be able to manage your rates and availability over your booking engine, alongside the other channels you use.
There are actually a number of ways your property can sell rooms online.
One of the most popular methods is to connect to online travel agents. These channels have a huge international reach and will put your hotel front and centre for thousands of business and leisure travellers. You can make the connection manually but this becomes hard to handle once you have more than a couple of channels – which is why a channel manager is the best option.
You can also sell hotel rooms directly through your website and social media pages. To do this you’ll need an online booking engine that enables these reservations to be made. Your channel manager can manage the booking engine in the same way as an online travel agent.
Metasearch engines such as Google Hotel Ads are another way to get your rooms booked online. By partnering with Google, you can make your hotel appear to travellers looking for hotels in your city. The reservations will be processed through your booking engine, and your channel manager will update from there.
A channel manager can also oversee a global distribution system. GDS’ are used by travel agents or travel managers to book accommodation and airfares etc on behalf of other parties. They’ll be able to trawl the GDS and book your hotel if you are connected.
As far as making sure your channel manager is as effective as it can be, integration is vital.
From a more strategic point of view, you should always work on increasing the number of channels and distribution agents that you use. You need to develop a vast, diverse distribution network filled with a variety of online travel agents to maximise your bookings through your channel manager.
As you connect to different channels, you will uncover new ways that can be used to attract additional guests to your property. When you add new channels to your B&B distribution network, you will be able to increase bookings as well as profit. There’s always room to generate more revenue, so you should never consider your distribution network to be complete.
Listing online with a channel managers offers a few main benefits:
In the mind of the modern traveller, if they can’t find what they want online it’s not worth their time. Planning a trip is fun, so they want to be able to access and book hotels quickly and easily so they can start anticipating their trip. Their anticipation is often when they’re feeling the most excited.
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