With travellers continuing to move online to book travel, B&B operators need to react and manage this trend with a channel manager. It’s the only way to effectively and efficiently stay on top of incoming online reservations.
What is a channel manager?
A channel manager is a technology solution for accommodation providers, such as B&Bs, that dramatically helps the way they sell rooms online, either via online travel agents or their own direct website and/or booking engine.
How does a channel manager work?
The power of a channel manager lies in automation, two-way integration, and real-time data sharing.
Essentially, a channel manager works with your property management system (PMS) to communicate with the online channels you are connected to. When a reservation is made, the channel manager will automatically update your availability on your PMS and all your booking channels in real-time. This simplifies the booking process for everyone involved, reduces the risk of overbookings, and saves you time.
Key benefits of using a channel manager at your property
There are a large number of benefits to using a channel manager at your B&B or small hotel, a list of which include:
- You can manage as many channels as you want simultaneously
- You can setup multiple room types for each channel you connect to
- You can manage availability many months in advance
- You can connect to hundreds of global distribution channels
- You’ll be able to access reports on which channels are bringing the most reservations
- Multiple staff can use a channel manager at the same time
- It can be supported in multiple languages and timezones
- You can integrate a channel manager with your online booking engine
Ultimately, using a channel manager should enable your property to become more efficient, more profitable, and give you more time and freedom in your day-to-day life.
What are the main things you should look for in a channel manager?
Live rate and availability updates
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 and 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 online travel agencies
Making sure international travellers can easily book with you is a top priority for small hotels. Your channel manager should allow you to partner with a variety of OTAs that can reach markets you could never access directly.
Think about your ideal guest, 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
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 channel manager should 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.
Training and support
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.
Read the full guide to channel managers at Little Hotelier’s blog.
About Little Hotelier
Little Hotelier is an all-in-one technology solution designed specifically for small accommodation businesses. It helps make the day-to-day running of a small property less overwhelming and more under control, allowing operators to achieve more in less time, gain more freedom, and focus on what really matters – the guest!