There are so many sources of potential business for modern hotels. From the humble hotel website to the myriad of online travel agencies (OTAs) and review websites, guests can, literally, appear from anywhere.
But how do you tame this vast online platform of bookings?
For new and experienced hoteliers alike, channel management can be something of a headache. That is, unless you have the right tool.
With that in mind, here are the five key ingredients of a powerful hotel channel manager.
1. Genuine two-way connections with OTAs
A channel manager isn’t much use if it only synchronizes your availability and rates one-way with OTAs.
If you have to manually input reservations into your PMS or spend hours each month uploading your rates and availability into a channel manager, it will cause more trouble than it’s worth.
Channel managers should be in constant contact with OTAs and your website (see point 4). This ensures every room price and level of room stock advertised online is correct.
2. No extra commission charges
Online travel agency commission bills are hard to swallow at the best of times. So why add to them with a channel manager that also charges per reservation?
Most channel managers are built directly into property management systems, but if you’re implementing one as an addition, find a system that doesn’t charge commission or booking fees. It’ll be far more cost-effective if you just pay a flat subscription or up-front fee.
3. Full control over rate and availability distribution
Without getting into the rate parity debate, there’s no denying the fact that, as the hotelier, you should have ultimate control over your availability and rate distribution online.
This is why the channel manager you choose should give you the ability to dictate the prices and availability each website receives. You may never decide to modify those settings, but what if you need to cut off the supply to a particular OTA or remove availability that’s reserved for a wedding reservation?
4. Integration with your website (that’s a channel, too!)
It’s easy to forget that your hotel’s own website is a booking channel, too.
With that in mind, your channel manager should treat it as such. That means it should sit alongside your OTA connections and be given the same level of customizability. It should also be given the same rate and availability distribution options as the rest.
5. Two-way link with your PMS
Just like those two-way OTA links, your PMS should have a constant, bidirectional link to the channel manager.
This means that as soon as availability changes in the PMS (i.e. due to a telephone booking), the net result of your room stock should be updated online – without manual intervention.
The same goes for reservations; they should enter your PMS’s booking chart without anyone having to lift a finger.
If your PMS has advanced revenue management features, those should also be compatible (as far as possible, depending on OTA capabilities) with your channel manager, enabling you to make swift changes to your rate strategy and see them reflected online.
The right channel manager will be key to your success
Modern channel managers of course do an awful lot more than the above, but this list represents the features you simply can’t do without if you want to attract as many guests as possible.
Are you ready to take advantage of the huge market that lies in wait for your hotel? Make sure you have the best channel manager and hotel PMS to hand, because they’re key to making a success of 2020.
InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology. We deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.
Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.