At a glance:

Understanding the Hotel Channel Management Landscape
What Is A Hotel Channel Manager?
Technical Features of A Hotel Channel Manager
How To Choose The Right Hotel Channel Manager For Your Hotel?
What Other Systems Can You Use With A Channel Manager At Your Hotel?
About StayFull™: Hotel Channel Manager by InnQuest


Are you wondering what is a hotel channel manager? Look no further; here’s everything you should know about the world of hotel channel management and more.

The hospitality industry is experiencing a constant surge in online hotel bookings in today’s fast-paced and interconnected world. Hotels face a daunting challenge as travelers seek convenience and competitive prices: how to efficiently manage their room inventory across multiple online distribution channels while maintaining real-time updates and avoiding overbooking. This is where a hotel channel manager comes into play.

These software are a valuable ally to hoteliers, helping streamline the distribution process and maximize revenue potential. That said, this blog will delve into the world of hotel channel managers, looking into their functions, benefits and the critical role they play in transforming how hotels manage their online presence and enhance guest experiences.

Understanding the Hotel Channel Management Landscape

Managing hotel bookings and distribution across multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and booking platforms is becoming an increasingly complex and time-consuming task for hoteliers. Why so? Each OTA has its own system, interface and requirements for updating room availability, rates and reservations. Manually managing these channels can lead to errors, overbooking and missed opportunities for potential guests.

As booking platforms and OTAs grow, the need for a channel management system has become important for hotel owners and managers now more than ever. This is why hotel channel manager software is in demand nowadays. As per reports, the hotel channel management market size is expected to be US $1483 million by 2032.


What Is A Hotel Channel Manager?

A hotel channel manager is a software tool used in the hospitality industry to manage and synchronize online distribution channels. It serves as a centralized platform for connecting a hotel’s property management system (PMS) with various online travel agencies (OTAs), global distribution systems (GDS), meta-search engines and other booking platforms. In short, it primarily streamlines the distribution of room inventory, rates and availability across multiple channels, ensuring consistency and increasing bookings.


Technical Features of A Hotel Channel Manager

After understanding what is a hotel channel manager, let’s take a look at its technical features and benefits. Here’s a list of ways in which hotel channel management systems help hoteliers streamline their operations and excel in today’s ever-competitive market:

  • Channel Connectivity Management:
    The hotel channel manager serves as a central hub, connecting to various online distribution channels, such as Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), Global Distribution Systems (GDS), meta-search engines and the hotel’s own website. Each of these channels provides a set of APIs that allow the channel manager to communicate with their servers. The channel manager can further use these APIs to send and receive data in real-time. This connectivity, in turn, allows seamless transmission of information such as room availability, rates and bookings, ensuring that all channels are always up to date.
  • Inventory Management:
    Next, a channel manager keeps track of the available inventory of rooms in the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS). As bookings come in from various channels, the channel manager automatically updates the room availability in the PMS and across all connected channels. This real-time inventory synchronization prevents overbooking and ensures that the hotel’s occupancy data is consistent across all platforms.
  • Rate Management:
    Thereafter, channel management systems help hotels set different room rates for each channel based on demand, seasonality, events and other criteria. The hotel can change rates anytime; the software ensures all changes reflect consistently across all channels. They can seamlessly increase revenue and effectively respond to market conditions, thanks to their ability to manage rates.
  • Availability Updates:
    In addition to that, when a booking is made on any connected channel, the channel manager immediately updates the availability status on all other channels. This ensures the hotel’s room availability is transparent and consistent across all platforms, allowing potential guests to make informed decisions and reducing the likelihood of double bookings.
  • Booking Synchronization:
    The channel manager also acts as a go-between for the reservation system and the distribution channels. When a reservation is made through any channel, the channel manager automatically transfers the reservation details to the hotel’s PMS. If the hotel receives a direct booking or changes a reservation in the PMS, the channel manager updates the relevant channel(s) to reflect those changes. With such synchronization, the process is sped up and manual data entry errors become zero.
  • Cancellation and Modification Handling:
    Furthermore, when a booking is canceled or modified, the hotel channel manager immediately updates the information across all connected channels and the PMS. This real-time synchronization ensures that no rooms are incorrectly held for canceled bookings across the entire distribution network.
  • Channel Performance Analytics:
    Many channel managers offer hotel performance analytics, which provides valuable insights into each channel’s performance such as booking patterns, revenue generated, conversion rates and other relevant metrics. Thanks to this feature, hotels can evaluate the effectiveness of their distribution strategy and make data-driven decisions to improve their online distribution and marketing efforts.
  • Security and Data Privacy:
    Last but not least, as a central repository for sensitive data, the channel manager prioritizes security and data privacy. It uses encryption protocols to safeguard guest information, payment information, and other sensitive data during transmission and storage. Furthermore, the channel manager follows data protection regulations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), to protect guests’ and users’ privacy and rights.

    To learn about hotel pricing strategies to boost revenue in 2023, read this.


How To Choose The Right Hotel Channel Manager For Your Hotel?

It is important to carefully consider multiple factors before selecting the best hotel channel manager software, which includes:

  • Compatibility and Integration: Make sure the channel manager is compatible with your property management system (PMS) or any other software that you are currently using. Integration of your existing systems will reduce manual labor and data entry errors.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The software should be simple to use. Staff should efficiently navigate the system and manage reservations.
  • Pricing and Costs: Compare the channel manager’s pricing models and costs. Some charge a flat fee while others work on a commission basis. Choose one that fits your budget and business requirements.
  • Support and Training: Look for a provider with excellent customer service and training resources. You may need assistance at some point, so prompt and knowledgeable assistance is essential.
  • Mobile Access: For managing reservations on the go, a mobile-friendly interface or mobile app can be useful.
  • Reviews and Reputation: Look into the software’s reputation and reviews. Seek feedback from other hoteliers to learn about their experiences and whether the software meets their requirements.
  • Scalability: Think about your hotel’s future expansion and whether the channel manager can handle additional properties or an expanding inventory.
  • Trial Period: If possible, use free trials or demos to test the hotel channel manager software’s functionality and determine whether it meets your needs.

    To read a short guide on hotel market segmentation, click here.


What Other Systems Can You Use With A Channel Manager At Your Hotel?

  • Property Management System (PMS): The PMS serves as the central hub for managing hotel operations, such as the front desk, reservations, guest profiles, housekeeping, billing, etc. Integrating the channel manager and the PMS ensures a continuous flow of data between the two systems, preventing overbooking and ensuring accurate room availability.
  • Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): The channel manager connects the hotel to OTAs such as, Expedia, and Airbnb, among others. It allows the hotel to distribute room inventory across these platforms and accept direct bookings from them.
  • GDS (Global Distribution System): This is a must for hotels that cater to corporate travelers and travel agencies. Integration with GDS platforms such as Amadeus, Sabre, or Travelport allows the hotel to reach a larger audience and gain more business bookings.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System: Integrating the hotel channel manager with a CRM system allows hotels to better manage their guests’ profiles, preferences, and communication. It enables targeted marketing initiatives and individualized visitor experiences.
  • Website Booking Engine: The hotel’s website booking engine can be integrated with the channel manager to allow direct bookings from the hotel’s website. This integration ensures consistency in rates and availability across all booking channels.


Summing It Up

For modern hotel managers looking to optimize their online distribution and streamline their operations, a hotel channel manager is an essential tool. Hoteliers can increase their visibility, reach a larger audience and increase revenue by effectively managing room rates, availability and bookings across multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and other booking platforms. As technology continues to advance, the hotel channel manager is likely to evolve further, empowering the hospitality industry to embrace new opportunities and challenges on the road to success.


About StayFull™: Hotel Channel Manager by InnQuest

Take control of all your rooms with our Hotel Channel Manager; Stayfull™.

  • Manage all your Online Travel Agency connections from a single place and get real-time updates across all channels. 
  • Seamlessly connect to the world’s most popular OTAs such as, Expedia, CTrip and AirB&B. 
  • Maximize your occupancy and avoid overbookings by centralizing your inventory and pricing.

To learn more or request a free demonstration of our hotel channel manager, click here.