Booking.com, Hrs.de, Expedia.de etc. are Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) through which almost every hotel is and should be available for booking. Why? Because these platforms have a huge reach.
In order for your guests to find your hotel, you should make sure that you appear in their searches. For this, OTAs and meta search engines can be a great help. The disadvantage is that they cost a lot of money because they charge a high commission for each booking. Therefore, the most important thing is to devote your attention to direct sales through your own website.
A channel manager saves you the time of making all the settings and price changes on each distribution channel individually. This way you can concentrate on your direct sales and still take advantage of the OTAs.
- What is a Channel Managert? – Explanation
- How does a Channel Management Software work?
- These are the best Channel Managers
- How to find the right Channel Manager for your hotel
- What you need to know – features and benefits
What is a Channel Manager? – Explanation
Channel management refers to the organisation and control of distribution channels, or sales channels. For hotels, these are primarily OTAs and META search engines. A hotel must ensure to display the correct availability and prices
at all times and on all channels.
The presentation of the offered services and rooms with the correct descriptions, pictures and booking conditions, such as cancellation conditions, must also be constantly controlled and updated. Only in this way can a hotel present itself in a uniform and professional manner.
How does a Channel Manager / Channel Management Software work?
The Channel Manager is an indispensable tool for hoteliers today. It is a software that transfers internal data from the PMS to the OTAs. The data to be checked is relevant in order to map availabilities and be available for online booking. This includes room information, availabilities, prices and booking conditions. These will synchronise in real time with all channels. This ensures that the correct prices and availabilities are on display. In order for a Channel Manager to function properly, one has to pay a lot of attention to the default settings. All room categories must be created once in all OTAs. These are assigned to the data in the PMS with the help of the Channel Manager. This is called “mapping”.
These are the best Channel Managers
The best known and largest channel managers are currently DIRS21 and HotelNetSolutions. But are they the best?
SiteMinder has won the Channel Manager Award 2021 from HotelTechreport.
Other well-known channel managers are
- Hotel Spider
- Hotel Connect
Here you can find out which Channel Managers happyhotel has an interface with.
How to find the right Channel Manager for your hotel
Which channel manager is the right one for you depends on the functions you need.
Channel manager software differ primarily in terms of pricing, functionality, cost and support levels. Pricing is either commission-based, based on the number of channels, or based on a flat monthly fee.
Most channel managers offer a free trial. So be sure to check out and test several channel managers! This is the best way to find out which Channel Manager is right for you.
What you need to know – features and benefits
On evaluation platforms you can find out which system has the functions you need. You can also compare different software solutions with each other.
Many channel managers offer their own booking engines for your homepage. Many PMS systems do this as well. So find the best one for you. Keep in mind that it can be useful to have a booking engine and a channel manager from one source. But don’t compromise on your booking engine! The booking engine is your most important sales tool – do never neglect it!
Many channel managers offer additional products, such as a yield management module. Be critical here and always remember the German saying “cobbler stick to your last”!
As a general rule, be careful about taking too many services from one source. This often leads to unpleasant dependencies, which can cause difficulties when switching. Systems that “offer everything” often lose focus on the essentials and are therefore unable to develop their individual services.
No matter what kind of system you are looking for, always make sure that the systems have an open interface philosophy. Only if your systems cooperate with other systems are you able to pick the best one, try it out and change if the situation requires it.