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What Is A Channel Manager? Everything You Need To Know

The Internet has changed the way things work in a lot of industries, including hospitality Gone are the days when travellers would walk up to a hotel reception to book for acccomodation.

Channel managers have become part and parcel of their daily operations. Most hoteliers have joined various online booking systems to have a massive outreach. But what exactly is a channel manager, and why is it so important for people who take care of places to stay, like hotels and vacation rentals?

In this article, we will list the main ideas of channel management and make them easier for people in the hotel industry to understand. We will talk about how it smoothly works with systems that manage properties and how it improves online sales.

Besides that, we will consider important things when choosing the right manager to ensure you get the most booking and money; when you have the right manager, you can confidently move through the complicated world of online travel sites and booking websites.

Let us explore channel management, find out why it is so useful, and learn the best methods to use in the competitive hotel business.

1. What is a Channel Manager?

What is a Channel Manager? Do I Need One?

A channel manager is a software that helps travellers who are looking for places to stay, like hotels and vacation rentals. For a hotelier, it will help advertise things such as available rooms and rates on multiple booking sites.

There are many channel managers which hotels use depending on their needs. Some of them include; SiteMinder, Cloudbeds.com, Vertical Booking and so many more.

1.1. Importance of Channel Management

Screenshot by Vertical Booking.com

1.1.1. Reduces Chances of Overbooking

Understanding why a channel management system is important is very useful if you work with places to stay. For example, it is an amazing tool that helps these places reach many people who want to book a room online.

One big job it does is ensuring that more than one person does not book a room simultaneously. That can be the biggest problem for the hotel.

So, the channel manager ensures that when someone books a room, it is instantly marked as unavailable on all the websites.

Thus, we can say that a manager is like a captain of the online booking team. It helps them to be more organized and get more bookings or stop problems like double bookings from happening. It is very important in the world of places to stay.

Boost Occupancy with Multi-Channel Distribution

Garrett Ham - Featured
Garrett Ham

Effective channel management plays a pivotal role in revenue optimization and guest satisfaction within the hospitality sector, something I’ve observed through my work with Weekender Management.

By embracing multi-channel distribution, we ensure properties are not only listed but also promoted across a diverse range of platforms.

This includes major sites like Airbnb and VRBO, as well as niche platforms catering to specific traveler demographics, such as pet lovers or remote workers.

The breadth of visibility achieved through this strategy directly boosts occupancy rates and, by extension, revenue.

A crucial part of our approach involves using proprietary technology to manage these various channels efficiently. The technology we employ analyzes market trends and adjusts property pricing in real time, a method known as dynamic pricing.

This technique ensures that our properties remain competitive, maximizes rental income, and keeps the calendar filled. Additionally, by leveraging direct bookings, we’re able to bypass the fees typically incurred through online travel agencies (OTAs), further optimizing revenue.

On the guest satisfaction front, our managed Airbnb services underscore the importance of tailored guest experiences. By focusing on prompt communication and providing immaculate homes equipped with all necessary amenities, we significantly enhance guest satisfaction levels.

This dedication to the guest experience not only encourages repeat bookings but also generates positive reviews, which are invaluable for maintaining high visibility and competitiveness on listing platforms. 

Our strategy of offering personalized experiences, based on insights from our deep roots in our local community, transforms a standard stay into an exceptional one, encouraging guests to return, ultimately contributing to sustained revenue growth and a robust reputation in a competitive market.

Garrett Ham, CEO, Weekender Management

1.1.2. Increased Efficiency

A channel manager is able to increase your online presence since it updates every piece of information in real time. Thus, you can avoid any mishaps that can be caused by human error.

1.1.3. Saves Time

Every piece of information, such as guest information, is automatically updated. This reduces the time you would have to do all that work manually.

Streamline Operations with Data Analytics

Tracy Davis - Featured
Tracy Davis

Effective channel management is crucial in the hospitality industry for maximizing revenue and enhancing guest satisfaction.

From my experience, leveraging technologies like TRAX Analytics, with which I’ve been deeply involved, can significantly streamline operations and provide a more customized guest experience.

For instance, by analyzing real-time data from various sales channels, we can identify trends and adjust pricing and availability accordingly to optimize revenue. This kind of dynamic pricing strategy has allowed us to maximize occupancy rates and increase profitability.

Moreover, guest satisfaction can also see remarkable improvements when you have a detailed understanding of customer behavior and preferences across different channels.

For example, using the insights gathered from our platforms, we’ve been able to tailor the guest experience more personally, anticipate needs, and solve problems before they even arise.

This proactive approach has not only increased repeat bookings but also boosted our online reviews and reputation.

Case in point, during the implementation of a smart restroom solution in a large venue, by utilizing IoT sensors and data analytics, we managed to reduce cleaning response times and improve restroom conditions dramatically.

This minor change contributed to a significant increase in overall guest satisfaction scores. It emphasizes how operational efficiency, driven by effective channel management, can have a direct impact on both the bottom line and guest perception.

Through such integrations and a focus on data-driven decision-making, the hospitality industry can significantly benefit from both enhanced revenue optimization and guest experiences.

Tracy Davis, Founder and CEO, TRAX Analytics, LLC

2. Essential Components of Effective Channel Management

A channel manager helps people book places to stay. It has important pieces that make it work well.

2.1. Connecting With the Property System

What is a Property Management System (PMS)?

One big component of a channel manager is how it talks with something called a Property Management System (PMS). A PMS is like the smart brain of a place to stay.

It keeps track of who is booking and which rooms are free. Also, when a manager and PMS talk to each other, then they can work smoothly.

This is important because it means the manager knows immediately when something changes in the PMS, like a new booking or a room unavailable. Also, when someone books a room online, the PMS and manager update simultaneously. This helps avoid problems like having too many bookings for the same room.

2.2. System Intergration

The second important part is the system integration for channel management. A channel manager should integrate with the hotel’s systems, such as PMS. This will allow the exchange of information easily.

For instance, you can get all the information about free rooms and rates and also see who is booking from different websites.

Good channel manager software is easy to understand and use. Also, it gives information about how well things are going on different websites. Also, it should work with many other websites where you can book rooms.

A hotel manager works well when talking smoothly with a property management system and using good channel management software. These two parts ensure that all the websites with rooms have the right and latest information, thus making things run well and earning more hotel revenue.

3. Online Distribution Channels

These channels are like different roads on the internet that lead people to find and book places to stay. They are the path that connects hotels or areas where you can stay with people looking for a place to stay online.

3.1. Understanding Online Sales Channels

Knowing how online sales channels work is very important for people who offer places to stay. These channels are websites or apps where people find and book rooms.

Think of big travel websites like Make My Trip and Go Ibibo. They collect listings from different places to stay and show them to people who might want to book a room.

For hoteliers, being on these online sales channels is like having a shop in a busy market. Also, it lets many people who might not have known otherwise know about them.

That’s why hotels list their rooms on different online sales channels to get more attention.

make my trip screenshot
Screenshot by MakeMyTrip official website

Engage the Audience with Authentic Reels

Chris Oberman - Featured
Chris Oberman

Create reels! Share captivating short videos showcasing the surroundings, landscapes, and highlights of the hotel or area. Synchronize them with a sense of luxury and trending music on Instagram.

Avoid sponsored reels; instead, focus on creating authentic content that’s genuinely worth watching. Use engaging text like “POV: when you catch sight of the ocean view from your room” to enhance the viewer’s experience.

Chris Oberman, Blogger, Moving Jack

3.2. Booking Channels and Distribution Networks

Booking channels and distribution networks are like the branches of a big tree. There are many different places where people can reserve a room.

This includes popular travel websites, phone apps, and booking directly through a place-to-stay website.

A good channel manager helps places easily handle all these different distribution networks. It ensures that information about which rooms are available and how much the cost is the same on all platforms.

Also, this means a place to stay does not have to manually update every listing on every channel, saving a lot of time and reducing the chances of mistakes.

So, making the most of online distribution channels is important for success in hospitality. It’s about ensuring that people who might want to book a room can easily find and do so no matter where they start their search.

Having a well-organized presence on these channels can increase the number of bookings and revenue a hotel makes.

Provide Comprehensive Listing Details

Johannes Larsson - Featured
Johannes Larsson

For hotels and vacation rentals aiming to maximize their presence on online travel agencies, thoroughness is key. Ensure all essential details—such as costs, duration, and coverage—are communicated in your listings.

Many potential guests tend to simply pass over incomplete listings as they deem them inconvenient.

By providing comprehensive information upfront, you can increase the likelihood of capturing their attention and securing bookings. Remember, transparency breeds trust. This is one good way to boost conversion rates in the competitive online travel marketplace.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO, JohannesLarsson.com

4. Benefits of Using a Channel Manager

hotelogix screenshot
Screenshot from Hotelogix website

4.1. Increase Bookings and Revenue 

Using a channel manager is very good for getting more people to book rooms and earn more revenue.

It does this by connecting to many websites where people can make reservations. This means more people can find and book rooms, which is good for the hotel business. 

Additionally, a channel manager lets people change the prices of rooms in real-time. This means they can adjust the prices based on things like how many people want to book for special events or when it is a popular time to visit. This way, they can ensure their prices are fair and attractive to more guests.

4.2. Preventing Double Bookings

Double bookings are a big problem. This happens when two different people try to book the same room simultaneously. It causes a lot of frustration and disappointment for guests, and it isn’t good for the reputation of the hotel and resort.

Luckily, a channel manager stops this from happening. It tracks which rooms are available on the different websites in real-time. 

So when someone books a room on one website, it immediately updates on all the others. Also this way there is no chance for two people to book the same room at once.

In short, using a manager has too many benefits. It saves time and makes more money. Also, people who use this tool set themselves up for success in a competitive market.

By getting more bookings and avoiding double bookings, they create a good experience for themselves and their guests.

5. Selecting the Perfect Channel Management Solution

A woman talking to someone on microphone
Source: Pexels

Picking the right channel manager is a big decision, especially if you are in the hospitality business. So, let’s explore important things to consider when making this choice.

5.1. Criteria for Choosing

When trying to find the best channel manager, there are a few important things to consider. First, it should be easy to use, meaning it should not be too tricky or hard to figure out.

A good channel manager should also be able to connect to many different websites where people book rooms. This way it can reach a lot of people and get more bookings.

Another important thing to check is whether the software works smoothly without technical problems. Also, it should give clear and correct information about room availability and prices. This helps avoid any confusion and makes sure guests get the right details.

Lastly, a good manager should have a support team ready to help if you have any questions or issues. This support team should also be easy to contact.

5.2. Essential Considerations

If you are running your hotel, there are some specific things to consider. The channel manager should be able to track the hotel’s inventory in real-time. It should also work well with the hotel’s PMS to keep track of bookings and room availability.

Additionally, it is important that the channel manager can adapt to the unique needs of a hotel. This could include managing different types of rooms, setting special prices, and handling extras like breakfast or parking.

In brief, picking the right manager means looking at how easy it is to use, how well it connects to other websites, how reliable it is, and whether it can fit the specific needs of your place to stay. Thus, a smart hospitality choice can help your business run smoothly and successfully.

6. Optimizing Channel Mix for Accommodation Providers

Accommodation providers like hotels or vacation rentals have different choices about where they advertise their available rooms. This is called the channel mix. Finding the right balance to get the most visitors is very important.

6.1. Using Different Booking Sites and Channels

booking.com screenshot
Screenshot from Booking.com website

One way to do this is by using different websites and platforms where people can book rooms. These can be popular sites like Booking.com and MakeMyTrip, among others.

Each of these places has its clientele. By putting their rooms on many sites, accommodation providers can ensure that many people see them.

Balancing Value and Authenticity

Peter Hamdy - Featured
Peter Hamdy

In travel planning, my approach to booking accommodations balances leveraging online travel platforms and directly engaging with hotel websites.

The linchpin of my decision-making process lies in pursuing exceptional value and an authentic experience. When contemplating online travel platforms, I appreciate the convenience, the breadth of options they offer, and the potential to secure competitive rates.

Conversely, booking directly through a hotel’s website often facilitates a more personalized service, allowing for direct communication and the possibility to request bespoke arrangements.

Ultimately, the decision is swayed by the specificity of the travel experience I am seeking. The efficiency and variety of online travel platforms are invaluable for a routine business trip.

However, for leisure travel, particularly in seeking the unique essence of New Zealand, I gravitate towards direct bookings, prioritizing the personal touch and deep local knowledge that can transform a good trip into an unforgettable voyage.

Peter Hamdy, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Auckland & Beyond Tours

6.2. Managing Multiple Channels Well

Managing many places where people can book can be tricky. It is very important to ensure that all the information about when rooms are free, how much they cost, and what they are like is the same on all the different websites.

This is where a channel manager is very helpful. It does this job automatically, making sure that any changes happen straight away on all the websites and connected channels. Also, this saves a lot of time and provides with accuracy in bookings.

By carefully choosing and looking at all the different websites and places where people can book accommodation, providers can ensure many others see their rooms.

Finding the right mix of channel managers is a very important part of making a hospitality business successful in today’s online world.

Best Deals Versus Superior Service

Giacomo Piva - Featured
Giacomo Piva

As a travel industry analyst since 2008 and co-founder at Radical Storage, a global luggage storage company, I have traveled a lot in recent years and would like to put my thoughts on booking preferences regarding using specific online travel platforms versus booking directly through hotel websites.

Before booking a hotel, my first goal is to decide whether I prioritize securing the best deal or experiencing superior service.

While specific online travel platforms offer a convenient way to compare prices across multiple properties and read reviews, I’ve found that booking directly through hotel websites allows me to establish a direct relationship with the property and get additional benefits.

These can include discounts for extended stays, early booking incentives, packages, or even complimentary upgrades or amenities.

However, if you book your room through a third-party site, you might even get a better rate because these platforms often sell room nights when the hotel is unoccupied.

The disadvantage of third-party booking is that you are tied to what you have booked. Guests who booked through the hotel get first dibs, and you get what’s left. Hotels often prioritize their direct customers, as they don’t have to share a portion of the revenue with online travel platforms.

For me, travel platforms are particularly useful for last-minute bookings because they allow me to compare and book flights or car rentals in addition to accommodation.

Giacomo Piva, Travel industry analyst & Cofounder, Radical Storage

7. Integration With Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

What is a channel manager
Source: Pexels

Online travel agencies, or OTAs, are like big websites that help people find places to stay and book cars, flights, travel products and services and services worldwide. They provide insights to travellers and manage communication with them about their bookings.

7.1. Working With Online Travel Agents for More Bookings

OTA's (Online Travel Agents) Explained | Immense Hospitality | 2019

Working with OTA can help you get more people to book your place. Many travellers visit these websites looking for different places to stay. When you list your place on popular OTA, you can reach people from all around the world.

OTA also gives you tools to make your listing look better. You can add nice pictures, write detailed descriptions, and show reviews from other guests. This can make more people interested in staying at your place.

7.2. Global Distribution Systems and Their Impact

What is a Global Distribution System (GDS)?

Global distribution systems are like a giant collection of information about places to stay worldwide. They help travel agents and booking websites connect to hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals.

Connecting with a global distribution system can make your place visible and available to people worldwide.

Being part of the GDS is a big deal. It does not just let you reach many travel professionals. Also, it helps you update your place’s availability and prices in real-time, making the information about your place always correct and competitive, making it more likely for people to book.

In short, joining OTAs and GDS is a smart move for people who offer places to stay. Also, doing this well can make your place more visible and popular in the competitive world of the hospitality industry.

Final Points

A channel manager is an essential tool that can propel any hotel business. There are many channel managers available, each with unique properties. It is important that you choose the right one for your business in terms of functionality.

The internet is changing many things, and industries must utilize all the available tools. A channel manager has many benefits, such as saving time and increasing revenue and bookings. Hotels that take advantage of these benefits are sure to succeed in the future.


Q1. What are the Important Parts of a Channel Manager?

A manager has two main parts: it talks to the smart system in the place where you stay and uses special computer software to manage listings on different websites.

Q2. How Does a Manager Help Get More Bookings and Money?

A manager connects to many websites where people can book rooms. This helps more people find and book rooms, which is good for the hotel. Also, it lets places change room prices based on demand.

Q3. How Does Good Channel Management Help in the Hospitality Industry?

Good channel management ensures a place to stay is well-represented on different booking websites. Also, this leads to more bookings, more money and happy guests, which helps hotels and resorts do well in the competitive market.

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

Last Updated on by Arnab Nandi


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