A channel manager is a convenient distribution tool that manages prices, availability, messaging and other aspects of your room inventory across various online travel agencies (OTAs). But can it be more than that? The short answer is, yes. If used effectively, a channel manager can be a powerful driver of revenue.
In addition to making a hotelier’s life far easier by taking on a lot of the admin associated with OTAs, an advanced channel manager has the very real potential to help boost the property’s bottom line. If your goal is to improve internal operations while simultaneously bolstering your revenue, it’s worth taking a closer look at the possibilities your channel manager should provide.
Save Time and Resources
Sure, updating a listing on a single OTA usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes, but those minutes begin to add up quickly when hotel managers have to refresh multiple channels several times a week. Many managers spend far too much time on what amounts to basic data entry. A channel manager automates this process so that hotel managers can spend their time on more important things, like planning next year’s budget or surveying the competition. By taking menial tasks off a hotelier’s plate, an advanced channel manager can free up managers to direct their attention towards larger initiatives that will directly drive revenue.
Build Brand Awareness
Since a channel manager saves so much time, it enables hotels to expand their presence to more channels. The obvious effect is that more exposure leads to more bookings, but hoteliers may be surprised to find out how many of those are direct bookings. OTAs drive an immense amount of traffic, and they generally do a great job of exposing that traffic to a wide range of hotel options. Simply being associated with an OTA increases awareness for a property that lingers as guests navigate through the booking journey. Some of those guests may even be compelled to visit the hotel’s official website and make a direct booking. Essentially, a channel manager is an easy, effective and affordable way to increase bookings and enhance a hotel’s ongoing marketing efforts.
Ensure Consistency Across Channels
Manually updating inventory across multiple channels is a repetitive bore, which means it’s also prone to error. There is the very real risk of posting the wrong price or advertising the wrong room. Once a potential guest is informed that the information on the OTA is wrong and that the details have changed, he or she is highly unlikely to move forward with the booking. Worse, the guest will probably see the hotel as disorganized and untrustworthy. This negative perception could carry over into social media or casual conversation and hurt the brand. Inaccurate advertising has consequences, so having a channel manager that prevents a small data error from becoming a big PR problem is a worthwhile investment.
Integrate Hotel Operations
Ideally speaking, a channel manager should run on the same platform as a hotel’s other operations. Modern PMS solutions often include a channel manager along with a booking engine, revenue management tools and other modules. After channel management is automated and integrated with these modules, it becomes seamless for hotels to manage OTAs. All the other benefits outlined above are enhanced by the fact that channel management is an integrated part of operations rather than a separate and isolated task. By doing this, life becomes simpler for hotel managers, but more importantly, it also becomes much easier to turn potential guests into returning guests.
Hotels have accepted that working with OTAs is a fact of doing business, and increasingly, they are even seeing OTAs as profitable partners. Channel managers make this possible by minimizing the hands-on requirements of keeping these channels up-to-date, opening up new opportunities that hotels can drive revenue through.
RoomKeyPMS is a leading PMS that can be integrated with multiple different channel management solutions depending on your needs. When a one-size-fits-all solution won’t work for your hotel, contact us to explore the alternatives.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / SFIO CRACHO