Ever wondered how hotels effortlessly manage bookings and keep everything in sync? The secret lies in two powerful tools – hotel booking engines and channel managers. While the Property Management System (PMS) also plays a vital role in this choreography, my focus in this blog post will be exclusively on the dynamic duo of booking engines and channel managers as they team up to streamline the booking process, maximize room occupancy, and elevate overall guest satisfaction.
Let's delve into the inner workings of hotel booking engines and channel managers, exploring how they collaborate to create an efficient hotel management system.
Understanding the Hotel Booking Engine
A hotel booking engine is an online platform that enables guests to reserve rooms online at their convenience. They will be able to choose the check-in and check-out dates, check on the room's availability based on the chosen date, and then make the payment to secure the booking. This practice not only enhances guest satisfaction by providing a seamless experience but also allows hotels to save on commissions paid to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) when guests book directly.
Here are key functions that make hotel booking engines essential in the hospitality industry:
1. Real-Time Availability
Hotel booking engines provide up-to-date information on room availability, ensuring that guests see accurate and current data when making reservations.
2. User-Friendly Interface
Intuitive and easy-to-navigate interfaces make it simple for guests to explore available rooms, select dates, and complete bookings efficiently.
3. Secure Online Reservations
Integrated payment gateways and SSL encryption ensure that online transactions are safe and secure, fostering trust among guests during the booking process.
4. Multiple Room and Rate Options
Allow guests to choose from various room types and view different rate plans, enabling them to make personalized decisions based on preferences and budgets.
Read also: List of Hotel Booking Engines
Understanding the Hotel Channel Manager
A hotel channel manager is software that enables hotels to efficiently manage the availability and rates across various online distribution channels. The primary purpose of a channel manager is to streamline the process of updating information on multiple platforms in real-time, ensuring consistency and preventing overbooking.
With a Channel Manager, you do not need to log in to every single OTA dashboard to manually update the rates and inventory. Hence, the Channel Manager only makes sense if you sell your hotel rooms at more than 2 online selling channels.
Here are the key functions and features of a hotel channel manager:
1. Multi-Channel Distribution
A channel manager allows hotels to distribute their room inventory across a diverse range of online channels, including Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), booking engines, and other platforms.
2. Real-Time Updates
Changes made to room availability, rates, or other details in the channel manager are instantly reflected across all connected channels. This prevents discrepancies and ensures that the information is always up-to-date.
3. Centralized Management
Hotels can manage all their online distribution channels from a centralized dashboard, eliminating the need to update each channel individually. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors.
The Integration Between Booking Engine & Channel Manager
The synchronization between a hotel booking engine and a channel manager is a critical aspect of ensuring seamless operations in the hospitality industry. Here's how this synchronization process works.
1. Initiating the Connection
The integration process begins with the establishment of a connection between the hotel booking engine and the channel manager. This connection is typically facilitated through secure API.
2. Authentication and Authorization
Both the booking engine and the channel manager authenticate each other using unique identification credentials, such as API keys or authentication tokens. This step ensures that only authorized entities can access and modify the data.
3. Configuration Settings
During the integration setup, hoteliers configure the settings in both the booking engine and the channel manager. This includes mapping room types, rate plans, restrictions, and other relevant parameters to ensure accurate interpretation and synchronization of data.
Once the mapping between the hotel booking engine and the channel manager is done, you should expect the following advantages:
- Rate and availability are automatically updated
- Minimize human data entry error
- Elimination of overbooking
- Increase the hotel's operational efficiency
When choosing a hotel booking engine and a channel manager, you must prioritize systems that can seamlessly integrate whether they come from the same vendor or different ones.
Softinn is one of the vendors that can seamlessly integrate the booking engine with its own Channel Manager with the Property Management System in between. Softinn booking engine can also integrate with third-party Channel Managers like STAAH. This flexibility allows hoteliers to optimize their online presence and efficiently manage bookings, availability, and rates across various channels. Hence, if you are using a third-party Channel Manager and at the same time looking for a hotel booking engine system to bring more revenue, please look for a booking engine that can integrate with your existing Channel Manager.