A channel manager helps you to continuously sell and manage your maximum inventory through various distribution channels and provides updated price and rooms allotment information.
Finding the right Channel Manager for your Hotel can be difficult, especially when there are so many options available online. Because we know that you’re not the only one facing these difficulties, we decided to help you by sharing the most important aspects you should look for when choosing your channel manager to help you make the best choice.
Integrated with PMS
It is recommended that when selecting a channel manager to ensure that it offers a two-way connection that can be synchronized with your PMS. It means you won't have to capture reservation information manually anymore. This way, your PMS will be in sync and you can log into one system only to manage them all, this saves time and avoids any human errors.
Note that delays of the two-way connection can vary from one channel manager and PMS providers to another. Therefore, you should ensure the channel manager you choose seamlessly integrates with your current PMS.
Easy and user friendly
This completely depends on your technical knowledge (or the one of an employee who will be operating the channel manager). If you doubt your ability to navigate complex user interfaces effectively, consider finding a solution with a simple, user-friendly interface that doesn't require much training.
Provide free trial account
Reliable providers often offer a free trial period for their products before they start charging their clients so you can be persuaded of their value.
Being offered a free trial helps you to evaluate your hotel difference before and after using the Channel Manager. You will already start to see how much time it saves you and the flexibility it brings to managing your online delivery during this free trial period. After using the channel manager, you could also find an increased number in bookings and revenue. This encourages you to invest in such a system to make IT easier for you.
Connected with your sales channels
Visitors can find you on different websites from which they are able to book rooms in your hotel. Whether a direct channel like your own hotel website, or an indirect channel like all OTA (Online Travel Agencies) that you're connected to.
OTA’s are the most common booking distribution channels hotels choose to use to get more visibility, and can be found all over the internet. Therefore, you should ask yourself the following before choosing your channel manager:
- Does the channel manager connect to the most important channels for reaching your audience?
- Does it connect to a broad range of channels so you can adapt your distribution strategy to attract different types of guests further down the line?
- Does it connect to the channels you’re already connected with?
Asking yourself these questions will ease the process of choosing the right Channel Manager for your hotel.
Suit your budget
When it comes to price, for most hotels it turns to be their most crucial concern. Hence many hoteliers find difficulties when deciding to connect to a channel manager. We listed some questions to help you know how to choose the perfect channel manager for your hotel.
- Are you a small 6-room bed and breakfast, a medium 50-bed hostel, or a large luxury 100-room hotel?
- How much are you willing to pay?
There are several hotels out there that have different needs with different profiles. When it comes to complexities channel managers vary from each other. Some operate on a regular basis, while others are paid a monthly room size-based fee. Others increased startup costs and introduced new networks. Others have a minimum time commitment when signing up. Take careful consideration of which channel manager is right for you based on your budget and needs.
Though finding the cheapest option might seem the best option but not always. Value and Quality are the key points to look for when it comes to products which help you save time and manpower costs.
Ensure that the price quoted covers all the connections to the channels you need. At a certain price, some providers provide only a few connections and additional channels come at a premium. Others charge fees on a monthly basis or depend on commissions. Are all the features that you want included in the price or are they added ons? Was it a one-off charge or a subscription fee involved for extra features? Only when you get these questions answered you can proceed to the next step and decide.
If you’re considering higher visibility to your hotels, and selling your rooms in multiple distribution channels, then a channel manager would be a crucial tool for you to use. It allows you to control your booking, costs, rooms allotment and your guests' data. However getting a channel manager does not guarantee that travelers will queue in order to book rooms at your hotel.
You will also need to find the right balance between cost, quality and the value you will get and whether this solution suits you in terms of budget, form and size of the property, as well as one that seamlessly integrates with a PMS and the OTA’s that you plan to work with. Connectivity options, multiple channels, analytics and perfect customer service are considerations that you should also consider.
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