10 tips to help you choose your hotel channel manager

A Channel Manager will help you boost your hotel distribution May 5, 2018 By Florie Thielin in Hotel Software 4 min Read

Finding the right Channel Manager for your Hotel or Apartments Group can be daunting, especially when there are so many available online. Don’t worry if you find yourself having difficulty choosing the best one for your needs. You’re not the only one!
We would like to share ten valuable tips, from past and current experiences, to help you make the best choice.

1. Budget

Cost of hotel channel management

A hotel channel manager is an online cloud-based technology solution, meaning there is no software to install on your computer; it all happens through a website. You will generally have pay a fee ranging from $25 to $350 per month.

  • How much are you willing to pay?
  • Are you a small 6-room bed and breakfast, a medium 50-bed hostel, or a large luxury 100-room hotel?

Different property profiles have different needs, and the price generally depends on the channel manager’s level of complexity. The more you pay, the more functionalities and possibility of personalisation you will receive. When choosing a cheaper option, be prepared to adapt and make a few concessions.

2. Pricing model

There are many different pricing models and possibly also many hidden costs. Look carefully for the following information:

  • Is it a flat monthly fee, or is it a monthly commission-based fee depending on how many reservations are entering the system?
  • Are there fixed costs for setup?
  • Do you have to pay for each new channel that you want to connect, or is it the same price for connecting as many channel managers as you like?
  • Do you have to pay in advance for a certain period of time, or can you pay monthly?
  • Do you have to enlist in the program for a certain duration, or are you free to stop whenever you like?

3. PMS Compatibility

AProperty Management System connected to Channel ManagerLT

We strongly recommend choosing a channel manager which offers a two-way connection that can be synchronized with a Property Management System (PMS). This means you would no longer have to manually capture reservation details.
Be aware that delays of the two-way connection (data transfer) can vary depending on the channel manager and PMS providers, with some being more efficient than others.
If you are already using a PMS, you can start by asking your PMS provider for the list of compatible channel managers. If you are not yet using a PMS, we strongly recommend that you opt for one.


4. Channels

There are many hotel channels (OTAs) to connect to.

Your “channels” are all the different websites from which travelers are able to book rooms in your hotel. It can be a direct channel like your own hotel website, or it can be indirect channels, like wholesalers, GDS (Global Distribution System) or OTA (Online Travel Agencies).
OTA’s are common, and there are many on the internet; the most famous ones being booking.com, Expedia.com, hostelworld.com and airbnb.com.

  • Which OTA do you plan to connect to your channel manager?
  • Can the channel manager be connected to the OTA’s you need?
  • Do you also sell your rooms through wholesalers or GDS?

5. Automatic Pooled Inventory

Pooled inventory is a functionality that allows you to have all your rooms showing across all your channels (your websites and other websites) at the same time.
When a booking is made - on whichever website - the channel manager receives the booking and communicates to other channels that this room is no longer available. This automatically reduces inventory across all online booking sites and eliminates the risk of overbooking.

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6. Internet Booking Engine

Your Channel Manager should connect to your Internet Booking Engine

A website Booking Engine solution, also called a Booking Button, allows travelers to check rates and availability, and book a room directly on your website.
It is very easy to implement. You simply copy-paste an html code into one of your website pages (or sometimes install a plug-in), and voila, the booking button will appear.

  • Does the channel manager offer a booking engine solution for your website or for Facebook?
  • Is it possible to personalize the style of this booking button (colours, fonts, size…)?
  • Is the booking button responsive (with a design adapted for tablets, smartphones…)?
  • Does the booking button offer all the functionalities that your hotel needs?

7. Payment methods

Check if the Channel Manager can be connected with any payment system and how they manage Credit & Debit Card data. See a list of the major hotel Payments Gateway here.

8. Ease of Use

Depending on your computer literacy, it might be better to choose a channel manager with a clear and easy interface.

  • Is the channel manager user-friendly?
  • Is it available in your language?
  • How much staff training will be needed?

9. Revenue Management

Now that you have a centralized rates management system, you can start learning about revenue management.

If you practice revenue management and yielding (dynamic pricing) techniques, you will need a channel manager that offers more complex functionalities.

  • Is it possible to easily update rates in the system? Or can you import an excel sheet to update rates, for example?
  • Is it possible to export a current “on-the-book reservations report on excel (so that you can analyse the pick-up between today and a certain date)?
  • Does it offer advanced functionalities like competition rate checker, reputation checker, or google analytics compatibility?

10. Support & Guarantee

Finding high quality support from your Channel Manager provider is important in order to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

  • Does your channel manager provider offer a 24/24 and 7/7 assistance support?
  • Will they charge you for this support service, or is it included in your monthly fee?
  • If an overbooking happens because of a malfunction, will they reimburse your eventual costs of relocating a guest?

Conclusion

HotelMinder is not a channel manager provider, but was created with the aim of helping hotel managers to choose the best quality-price ratio solution from those available on the market. By best solution, we are referring to the most suitable channel manager for you, depending on your specific hotel needs and budget.

We will be happy to assist you in analyzing the different Channel Manager options available, what you need vs. what you don’t, and choosing the best solution for your needs. Feel free to contact us!


Florie Thielin

Florie Thielin

Marketing Manager

From her small village in the French Loire Valley, Florie was dreaming of traveling across the five continents. She took the opportunity of studying marketing and international business to escape to Russia and Germany. She then specialized in hospitality management through a Master degree from La Rochelle Tourim Business School.