The ability of a hotel channel manager to pool inventory and automatically update availability across all distribution channels has been a blessing for hoteliers since its inception.
Time saved, costs cut, and the reduction of double or lost bookings has made it much easier for hotel managers and staff to run their business profitably.
The many features of a channel manager help you:
- Increase online bookings
- Boost revenue
- Reduce overbookings
- Improve brand recognition
- Increase direct bookings
- Remove manual processes
- Manage your business strategy
- Integrate other hotel systems
To make sure your channel manager is giving you the greatest benefit possible there are other tactics you can employ.
Check out these 8 top tips and tricks for making the most of your hotel’s channel manager:
1. Always set your rates using a pricing tool
The rates you set on your channel manager need to be more or less on par with your competitors. Underselling will mean a drop in your revenue, while overselling will see a reduction in bookings. Use a pricing intelligence tool to keep an eye on your competitors’ prices and manage your own rates accordingly at your discretion.
2. Ensure your channel manager is integrated to support direct bookings…
Even though you might have your rooms listed on a number of online travel agents, ‘The Billboard Effect’ will still send travellers directly to your website. To make your website a viable distribution channel you need to integrate your channel manager with a quality booking engine.
3. …optimise your website to capture direct bookings
When potential guests do land on your website you want them to stay there, lest you lose the direct booking you’ve worked hard to earn. This means having a functional, optimised, and sleek website that will make it easy for travellers to navigate and be pleasing to the eye. It’s important to utilise a website builder that will fit snugly with your booking engine.
4. Don’t ignore wider online distribution
To maximise bookings, you want your hotel to be found in as many places as possible, by as many people as possible. By adding a global distribution system (GDS) as a channel you will put your hotel in front of a much larger audience and attract new bookings by giving travel agents much greater access to your information.
5. Connect to more channels for better reach
While there is a point where the amount of channels you’re connected to becomes obsolete, generally you want to connect to as many as possible. The more channels you connect to, the more likely your booking potential will be fully realised, allowing you to maximise revenue and increase profitability.
6. Adopt and connect a property management system
Integrating your channel manager with a PMS that has two-way communication is vital for maintaining the smooth operation of your hotel management. Updates need to be automatic across all processes and happen almost instantly.
7. Enrich your hotel guests’ experience
Using a channel manager should leave you with more time and on your hands. Use this time to pay more attention to your guests and their needs instead of being behind a computer. Invest in higher quality amenities or offer more valuable extras and promotions to keep guests happy. The happier your guest is the more likely they are to evolve into a loyal customer that will always come back and book direct.
8. Make note of important events
With a channel manager you can mark important dates in the system so that everyone using the system will be aware if rates need to be changed or if you need to stop sell any rooms. Linking up to a pricing intelligence tool will help you monitor local supply and demand.
It’s important to find ways that your channel manager can make your life easier and enable you to be more flexible with your guests regarding their requirements and requests.