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Getting started with a channel manager in 5 questions

The first thing you should do as soon as you start running your property is to work with a channel manager. Without a channel manager, it is highly possible to find yourself spending many hours in a day answering phone calls and emails, talking with potential guests about whether you have availability or not. In order to avoid that, you need to have full control over your room rates and availability, and they should be updated on all sales channels you work with in real-time. We won’t even mention double-bookings. Sounds exhausting right? There is a simple and yet effective solution to your problem: channel manager.

1. What is a channel manager?

To begin with, we need to explain what the word “channel” is. The channel refers to each and every one of the sales platforms a property can send its rates and availability, and promote its rooms on online travel agencies (OTA) like Booking.com, Agoda, and Airbnb, metasearch platforms like Google, Kayak, and TripAdvisor, bed banks like Hotelbeds, wholesalers like TBO Holidays, and your property’s website as your direct sales channel.

Channel manager connects all these sales channels on one single platform allowing you to centrally manage your rates and availability. With a channel manager, you no longer need to keep track of every booking, every availability, and every piece of information on each platform manually. Instead, channel managers enable you to create, update and manage everything about your property’s sales operations through one single dashboard online! So you don’t need to allocate your time to managing hundreds of platforms.

2. How does channel manager work?

Let’s simplify the process. A channel manager provides you with a clean dashboard. First, you create your room and rate types then through a calendar you set your rates and availability.  Now, you have your property’s entire inventory ready to be distributed in front of you. The next step is to create or connect to new sales channels. Aside from channel management, platforms like HotelRunner give you the opportunity to turn your property’s website into a sales channel by simply adding a booking engine to your website. Thus, your very own sales channel is ready to receive bookings in minutes. However, there are other sales channels that may grab your attention. A channel manager usually offers integration with over a hundred OTAs (online agencies) from world-class platforms to local ones, with the sole purpose of promoting your property and boosting your revenue. The rest is completely automated. Your property is promoted on multiple sales channels and when you receive a booking via one of them the availability is updated automatically on all of them so you don’t get overbooked. The best part is that, depending on the choice of your channel manager, some of them are integrated with third-party platforms like PMS (property management system) and some like HotelRunner include these functions on the same platform.

3. Why do you need a channel manager?

So far, we know that channel manager is a centralized solution that every property needs. It helps hoteliers save time by eliminating the need for tracking excel sheets and notebooks, spending time answering phone calls and emails, and managing each sales channel manually. Imagine the time spent on all these daily operations. It’s nearly impossible to successfully overcome these tasks simultaneously.

Channel manager gives you the time you need to run your business smoothly and focus on offering great accommodation experiences. With the free time you have, you can channel your energy to better places like taking care of your guests, planning the outlook of your property, or just lay down and rest. Channel manager helps you gain efficiency. With less effort, you can achieve more. Through one central calendar, you can update all your rates and availability, view your bookings in one place and track your performance without human errors.

Saving time and gaining efficiency may not seem sufficient, it is natural to expect more. A well-functioning channel manager, like HotelRunner, helps you increase your online presence and revenue. Being online and active on dozens of sales channels promotes your property in a way you can’t achieve on your own. Having an up-to-date inventory on all the channels you work with increases the visibility of your property to potential guests. Remember that with HotelRunner, you will also have a commission-free direct sales channel like your website. Furthermore, you can offer discounts, deals, and extras, which is something most channel managers have to support. The result is a steady and high-volume revenue flow.

4. What is the best channel manager?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. When you type “The best channel manager” on Google, you will see dozens of companies and a hundred more blogs comparing them. Deciding on which channel manager to work with depends on several factors like how many rooms you have, how many channels you want to work with, what your needs and expectations are, what your budget is, where your property is at, and the list goes on.

Big companies like HotelRunner offer you top-notch, comprehensive technology and an experience gained through providing services in the hospitality industry for years. Whether you have 5 or 500 rooms and whether you own a bed and breakfast or a chain hotel doesn’t matter for HotelRunner, a company determined to meet every segment of users with the best service possible.

The number of channels a channel manager is integrated and the level of its integrations are important factors that you need to take into account. HotelRunner is integrated with over 150 partners including world-renowned platforms like Booking.com, Hotelbeds, Agoda, Airbnb, and Google, as well as many local sales platforms. All good channel managers have such integrations but only a few selected ones show the capability to move the partnerships to the next level. HotelRunner is Booking.com Premier Connectivity Partner for over 7 years being also a Connectivity Advisory Board member, Booking.com Top Connectivity Performer for 2018, Airbnb Preferred Software Partner, Agoda Innovative Supplier, Oracle Gold, Google Hotel Ads, and Hotelbeds Strategic Partner. Of course, having these kinds of top-level partnerships offers many advantages to properties.

What matters the most, at the end of the day are your needs and expectations. Your property is unique in every aspect and so are your expectations. Do you need a new website or do you already have a website that needs a booking engine? Will your PMS be integrated with your channel manager? Are there any other features you are looking for? Does it have the best customer service? HotelRunner is confident to meet all and more with its wide range of products and services.

5. How much does the channel manager cost?

The cost of a channel manager depends on all the criteria mentioned above like the size of your property and the products and services you are looking for. Generally, the more rooms you have, the more channels you want to connect to and the more features you want to benefit from, the higher the price is. However, this is not the case with HotelRunner. The best model awaits you at HotelRunner with different packages and offers suitable for your needs and budget. The price doesn’t change by the number of rooms or the channels. It depends on how you like to benefit from the services.

You can fill the contact form here to have detailed information about HotelRunner, the products and services we offer, and the pricing, or simply click here to start your 14-day-free trial subscription and experience the platform yourself!

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