Channel Management Definition. Everything You Need To Know
29 Mar, 2023
If you’re wondering what the definition of a channel manager is, you’re about to learn a lot more about it. This term defies a simple definition – it’s the global management of your bookings. We’re going to talk about it in this article.
If you have a hotel, a B&B or tourist properties for short-term rent, I’m sure you are aware of the importance of putting your business on several channels. You need online channels, which means Online Travel Agencies (OTA), to be visible everywhere and maintain a good occupation rate.
But the management of all the reservations that are coming from different channels at the same time can be tricky. Why? Because if you need to register all your reservations manually you can make mistakes. If you make a mistake and for instance forget to remove the reserved room from other channels your customers will remain without a room when they arrive. Your business and brand image will be damaged and your aggrieved guest will in all the probability write a negative review.
What you can do to escape this nightmare forever? Get the only product that can save you in such a situation: channel manager software, to sell your rooms or properties safely and avoid human errors. Keep reading and discover channel management’s definition and why this product is important for you.
What is the meaning of channel manager? A simple definition
The definition of channel management refers to the process of managing the distribution of your rooms or properties through various channels to reach your target audience.
What is the function of channel manager software for hotels?
A hotel channel manager is a software or platform that allows you to manage the distribution of your hotel rooms across multiple online channels like OTAs, travel agencies, and your own website. It helps you to optimize your channel strategy by providing real-time data on your room availability, pricing, and reservations.
The hotel channel manager acts as a central hub that connects to different channels and synchronizes data across all of them. With a hotel channel manager, you can avoid conflicts and overbooking, which can negatively impact your reputation with customers and distributors.
Your approach to selling your hotel rooms will vary depending on your actual needs and target audience. Some hotels may choose to focus on exclusive deals and discounts for their loyal customers, while others may opt for a more aggressive pricing strategy to attract new customers.
The hotel channel manager offers various methods to optimize your distribution processes, such as setting up room rate parity, dynamic pricing, and automatic inventory updates. These methods allow you to stay competitive in the market while maximizing your revenue potential.
It is important to remember that your distributors’ reputation can impact your business. You should carefully select your distribution partners and monitor their performance regularly to ensure that they align with your business goals.
At the end of the day, enthusiasm is key to successfully managing your hotel channels. By investing in a reliable hotel channel manager and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices, you can drive more bookings and increase your revenue.
Why do you need to use a channel manager?
As a hotelier or property manager, you may already be familiar with the channel management definition too, above all after the previous paragraph.
With channel management technology, you can manage your hotel’s available inventory across different channels and ensure that your rooms are being sold at the right price at the right time. This is especially important during certain times of the year when demand for hotel rooms is high, and you want to make sure that you’re maximizing your revenue potential.
The basic framework of channel management involves integrating your property management system (PMS) with a channel management platform that allows you to manage your hotel’s inventory and pricing across multiple channels, such as OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), like Booking.com, Expedia, and Airbnb, as well as direct booking channels like your hotel’s website.
By using channel management technology, you can also stay up-to-date with new channels as they emerge, such as social media platforms, for example, Facebook or Instagram. This ensures that you’re reaching as many people as possible and maximizing your hotel’s exposure.
One of the benefits of channel management is that it allows you to tailor your distribution strategy to specific channels, depending on your goals and target audience. For example, you may want to focus on a particular channel that performs well for your hotel and adjust your pricing strategy accordingly.
Remember that selling your rooms on OTAs is essential, for the so-called billboard effect, because it gives you worldwide visibility, but your most important channel is your website because it allows you to sell without having to pay commissions. You should enhance and enrich it every day.
Overall, channel management is crucial for hoteliers because it helps to ensure that your hotel is visible and bookable across all relevant channels. It also allows you to monitor the performance of all intermediaries and adjust your strategy as needed to achieve your revenue goals.
What are the 5 steps of the channel management process and strategy?
As a hotelier, understanding the 5 steps of the channel management process and strategy is essential to successfully manage your hotel’s distribution across multiple channels and deeply understanding the channel management definition.
Step 1: Define Your Channel Management Strategy
The first step is to define your channel management strategy, which involves setting goals for each channel, identifying your target market, and understanding your product and the unique value it offers. This will help you determine which channels to prioritize and how to allocate resources to each one.
Step 2: Identify and Manage Your Channel Partners
Once you’ve defined your strategy, the next step is to identify and manage your channel partners, such as OTAs, travel agencies, and tour operators. This involves developing strong relationships with your partners, ensuring that they understand your product and value proposition, and monitoring their reputation to avoid any conflict or damage to your brand.
Step 3: Develop a Marketing Program
To effectively promote your hotel across multiple channels, you need to develop a marketing program that is tailored to each channel’s audience and features. This includes creating relevant and engaging content, optimizing your online experience, and leveraging the unique features of each channel to reach your target market.
Step 4: Plan Your Operations Effectively
Operations planning is critical to ensuring that your hotel’s distribution across multiple channels is efficient and effective. This involves managing your inventory, pricing, and availability in real-time to ensure that your product is available to customers across all channels and that pricing remains consistent across all channels.
Step 5: Monitor and Evaluate Performance
The final step is to monitor and evaluate the performance of each channel and your overall channel management strategy. This involves regularly reviewing your channel partners’ performance, analyzing sales data, and gathering customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and refine your strategy over time.
Overall, managing your hotel’s distribution across multiple channels requires a comprehensive and strategic approach. By following these five steps, you can develop an effective channel management strategy that maximizes your hotel’s exposure, increases sales, and enhances your reputation.
Why you should have a channel manager?
1) Saving time
The key takeaway is that a channel manager will allow you to automate the tedious and repetitive task of constantly updating distribution channels, in turn shifting your attention to other important competencies such as guest engagement. In fact, Hotel Tech Report found that using a good channel manager can save you up to 20 hours per week depending on the property size.
2) Increase your reach and direct bookings
A channel manager can also aid in increasing your reach and subsequently online bookings because you can easily manage the connection with multiple OTAs. Nowadays, a strong virtual presence in the hospitality industry is extremely important, and therefore increasing exposure with such a tool will ultimately improve brand visibility.
3) Avoid overbooking
As indicated earlier, a channel manager’s main intention is to provide updates in real-time on multiple OTAs. As such, potential guests are always informed about relevant changes as they occur.
It is a technological application designed to gather all of your booking agents in a single place.
Take for instance someone who has made a reservation on Expedia. A channel manager will block out the room on Booking.com, other OTAs, and your website. Therefore you are not required to connect to Booking.com or any other OTA to update your calendar.
At the core, a channel manager system functions by automating three major processes; setting rates, booking reservations, and managing availability. This provides a user-friendly and streamlined means of keeping potential guests updated, in turn helping them to make better and more informed decisions at all times.
When compared to conventional in-house methods of monitoring all sales channels, a hotel channel manager is undeniably more productive.
What should include a good channel manager software for hotels
Over the years, channel management technology has made giant leaps – transition from merely one-way integrations that only supported rate uploads, to two-way integration that enables you to manage inventory, lockout rooms automatically when they are full and much more.
Picking a good channel manager, therefore, is not a one-size-fits-all situation. It’s a difficult choice and Here are key features we recommend when looking for a good channel manager.
1) Real-time availability
One crucial intention of a good channel manager should be to minimize or eliminate entirely, the risks of overbooking. Therefore, choose a system that always displays your hotel’s real-time availability. A system that will update your inventory automatically in the event a booking is placed on any booking channel or your website.
2) Two-way integration
Two-way integration of your channel manager and multiple booking channels is crucial as it ensures data is accurate, up-to-date, and automatically displayed across all channels. As such, examine whether the channel manager can automatically upload your real-time availability from your Property Management System (PMS) and also receive reservations from all your distribution channels.
3) Multiple connectivity partners
Look for a channel provider that delivers multiple connectivity partners. Furthermore, the more channels you are connected to, the greater the brand visibility, and the sea of markets to tap into.
4) System Integration
Ideally, it is wise to pick a channel manager that integrates smoothly with your existing PMS. Otherwise, it can be time-consuming and costly, given that you may have to adopt separate software pieces.
What is an example of channel management?
You probably already know some of the names in the industry. This is, as we saw, a survival product for the hotelier industry. The sale of a room should be something smooth and you shouldn’t have the potential to forget to register someone. You’re only human and that will happen, even if you are the most organised hotel manager in this galaxy. I will leave you a list of examples of the best channel managers in the market. In this article, you can find the list of the 10 best channel managers, if you are ready to know more about the products themselves.
29 Mar, 2023
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