Find the best Hotel Channel Management Software
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SkyTouch Hotel OS
Shiji Distribution Solutions
Shiji Distribution Solutions
Shiji Distribution Solutions is designed to help organizations in the hospitality industry streamline communications with distributors, tour operators, online travel agencies (OTAs) and more. It enables employees to track and mana...Read more about Shiji Distribution Solutions
As a hotelier, you must have listed and promoted your property on multiple booking channels, such as online travel agencies, global distribution systems, and your own hotel website. These channels help bring in more customers, but it can be challenging to manually update and adjust the availability and rate plans of your listings on multiple sites.
Hotel channel management software can help manage listings on all the booking websites and platforms you’re subscribed to. It can automatically update room rates and availability across booking channels whenever a reservation is made or canceled. Also, listing information for all booking channels can be accessed and managed using a centralized dashboard, which reduces the chances of discrepancies or information mismatch.
In this buyers guide, we explain the common features of hotel channel management software and their benefits for your business. We also discuss some considerations to help you make an informed purchase decision and the latest trends to keep in mind when selecting software.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is hotel channel management software?
Hotel channel management software, also known as a hotel channel manager, is a software tool that helps hoteliers manage their online listings across booking sites and distribution channels. The software updates the real-time availability and rates of hotel rooms across booking channels, including online travel agencies, global distribution systems, metasearch engines (Google), and direct booking channels (e.g., company website and social media pages). It lets hotel businesses take reservations as well as resell rooms at a fixed commission on these channels.
A channel manager allows hoteliers to expand their global reach by letting them list and promote their properties on multiple booking platforms. It also prevents overbooking by automatically updating the room inventory in real time and maximizes profits by automating manual tasks.
Common features of hotel channel management software
Here are some common features most buyers seek when purchasing hotel channel management software:
Room inventory management
Automatically update hotel room inventory details for multiple booking sites to provide a clear picture of availability and prevent overbooking.
Create and manage listings as well as track the reservation status of rooms on all booking sites and platforms.
Set room rates for multiple booking channels, and track the prices based on demand and season. Pricing is automatically updated per room availability.
View the reservations received from all distribution channels and booking sites on a centralized dashboard.
Channel reporting and analysis
Generate reports to identify booking trends and analyze the performance of and revenue from each booking channel.
Integration with hotel or property management software
Integrate the channel manager with your hotel or property management system to ensure smooth exchange of data related to guests, reservations, room rates, and room availability.
Access the hotel channel management system on a mobile app to manage bookings using a smartphone or any other mobile device.
What type of buyer are you?
You should select a hotel channel management tool based on the size of your property as well as your unique requirements. Consider the following buyer types before making any decision:
Small and midsize independent hotels and chains (up to 150 rooms): These buyers include small to midsize hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and vacation rental properties that have limited staff and a few rooms. They usually have a strict budget. Thus, they need an affordable solution that can help automate manual tasks and increase market reach by connecting them with leading online travel agencies.
These buyers should opt for a hotel channel management solution with a user-friendly dashboard that centralizes reservation data from all booking channels. The solution should also allow these businesses to store guest information (including payment records), connect to online travel agencies, and sync room inventories in real time based on reservations, booking modifications, and rate changes, among other factors.
Large hotels and resorts (over 150 rooms): These buyers include large, independent hotels and resorts. Typically, such businesses offer many different services for guests to buy and have a large marketing budget to create brand visibility on multiple booking channels. Their main focus is to improve sales, efficiency, and productivity as well as attract maximum number of guests, especially in untapped markets.
These buyers should choose an integrated channel manager with features such as automatic update of rate plans and room inventory, social media and metasearch advertising, marketing campaign and promotion management, advanced reporting, multilanguage support, and two-way connectivity with distribution partners globally, locally, and in niche markets to broaden their reach in their target markets. They should also look for software that can integrate with systems such as property management, reservation management, and revenue management to ensure smooth exchange of guest, booking, and payment data.
Benefits of hotel channel management software
Let’s discuss the key benefits of a hotel channel manager software solution:
Real-time inventory updates: With automated inventory management and a unified dashboard, the software provides one-click access and real-time updates to room availability and rates across online distribution channels. For instance, reservations or cancellations made on any channel reflect on your system in real time, and room availability for the rest of the channels gets updated automatically. This helps decrease the chances of over- or underbooking.
Global visibility with diversified booking options: A hotel channel manager lets you list your property on hundreds of online booking platforms, even in countries where people may not have known or heard about your hotel chain. The software helps you connect with travelers anywhere in the world, which is difficult with traditional booking methods such as walk-ins or telephonic reservations. It not only brings global visibility to your brand but also helps create trust and credibility among target audiences.
Fewer human errors and improved operational efficiency: Manually entering and updating the rates and availability of rooms is time-consuming as well as prone to human errors. A hotel channel management solution automatically makes real-time adjustments in pricing and inventory when guests make or cancel their reservations or when you close a room to sale. This saves you from spending hours on manually updating information for multiple booking sites, so you have more time to focus on other pressing issues.
Better rate parity: Hoteliers must maintain rate parity across the channels on which they list their properties. This means that it’s mandatory to publish the same rate for the same room on all booking sites. With channel management software, when you change the rate plan of a room on any one booking engine, the price gets automatically updated on all other platforms in real time, leaving no room for rate disparity issues.
Key considerations when selecting hotel channel management software
Integrations: Check if your shortlisted software integrates with your property management or reservation system. An integrated hotel channel management tool will allow you to capture reservation details automatically, so you can view room inventory and availability in real time. Also, check if the software integrates with your revenue management system, so you can have full control over setting room rates to manage the profit margin of your hotel.
Centralized content management: To attract more customers, you need to provide extra information, besides room availability and rates, to your visitors. Guests should be able to check out your property’s photos, description, room types, policies, terms and conditions, amenities, nearby attractions, offers, and hours of operation. Choose a software tool that lets you add, edit, and update all of this content, in one go, across booking channels.
Security compliance: Your software will deal with sensitive data, including your rate plans and guests’ personal and payment information. Ask the vendor which security measures are in place to protect your data from unauthorized access or hacks. Also, ensure the software you select complies with data security standards relevant to the hotel industry. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Market trends to understand
Here’s a trend in the hotel channel management software market that you should be aware of:
Blockchain is reforming hotel distribution. A large number of hotels are experimenting with blockchain as a distribution channel to protect their business data. By storing decentralized records of a hotel’s availability, rates, and inventory, blockchain can eliminate third-party distribution channels, including online travel agencies. It can allow direct transactions between travel companies and customers, with no commission for middlemen. The technology, however, is still new, and its adoption as a distribution channel is in the nascent stages.
Note: The application selected in this guide is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been taken from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.