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Want to get more from your channel manager?

Achieving full occupancy at the best possible rate is a key focus for most resort operators, which is why a channel manager is a critical tool in your PMS arsenal. A channel manager is a centralised system designed to manage a range of online travel agents (OTAs) simultaneously. The majority of property management systems (PMS) offer integrations with third-party channel managers which means you can interface with an external source and extend your offering to a broader audience. However, these outsourced channel managers may have limitations that impact your business and revenue-generating potential. An inbuilt channel manager (one that is native to your PMS) is a much more reliable, robust and proven solution that also eliminates the need for a third-party interface.

Let’s compare the two by asking three important questions:

1. How can I increase my reach but also save money?

The key benefit of any channel manager is the ability to connect your inventory to major OTAs, such as, Expedia and Agoda, expanding your reach and driving more bookings. One of the main downsides to using a third-party is the costly integration fees on top of paying commission. 

With a channel manager that is native to your PMS system, you can dramatically lower your distribution and online booking acquisition costs while still increasing your occupancy. This is a much more cost-effective option, as there are no integration fees to pay. You can also significantly reduce the chance of overselling, as updates occur in real-time, with bookings arriving directly into your PMS within seconds. 

2. Is there a more efficient way to use my channel manager?

Third-party channel managers will often operate on an external system, which adds an extra layer of complexity when trying to manage OTA bookings. This is not the case when your channel manager is part of your PMS software; instead, you can efficiently distribute your inventory and regulate your rates from one, central location. You can also save time, as each booking made via an OTA automatically creates a reservation in your PMS. 

Another time-consuming process with a third-party channel management system is having to contact an agent or support person before you can connect to an OTA. With an inbuilt channel manager, you can self-connect to a new online travel agent, saving you time and putting you in control. 

Multi-properties can also greatly benefit from a native channel manager solution. Brett Salter, National Accommodation Manager at ALH Group, said a significant advantage of an inbuilt channel manager is that it seamlessly connects to the world's major booking channels and cuts the cost and inefficiency of using a third-party system.

“An inbuilt channel manager simplifies distribution, doesn’t cost extra and means we don’t have managers wasting time logging in and out of a separate system to manage rates and inventory - it can all be done in the one place.”

3. Could my channel manager be more intuitive to react to changes in demand?

The easy answer is yes. With a native channel manager, you can streamline your pricing strategy by combining your channel manager with dynamic revenue management tools. This enables you to manage your rates, availability and restrictions at a rate plan level, rather than an inventory or category level which limits the capability to maximise revenue. 

With a combined rate and channel manager, rates are automatically calculated based on your predetermined occupancy levels, improving yield when you’re busy and boosting occupancy during low seasons. Rate changes are then instantly updated in your affiliated OTA listings so you can quickly react to supply and demand. 

If you’ve ever asked one or more of the above questions, then now is a good time to consider implementing a PMS system with an internal channel manager. With RMS Cloud, you benefit from a flexible and powerful property management system as well as native channel management capabilities that synchronises seamlessly with your reservation data to provide a complete online distribution system.

Find out more about how the RMS Channel Manager can help your resort maximise occupancy, reduce your costs and improve your day-to-day efficiencies.

First appeared in Resort News, February 2021 issue.

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