What is a channel manager?



A channel manager is an indispensable tool for vacation rental managers who manage their properties on more than one booking platform.

It is a software tool that allows you to manage your vacation rentals listed on various online travel agencies (OTAs) from one place. It automatically updates rates, availability and reservations across multiple channels in real time.

In order to reach a wider audience, more and more vacation rental managers are choosing to list their properties on several online booking channels because this strategy has many advantages (better occupancy rates, increased revenues, etc.)

How does it work?

Property managers are the main users of channel managers. With the help of these software tools, property managers manage their bookings across multiple channels to avoid overbooking. In short, a channel manager links a booking engine or property management system to various online booking channels. This allows you to manage your listings across a variety of booking channels from a single location.

For example, when a customer books an accommodation on Expedia, the availability automatically changes on the other channels where the accommodation is listed. It works the same way if you update rates or make other adjustments. So there's no need to switch between accounts.

Real-time connectivity and the ability to synchronize information instantly are essential characteristics of channel managers. Otherwise, the risk of overbooking or double booking will always be high and can affect sales and profits. This model is essential for managing multiple properties efficiently.

This means that your rental offer is shared across all channels, rather than being distributed manually channel by channel. Such a model also ensures that availability and other listing data can be published on all channels at the same time.

A channel manager allows you to automate and facilitate the property management process. They integrate with booking sites via an API or iCal connection and instantly synchronize data from different channels. Each channel manager offers a specific set of booking channels to which it connects.

What are their advantages?

As mentioned earlier, channel managers help streamline the process of managing bookings across channels and maintaining consistent schedules.

But what are the advantages of using a channel manager for vacation rental owners?

Avoid double bookings

To avoid double-booking scenarios, you should update your calendars regularly. However, you can get overwhelmed quickly if your properties are listed on multiple channels. It's tedious work and not immune to human error. Moreover, if several holidaymakers book the same accommodation at the same time on two different channels, you will not be able to avoid this double booking.

The solution is a channel manager that synchronizes your calendars so that a customer can only book your property when it is actually available. By using a channel manager, you will no longer have to worry about double bookings and their negative effect on the customer experience and your business.

Update information on multiple channels

With bi-directional synchronization, a channel manager can help you update your listings on multiple connected OTAs in no time. Instead of manually adjusting each ad on each booking channel, you can do it from within the software. This way, all of your listings will have only up-to-date information, while saving you valuable time.

Save time in managing your ads

As mentioned above, you can save yourself the hassle of manually updating your listings. While updating rates or availability is not rocket science, routine operations can take up all your time. A channel manager will help you save time, so you can focus on more value-added activities.

Increase your ROI

Keeping your calendar up to date is critical to your revenue management strategy and to facilitate the booking process. Consistent availability information prevents double bookings and cancellations. This avoids lost profits and has a positive impact on your revenue.

By tracking your booking channels from one place, you'll be able to see which ones are bringing you the most value. You can then analyze the data and adjust rates to maximize your ROI.

Advertise on multiple platforms

With the help of a channel manager, you can establish your presence on various vacation rental sites and add new channels to your panel. If a channel manager connects to OTAs that you don't have listings on yet, you can consider setting them up. More channels means more reach and more potential customers who can book your accommodations.

What is the difference with a PMS?

A channel manager is a type of software whose main function is to manage the availability and pricing of your inventory on multiple platforms. It receives and sends information to/from the different channels on which you have ads.

A property management system (PMS) is a robust platform that goes beyond synchronizing schedules and updating rates. A property management system can help you accomplish more complex tasks, such as:

  • Organize your customers' messages from the various OTAs
  • Automate maintenance schedules
  • Process payments and generate invoices

By using a PMS, you can increase the efficiency of your business without increasing your payroll. This means you can save on labor while optimizing your business for maximum productivity.

To learn more, we have written a file on the PMS of seasonal rental as well as the 2022 edition of our PMS guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.



Marketing & Communication Manager for Swikly. I regularly write educational and informative articles and documents for rental professionals.
While all PMSs are equally different, it is also complex to navigate between the marketing arguments and the reality offered by these services.
The vacation rental industry is finally benefiting from much needed technological innovation.
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