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What is hotel channel management software?
Hotel channel management is a platform for hoteliers to optimize the availability of room occupancy and rates. The solution helps them maintain their availability and room rates across distribution channels and third-party booking websites. It also lets them connect with agents, who get access to real-time room availability for reselling the rooms at a fixed commission.
The benefits of hotel channel management software
Using a hotel channel management solution has various benefits, some of which are listed here:
- Avoid overbookings with one integrated system: The software lets you manage multiple channels from one dashboard. It unifies different sources to efficiently manage your property. Integrating this software with your property management system and booking engine ensures accuracy in data at all times.
- Get real-time updates: You can sync with multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) and offer real-time updates on bookings done via these channels. Update your rates, availability, and track all reservations as well as payments from the unified dashboard.
- Make better decisions: The software generates reports about reservations such as booking and cancellation trends. These reports can help you make decisions about selecting channels, setting prices, and analyzing the booking trends.
Typical features of hotel channel management software
- Multichannel sync: View and manage all the leads received from various distribution channels on a single, unified dashboard.
- Reservations management: Create and manage bookings as well as keep a track of the booking statuses.
- Inventory management: Track and manage the availability of your hotel rooms to avoid overbooking and maximize your occupancy rates.
- Rate management: Set the prices across multiple channels to optimize your revenue potential. Regularly track these prices as per the demand and season.
- Reporting/analytics: Generate reports to view and analyze channel performance as well as identify booking trends.
Considerations when purchasing hotel channel management software
- Integration with your property management system: Find out whether the hotel channel management software integrates with your property management software. An integrated channel management program allows you to view your availability in real time. It will also allow visitors to see the vacant rooms, beds, or properties.
- Synchronization with OTAs: Check the type of synchronization with OTAs. You can synchronize data using a direct XML feed or scraping. Direct XML provides constant updates and availability to your OTAs, who set timed criteria to ensure rate parity. On the other hand, scraping is automated software that pulls availability and automatically updates the channel once a day. However, this could result in your rates and availability being outdated and new reservations not getting updated on time.
- Additional costs and fees: Ask the vendor whether they charge additional fees for each booking, or a percentage of the channel revenue. The software could charge you per channel, per reservation, or even a flat monthly fee. Choose an option that suits you.
- Centralized content management: Inform visitors about your hotel, including the policies, terms and conditions, and facilities. Your brochures could include information such as nearby attractions and hours of operation. The software should let you edit this content across all channels at once, saving time and providing accurate data.
Relevant hotel channel management software trends
- Blockchain to replace OTAs: Many hotels are experimenting with blockchain as a distribution channel, which could potentially eliminate the need for OTAs. The technology will keep a centralized record of the vacancies and rates. This means hotels won’t have to pay huge commissions to third-party distribution channels. However, blockchain is still new and its adoption as a distribution channel is in the nascent stages.
- AI will assist hoteliers in personalizing customer experience: Artificial intelligence (AI) parses information sources to offer nuanced insights on occupancy patterns, so that you can offer dynamic pricing . Airbnb uses AI for host pricing recommendations and offers suggestions as per a user’s previous visits. AI could also improve your marketing campaigns for important events or holidays, so that you can maximize your occupancy.