6 best Channel Managers for hotels in 2019

6 best Channel Managers for hotels in 2019

What is a Channel Manager?

The channel manager is software for managing sales effectively across many online distribution channels. This task is particularly challenging for bigger hotels and multi-properties with hundreds of rooms.

channel manager

Why you need a channel manager?

The tool eliminates the need to change inventory availability and rates manually on all portals - updates are made instantly and automatically everywhere. If data are not synchronized, it can lead to errors and overbooking - more rooms are sold than available at a certain period of time. While overbooking might be a deliberate strategy for some revenue managers, its reputational risks are quite high, too. In the best-case scenario, the hotel can upgrade the room category, and in the worst - downgrade or deny service.

Also, an advanced Channel Manager allows getting statistical data and performance reports on sales, which helps optimize revenue by improving the sales strategy accordingly.

How does it work?

As the information in the PMS changes, the software updates the number of available rooms and prices on all synchronized online sales channels, and vice versa, reservations data are instantly reflected in the system thanks to bidirectional XML connections. If a room is booked through one website, it will no longer be available elsewhere.

How channel manager works in Hotel

Sales can be made via OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), the wholesalers. Placing offers on multiple channels allows optimizing online presence and achieving the Billboard Effect: many visitors see your property somewhere else but eventually book through the hotels own website not to pay the commission. Therefore, an integrated booking engine or booking button is an essential feature to get more direct reservations, and providers often include it in the package.

With so many options on the market, it is not always easy to find the right one that would be suitable for your property. We hope that our guide will help you to make an excellent choice.

Criteria to consider when choosing a Channel Manager

Functionality

Functionality

A small hotel needs a basic but reliable tool, while an international chain will benefit from the most sophisticated functions like compatibility with Google analytics, competition and reputation checker, etc., which simplify revenue management.

System integration

System integration

The Channel Manager should be able to easily integrate with existing hotel systems such as PMS, RMS, and CRS.

Simple and effective reporting

Simple and effective reporting

The software must give the hotelier a clear overview of the connected channels' performance over a certain period of time, compared to previous periods, etc.

Connectivity with payment systems

Connectivity with payment systems

It is important that your software is connected to major payment gateways to manage credit/debit card data.

Post-sales support

Post-sales support

It's a perfect situation if maintenance and support is free and available 24/7.

Availability in the local language

Availability in the local language

Desirable if your personnel does not speak English, which is rare.

Price

Price

It varies depending on the level of complexity and personalization, length of the commitment period, property size, etc. Small properties are often offered a Channel Manager/ Front Desk package at a flat monthly rate.

Functionality

Functionality

A small hotel needs a basic but reliable tool, while an international chain will benefit from the most sophisticated functions like compatibility with Google analytics, competition and reputation checker, etc., which simplify revenue management.

System integration

System integration

The Channel Manager should be able to easily integrate with existing hotel systems such as PMS, RMS, and CRS.

Simple and effective reporting

Simple and effective reporting

The software must give the hotelier a clear overview of the connected channels' performance over a certain period of time, compared to previous periods, etc.

Connectivity with payment systems

Connectivity with payment systems

It is important that your software is connected to major payment gateways to manage credit/debit card data.

Post-sales support

Post-sales support

It's a perfect situation if maintenance and support is free and available 24/7.

Availability in the local language

Availability in the local language

Desirable if your personnel does not speak English, which is rare.

Price

Price

It varies depending on the level of complexity and personalization, length of the commitment period, property size, etc. Small properties are often offered a Channel Manager/ Front Desk package at a flat monthly rate.

Channel Managers to watch in 2019

channel manager, HotelFriend

HotelFriend

This smart tool corresponds to the highest industry standards. It displays information from all the connected channels on a single dashboard for maximum clarity. For each platform, you can easily set rate rules, e.g., minimum stay limitations. HotelFriend has an outstanding support team, which can quickly fix any issues, as well as affordable pricing. 

Website: hotelfriend.com

channel manager

Siteminder

Siteminder is among the world's most popular and powerful channel managers. It provides detailed performance metrics to build a successful sales strategy, as well as guest reservations/check-in summary reports. Even if the property is large and connected to hundreds of channels, it has the capacity to synchronize data instantly without any glitches.

Website: siteminder.com

channel manager, HotelFriend

Octorate

The platform not only enables effective distribution across numerous channels - it includes invoice management functionality. Like the other market leaders, it is cloud-based, so it can be accessed from any location through a mobile device. The Octorate product boasts such features as integration with Google Analytics, Reputation Checker, Rate Shopper, etc. The price depends on the number of connected channels.

Website: octorate.com

channel manager

STAAH

The provider offers two options Instant Channel Manager, and CM Max, which is group-friendly. In addition to being easy to use and intuitive, this product has advanced features like channel performance analytics, top 5 competitors tracker (RateSTalk) tool, bulk updates, etc. Another competitive advantage is STAAH Mobile App, which allows 27/7 accessibility.

Website: staah.com

channel manager, HotelFriend

Cubilis

This channel manager not only allows instant data exchange with multiple platforms but also ensures the highest quality of connection. With this tool, you can build a strong online presence and boost sales. Cubilis has a flexible pricing model based on the number of rooms at the property, so a hotelier can scale up if the business expands and new locations are added.

Website: cubilis.com

channel manager

My Allocator

Named Cloudbeds Channel Manager after rebranding, this effective cloud-based tool eliminates booking errors. The bi-directional XML connection ensures instant updates of sales information. It integrates seamlessly with other Cloudbeds solutions and PMS from other providers, as well as one of the leading Metasearch platforms - ADS Hotels. The pricing depends on the number of rooms.

Website: myallocator.com

Comparison table - finding the best channel manager of 2019

Features HotelFriend Siteminder Octorate STAAH Cubilis My Allocator
Property type any large  any any medium/
large
any
Automated rate rules, rate parity, availability + + + + + +
Number of channels 200+ 400+ 120+ 200+ Almost 300 140+
Reports/statistics  + + + + + +
Integrations Many popular PMSs and any other upon request 300+ CRS/PMS integrations Full integration with the main PMS's 80+ PMS's Many popular PMS's, including Protel, Mews,
Bookingplanner
Almost 80PMSs
Pricing 75€/month (PMS + Channel manager) from 59 € /month, upon request for 1000+ room properties 13 - 50 €/month, discount if paid annually Upon request from 40€/month (includes Booking Engine) from 25$/month
Set-up €99 one-time payment not free free no info 495€  no info
Free trial period 14 days 14 days 14 days - - 30 days

Nowadays, all channel managers work nearly the same way, nothing special: the list of reservations, quotas and rates. The technology is not new at all and does not surprise anybody. And HotelFriend platform also has a channel manager which is able to cope with standard tasks easily.

But what is the advantage? Where is the real benefit of using HotelFriend software? And the thing is that only with us:

- you get a multi functional cloud-based solution with an integrated channel manager for not much money;

- the guest is always connected - he will receive an email and be able not only to see the reservation, but influence on it directly from the smartphone: make a fast check-in or extend his stay;

- all of it works as a single ecosystem with no APIs inside, where the guest is always a priority.

This way you get more than just a channel manager. You get an innovative platform and a loyal, satisfied customer who will definitely return to you.

Whatever channel manager you will choose, it will simplify your life greatly

● One login for all OTAs and other channels, which saves lots of time.
● Information on inventories and rates is always up-to-date with one click across all platforms, overbooking is eliminated.
● Guests personal data are automatically added to PMS.
● The strategy of dynamic pricing is easy to implement and results are easy to track with efficiency reports and statistics. What works best for your property and at what period of time: deals, early-bird rates, last-minute offers or other incentives? A good channel manager gives you enough clarity.
● Much lower chance of human error thanks to automation.

channel manager

If you are using one of the above mentioned channel managers and would like to make sure it will integrate smoothly with HotelFriend property management system, contact our team for a free consultation. Your success is our top priority.

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