Today’s traveler has access to hundreds of hotels at their fingertips. Since the invention of online bookings, promoting your hotel has become even more important. By ensuring that your hotel is being promoted, you can capture the eyes of more potential customers.
The invention of online booking made the already competitive hotel industry even more so. Now that customers can compare hotels anywhere, and at any time, it’s vital to a hotel’s success that they effectively promote their hotel. It takes some expertise for hoteliers to know what channels they should be advertising on and how.
If you want to understand how to promote your hotel online, you’re in the right place. We’ll explain the channel managers’ crucial role in effectively promoting your hotel online along with other tips to ensure your hotel gets the most attention possible.
Why Your Hotel Needs a Channel Manager
A channel manager is hotel software that can help your hotel save time and increase occupancy. By using a hotel channel manager system, hoteliers can post their open rooms across various channels, increasing their visibility on the web.
Channel managers can connect your internal availability to be posted across several channels, including:
- OTAs (or online travel agencies). OTAs are third-party booking websites such as Expedia.com or Booking.com.
- Vacation rental platforms. Vacation rental platforms, such as Airbnb, are like OTAs in how they function. Vacation rental platforms usually show hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts, privately owned rentals, and more.
- Traditional travel agencies. Yes, traditional travel agencies still exist! With a channel manager, your hotel can show traditional travel agencies what’s available via the GDS system.
- Direct bookings. Channel managers will update available rooms on your hotel website so direct bookings are seamless.
In short, channel management software does the heavy lifting of ensuring all listings, across all websites, are always up to date. For hoteliers, this means better visibility and more seamless bookings. For customers, this means a better and more convenient booking experience.
Without an online channel manager, your hotel will be at risk of overbooking. The other major upside of hotel channel management software is it allows the hotel to be advertised across more websites. The more websites your hotel appears on, the better the chance of increasing occupancy is.
There are several channel management software packages available today. Hoteliers must choose one that meets their unique needs.
Choosing the Right Channel Manager
Which channel manager you should choose depends heavily on the needs and specifications of your hotel. When choosing a hotel channel management system, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The size of your hotel. Big hotels will need a more robust CM system than a small bed and breakfast. The more rooms you must manage, the smarter your channel manager should be. You should ensure the CM you choose can handle the number of rooms you oversee.
- Your hotel’s unique needs. Some hotels may want a channel manager with 24/7 support. Others may just need the core features of the channel management system and choose to troubleshoot items themselves. Consider your expectations for your CM and make sure the software you choose meets them.
- Budget. Some CM software offers more options than others. The more options a channel manager offers, the higher the price will be, typically. A good channel manager is a worthwhile investment, but it’s up to the hotelier to determine their budget.
- Other hotel management applications. If your hotel already uses PMS software or a web-based booking engine, it’s important to consider this when looking for a CM. Some channel managers will not integrate with your current PMS or WBE. It’s important to know which software your hotel already uses and find a CM that can integrate seamlessly.
Channel management systems are well worth the investment. A proper hotel channel manager can optimize a hotel’s operations and increase occupancy quickly. That’s why it’s so important to research which channel management software is right for your hotel.
Being Present on the Right Channels
Implementing an integrated channel manager is an important first step. A channel manager, using a smart GDS (global distribution system) distributes your listings worldwide across several booking channels.
Showing up on more booking channels is only the first step, however. You need to ensure your hotel’s direct website is well-developed and presents your hotel attractively. Also, it’s necessary to ensure your hotel shows up in search engines on the web without the help of third-party booking websites.
Ensuring your marketing strategy is strong is especially important for smaller hotels. Without a big name, brand recognition is poor, and travelers may choose a well-known hotel brand over a small, privately owned one.
The Importance of Online Presence for B&Bs and Small Hotels
Bed and breakfasts and other small hotels face unique challenges. The biggest of these is that they are competing with large, corporately owned hotel brand names. However, bed and breakfasts often offer a better guest experience.
Smaller hotels may struggle to get guests in the door much more than large well-known hotels. Bed and breakfasts can mitigate this concern by ensuring their marketing efforts are effective.
Small hotels will need to pay special attention to their direct websites. They will want to highlight the features that set them apart, whether it’s freshly cooked breakfast each morning, an optimal location, or a fun building theme – it’s important for small hotels to take time to make their hotel look as attractive as possible on the website.
Bed and breakfasts should also take advantage of search engine optimization. If your hotel offers a special location or amenities, you want to be sure you capture the audience searching for those features. You can use SEO techniques to ensure your hotel is popping up when someone searches for a hotel with the same features.
It’s also very important for bed and breakfasts to make use of a channel manager. If bed and breakfasts don’t post listings across multiple channels, they will struggle to keep up with larger hotels. By implementing a channel manager at a bed and breakfast, small hotels can keep up with large hotels.
The Importance of Offline Marketing
For all hotels, but especially small ones, word-of-mouth marketing is impactful. Your guests are your best advertising tool. By ensuring an exceptional guest experience, guests will recommend your hotel to others.
Not to mention, online review platforms such as Yelp are popular with travelers these days. Consistent, negative online reviews can deter people from booking. Conversely, consistent positive reviews can influence guests to book. So, be sure to provide an exceptional experience. Never be afraid to ask guests to leave a positive review!
Channel management software is a crucial piece in supporting your hotel’s success. An online channel manager can increase the visibility of your hotel, resulting in more bookings. Plus, channel managers take the logistical headache out of booking by ensuring your listings are always up to date.
Hotels of all sizes benefit from the use of a channel manager. If you’re looking to attract more guests, get more bookings, and optimize your operations – it’s time to implement a hotel channel manager!