Are you still on the fence about getting hotel channel management software for your property or properties? If you have been doing all of the work manually and in pieces, consider how much time and energy is being wasted. Hotel channel management software can make a major difference in your productivity and profitability.
Most feel that 2023 is going to be the breakout year for hotels. Travelers are starting to become more comfortable with traveling again, and many are heading overseas. Several reports suggest that hotel occupancy levels are going to be higher this year than they were in 2019. Things are starting to get back to normal.
Of course, more bookings mean more work for you and your team. You want to take advantage of the increase in travel. However, you need to increase your visibility and revenue opportunities. You can do this with quality channel management software.
Let’s look at the major benefits of choosing excellent hotel channel management software.
Benefit #1: Automatic Updates of Room Inventory
Properties that manually manage room distribution to OTAs (online travel agencies), as well as their direct booking site, have a lot of work to do. They have to carefully update availability calendars and track bookings several times over the course of a day. This increases the risk of errors and is something you can avoid when you use the right hotel channel management software.
The software will do more than just distribute the rooms to the OTAs. It will also provide automatic, real-time updates. This means you will always know how many rooms are available, and you can see it at a glance since it will update right in the system.
Benefit #2: No Need to Worry About Overbooking
Overbooking is a major problem for hotels that are still handling inventory and distribution to channel partners manually. Far too often, mistakes are made, and the same room gets booked across multiple channels. It’s only when the guests arrive that the problem becomes known. Naturally, this leads to unhappy customers who are more likely to leave negative reviews.
Channel management software will reduce the risk of overbooking. Often, it will remove this issue entirely.
Benefit #3: No Reservation Detail Errors
Manually managing the inventory for a hotel will often require transferring reservation information from one location to another, such as a spreadsheet. Sometimes, the reservation information is not transferred from the booking source correctly. As you can imagine, the risk of errors here is quite high.
There could be errors with the dates, names, type of room, check-in time, and more. Although they might seem like small errors that are easy to correct, they can become a huge problem causing confusion to the guests and the front desk staff. You can eliminate these issues with the use of channel management software.
Benefit #4: Save Time with Better Efficiency
One of the biggest benefits of using a channel manager is that it will make work a lot easier for your employees. How long do your employees currently spend managing inventory across the channels you use? If you have five channels and spend an average of 20 minutes a day on each channel, that’s 100 minutes a day (700 a week) that’s essentially wasted. That translates to 11.6 hours.
Instead of spending all of that time gathering data and updating rooms and OTAs, changing rates, etc., use the hotel channel management software to update it. You can log into a single device and handle all of the work in far less time than it took when trying to do everything manually. It doesn’t take away all of the work, of course, but it will make things far easier to manage.
Benefit #5: Grow Your Occupancy by Working with More Channels
Since you don’t have to do everything manually anymore, you can add your hotel to more of the online travel agencies, such as Expedia and Booking.com, as well as some of the smaller ones you might not have been using because you were limited by time. By using more of the OTAs, you are essentially putting your hotel in front of more people, increasing brand awareness.
As you reach more people on the OTAs, you might also find that you start getting more direct bookings. This is because people are becoming more familiar with your brand and properties. They may go directly to your site to book rather than going through the OTA.
Benefit #6: More Profits
Channel management software tends to integrate nicely with other types of hotel management software. This means you can end up using everything through a single interface, so it’s nice and easy to use.
You can use the channel manager to create special packages and plans, too, which could help with marketing and getting more sales. Offer discounted rates, or meals included with the room, set a minimum duration, and create packages to sell more rooms and improve your profits.
Before you can start enjoying all of these benefits, you need to be sure you have a quality piece of software that can do everything you need. Below, you’ll learn more about what is needed and what you should be looking for when purchasing this tool for your hotel.
Choose the Right Channel Management Software
One of the first things to check is whether it is based in the cloud or not. You want to have a cloud-based hotel channel management system that has a simple-to-use interface. You should also check to see what OTAs it supports. Check the list of OTAs supported by the software and make sure it matches the ones you are using for your hotel.
The hotel channel management software you choose needs to offer pooled inventory. This simply means that it should help you to evenly distribute your available room inventory across multiple OTAs. You need software that syncs and automatically updates, as well, since you never want there to be a question as to how many rooms you have available. This ensures you get all of those benefits mentioned earlier.
Make sure the system can help you with reports and analytics, and that it can integrate with the current PMS you are using. Be sure to check the pricing model, as well. With cloud-based software, this will generally be a monthly or annual subscription. The amount paid will depend on the number of rooms you have and the number of OTAs you are using.
Of course, you will want to vet the software and the seller before choosing them. Look at testimonials from others who have used it and see if they have a free trial. This will allow you to get your hands on the software. You can see it in action and determine whether it’s the right choice for your hotel.
Travel is going to be growing in 2023 and beyond. You will want to make sure your hotel is ready to meet the demand and to reach all of those travelers. Finding the right hotel channel management software and learning how to implement it correctly isn’t just a good idea anymore—it’s essential. The sooner you invest in the software, the better prepared you will be for a busy and profitable year.