Channel Managers are a great way to distribute room rates and availability throughout all the different channels: OTAs, direct site, etc. This is a dream product but you have to consider some key factors.
This isn’t a small matter. Your channel manager should have a comprehensive list of channels to choose from. Whether you use all these channels or not, as your hotel grows so might your distribution. To not have this, might mean you will have to make changes in the future.
Your channel manager should also have a comprehensive list of property management systems included. Do not rush into buying a channel manager until you have made sure it is compatible with your PMS. This should allow you to have full functionality.
Effective Room Management
One the key functions that need to occur is full room management. This is not only room availability but room rates as well. You want to be able to go into your PMS system and see which rooms are booked at which rate from which source. The full package will add much-needed convenience.
If your channel manager does not let you see earnings from reservations, from which channel and average lead times, your missing key trends that could help you better manage your hotel. This is a tool to help you and without the comprehensive reporting capabilities, you are falling short of a dream system.
Ease of Use
This is almost a gimme, but the ease of use makes a huge difference. There are some channel managers that are difficult to use. Might be the Windows 95 look or the 20 menu options poorly grouped. Whatever it is you should be asking for a demo of your channel manager before making the purchase. You don’t want to have to dedicate one week of training for something that should be a dream system.
This is last main factor you should consider before purchasing a channel manager. Great customer support access. A good system should be problem-free but in the one case you need to access support, you’ll want to make sure that line is open. Late nights should not be spent on the phone or back-and-forth emails.
Working with a good channel manager can make your life so much easier. The headaches of missing to update prices are grueling. If you have any other suggestions of things to look for in a channel manager, let us know in the Comments section below.