Running a vacation rental is not easy and it feels like there is always something left to look into. However, you could turn it into a steady stream of passive income with the right tools and apps. One such tool is the channel manager. This article looks at what a channel manager can do and the many reasons why you should use a channel manager in your holiday rental business.
A channel manager is used to link the property management system (PMS) you use to manage your inventory of rooms to multiple online travel agencies (OTAs), or online booking channels such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, Expedia, etc.
Providers such as Hostaway can typically let you update your nightly rates, reservations, and availability across multiple platforms ranging from 5 platforms to 50 platforms at once. Using a channel manager is the most cost-effective way to put your property in front of the biggest audience!
While it is possible to connect to multiple platforms and manage inventory on your own, it takes a lot of time to keep upgrading availability, and room rates across multiple websites individually. Trying to do it one at a time not only takes a lot of effort a small time difference in updating can cause costly mistakes such as overbookings to occur.
Manually managing and updating sites requires you to be thorough and meticulous as any mistakes made can cost your short-term rental business financially as well as its reputation. There is a high chance of error when the bookings, nightly rates, and other information are not updated in real-time. Some of the most common errors that can occur when updates are not updated automatically include errors in reservation details, overbookings, double bookings, and missing out on sales due to errors. Having automatic updates would mean all changes are made across all platforms and websites as and when it occurs without much intervention by you. It reduces the risk of costly and embarrassing errors and gives guests a better experience overall and having those five-star ratings coming in.
Having a channel manager reduces the risk of you missing out on vital information due to manual errors. When you manually manage your inventory you would have to transfer information individually from an email or extranet to a spreadsheet. This leaves room for error in terms of names, dates, occupancy, etc. Errors like this could not only mess up your inventory and impact bookings plus room availabilities it could easily confuse you and your guest resulting in poor customer service.
Manually updating inventory would require you to log into the extranets of multiple websites several times a day with a channel manager you can edit information on multiple sites via a convenient all-in-one solution thereby saving time. Therefore, instead of worrying if all sites are updated and if all information is correct you can now focus on other aspects of your holiday rental business.
Since an automated channel management system means all data is captured in all your platforms automatically you can now list your property in more platforms and OTAs as more visibility could mean more guests have access to your properties which is critical in low seasons.
Using a channel manager takes away the worry of overbookings and other mistakes that might lead to customer complaints that you have to handle. With fewer issues to worry about you can now focus on pushing your business's website so that customers can book directly. A few years ago, former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said “OTAs are a cheap source for new customers. But return guests are the most profitable if they come back to you”.
If you have more than one property and list on more than one OTA then you absolutely need a channel manager to save you the trouble of manually updating changes. It automates processes and frees up much-needed time to focus on key aspects of your business like which audience to target your properties to and how to expand it further.
If you are looking to incorporate a channel manager into your property rental business Hostaway has you covered. Request a free demo and find out how we help property managers all over the world expand their business.