April 25, 2024

Choosing a Hotel Channel Manager: A Buyer’s Guide

April 25, 2024
Company updates

Choosing a Hotel Channel Manager: A Buyer’s Guide

Raul Tomescu
CEO & Founder

Choose Well!

Have you ever wondered what a hotel channel manager is for? Well, the answer is simple. Using a hotel channel manager allows you to manage and control all your connected distribution channels and online travel agencies (OTAs) from one place.

In the following article, I will show you how to choose the most suitable channel manager for you, as there are many options available today, but the truth is that it is very difficult to choose the one that is almost entirely suitable. You can find out about their main features and characteristics, as well as functions that can really make your everyday life as an accommodation provider easier. Let's get started!

What Is a Channel Manager?

Very simply explained, a channel manager is a software that allows you to easily manage your accommodation availability, bookings and prices all in one place. It can be the best choice if you are present on several online distribution platforms at the same time. These platforms may include, among others, the following:

✅ Booking.com , Hotels.com, Vrbo or Expedia (OTAs)

✅ Global distribution systems (GDS)

✅ Google Hotel Ads (metasearch engines)

✅ Or even your own accommodation's online interface, website.

Before we go into the exact benefits of using a channel manager, it is important to ask yourself the question: do I need a channel manager? If your answer is no, read on and you may change your mind by the end of this article.

Who Is Recommended to Use the Hotel Channel Manager?

It is important to clarify who exactly is recommended to use a channel manager. A hotel channel manager is recommended for accommodation providers who want to maximise bookings and revenue at the same time by having multiple online presences.

Choosing the Right OTAs and Metasearch Engines

Of course, you should be aware that more online presence does not always lead to better results, so before you start, make sure you are positioning yourself well against your competitors and determine exactly which OTAs you want to assign (see below).

Increasing Results for Your Accommodation Website

In addition to all this, it is recommended for accommodation providers who want to be more efficient in their day-to-day tasks and manage bookings from one place. Such a channel management software allows you to improve your own channel or even your accommodation website.

Property Management System (PMS)

In addition, a hotel channel manager is recommended for individuals and property owners who want to improve or automate their day-to-day operations and reservations management. The PMS includes a number of functions and modules that help accommodation owners to efficiently manage guest reception, room reservations, finances and business processes. When selecting a hotel channel manager, it makes sense to choose a PMS and reservation management platform that has this included.

7 Benefits of Using the Hotel Channel Manager

Below I have listed the 7 benefits of using a channel manager.

Greater Visibility Leads to More Bookings

With channel manager, hotels can more easily have a presence across multiple online sales channels, giving you more visibility, leading to more bookings.

Less Errors, More Results

In addition to all this, channel manager makes your day-to-day work easier, because thanks to its ease of use, you'll face far fewer daily problems than if you were to manage these platforms separately.

Appropriate Statistics and Analysis

With channel manager, you can also generate statistics and analyses that help you to get to know your target group much better. This will make it easier for you to develop a sales strategy, which can also lead to much better results.


Optimized Sales Processes

Nothing is free these days, and neither is a channel manager. It does cost money to use, but if you think long term, it will pay off over time by helping you maximise revenue and optimise your sales processes.

Integrating Different Software

If you want to manage multiple OTAs at the same time, you can easily do this by using channel manager. You can centralise and synchronise your data, making your work more efficient and your data more accurate.

Keeping Up with Market Changes

The hospitality industry is a fast-changing sector, so it's important to keep up with your competitors. Using a channel manager will allow you to gain a competitive advantage in the market through more efficient and accurate sales processes. This can help you to get more bookings and increase guest satisfaction.

Simple Communication, Better User Experience

Let's be honest! Communicating with every guest at once can be a truly exhausting task. By making it easier to communicate with your guests, you can send personalised responses and messages that offer a much better user experience, not just for your guests, but for you too.

OTAs and Hotel Search Engines for Newbie Accommodation Providers

If you're new to the hospitality industry, you might be wondering what a metasearch engine is. Very simply defined, it's a platform that helps you as a hotelier to get specific results.

In this case, we could be talking about hotel search engines or hotel search interfaces that collect data and relevant information for guests. These allow travellers to search for accommodation according to certain preferences (location, property name and current booking price).

What Is the Difference Between OTAs and Hotel Search Engines?

While these interfaces have similar roles, it is important to know that they are based on different factors. OTAs may be more expensive, but they can help you reach markets that are difficult to access. Furthermore, each platform displays accommodation with detailed information, photos and current prices.

In contrast, hotel search engines collect online prices and present them to guests as a list. It offers a faster and easier process for guests, and they can also compare prices more easily.

Best OTAs and Metasearch Engines in 2024

Now that you know the difference between these interfaces, let's see which ones prove to be the best in the 2024 market.

Booking.com: Extensive Search Filters

One of the largest and most popular OTAs worldwide, Booking.com offers a vast selection of accommodations, including hotels, apartments, resorts, and hostels. The platform provides users with extensive search filters, user reviews, and competitive pricing options. It operates in multiple languages and currencies, catering to a diverse international audience.

Booking.com interface.

Expedia: A Comprehensive Range of Travel Services

Expedia Group is a conglomerate of several online travel brands, including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, and others. Expedia offers a comprehensive range of travel services, including accommodations, flights, car rentals, activities, and vacation packages. Its loyalty program, Expedia Rewards, incentivizes repeat bookings and customer retention.

Expedia interface.

Tripadvisor: Extensive Database of User-Generated Reviews

While primarily known as a travel review website, Tripadvisor also operates as a metasearch engine and OTA. It allows users to compare prices and book hotels, flights, restaurants, and tours. Tripadvisor's extensive database of user-generated reviews and ratings influences travelers' booking decisions, making it a trusted resource in the industry.

Tripadvisor interface.

Airbnb: A Wide Range of Accommodations

Airbnb revolutionized the travel accommodation industry by introducing the concept of peer-to-peer lodging. It allows individuals to rent out their homes, apartments, or spare rooms to travelers seeking unique and authentic experiences. Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly options to luxury villas, and operates in numerous countries worldwide.

Airbnb interface.

Google Travel: A Metasearch Platform for Booking Accommodations

Google's travel services encompass various tools and features, including Google Flights, Google Hotels, and Google Trips. Google Flights helps users find and compare flight prices, while Google Hotels offers a metasearch platform for booking accommodations. Google Trips provides itinerary planning, travel guides, and recommendations based on users' preferences and search history.

Google Travel interface.

Agoda: User-Friendly Interface and Extensive Inventory

Acquired by Booking Holdings, Agoda specializes in providing accommodation bookings in Asia and other regions. It offers a diverse selection of properties, competitive pricing, and exclusive deals tailored to Asian travelers. Agoda's user-friendly interface and extensive inventory make it a popular choice among travelers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Agoda interface.

Kayak: Intuitive Interface and Advanced Search Filters

Kayak is a leading metasearch engine that aggregates travel information from various sources, including airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. It enables users to compare prices, view real-time availability, and book travel services directly through its platform. Kayak's intuitive interface and advanced search filters make it a valuable tool for travelers seeking the best deals.

Kayak interface.

Pro Tips on How NOT to Choose a Hotel Channel Manager

Now that you're familiar with the use, benefits and other features of a channel manager, I'd like to talk about some of the things you should consider when it comes to choosing one.

Target Market and Business Needs

Before you make your choice, you should carry out a detailed analysis of which sales channels are right for your target market. If you find that the potential channel manager you have chosen does not have the integration of several OTAs and distribution channels that are important to you, it is probably not the best choice for you.

Unique and Different Pricing Strategies

Make sure the channel manager you choose allows you to set prices for different room types in a unique way. In addition to this, it may be important to be able to apply your own pricing strategy in terms of seasonality or market conditions. If this is not available, do some more research to find the best choice.

Performance and Analytics

An excellent hotel channel management software will allow you to keep track of your results and data. This is important because you can use these analytics to inform your sales strategy later on. If you don't have the possibility to track the performance of different distribution interfaces, I recommend you choose one where you can.

The Final Decision Is Up to You

I hope that the above article has really helped you to understand how a hotel channel manager works and when to use this tool. Either way, a channel manager should be suitable for your preferences, so it is important to be aware of these before making a purchase or a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

❓ What is a hotel channel manager, and what do I need to know about it as a property owner?

A hotel channel manager is software that allows you to easily manage your property's available rooms, bookings, and prices from one centralized platform. It's a crucial tool for property owners looking to maximize their presence across multiple online sales channels.

❓ Who should consider using a hotel channel manager?

Hotel channel managers are recommended for property owners who want to maximize bookings and revenue across various online platforms simultaneously. They're particularly beneficial for those aiming to streamline daily tasks and manage bookings efficiently.

❓ How do I choose the right OTAs and metasearch engines for my property?

Before diving in, ensure you strategically position yourself against competitors and determine which OTAs and metasearch engines align with your business goals. Select platforms that cater to your target audience and offer effective tools for increasing your property's visibility and bookings.

❓ What are the benefits of using a hotel channel manager?

Using a channel manager offers numerous advantages, including increased visibility across multiple sales channels, reduced errors, access to valuable statistics and analytics, optimized sales processes, seamless integration with various software, and keeping pace with market changes for a competitive edge.

❓ What are some tips for avoiding common mistakes when choosing a hotel channel manager?

Consider factors such as your target market and business needs, ensure the channel manager supports your pricing strategies, and prioritize platforms that provide comprehensive performance tracking and analytics capabilities. Avoid overlooking integration possibilities and the ability to customize room rates effectively.

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