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Essential efficiency: How a channel manager can help streamline operations for hoteliers

Here's why a channel manager is essential to simplify your hotel distribution and increase your profits. Our partner Cloudbeds explains how to leverage this technology for optimal results.

Streamline hotel management with a channel manager | Smartpricing

A channel manager is an essential element of a successful distribution strategy for hospitality businesses. While managing multiple distribution channels can be daunting, a channel manager streamlines this process, making it easier to update rates, manage inventory, and maximize revenue. 

Here, we explore why a channel manager can be a powerful tool for hotels seeking to save time and streamline operations, increase profitability, and improve guest satisfaction.

What is a channel manager?

A channel manager is a software that enables hoteliers and property managers to connect to and automatically update multiple online booking sites whenever there is a change in availability, pricing, or stay restrictions. 

Changes are implemented in real time without human intervention and controlled from a central dashboard. This eliminates the need to log into individual extranets and allows hoteliers to perform all tasks from a single interface.

A channel manager automatically synchronizes and updates your hotel's inventory, sharing reservation data on a two-way basis between your property management system and your booking channels. In practice, this means that when one of your rooms is booked on Expedia, for example, the system will send this data to your PMS and simultaneously update your inventory across any other connected channels.

Features to look for in a channel manager

A channel manager requires key elements to ensure seamless integration, real-time inventory updates, and efficient distribution across all channels. These features are crucial for maximizing revenue and enhancing your property’s overall operational efficiency.

When choosing the best solution for your business, make sure that it includes the following features:

  • Two-way synchronization: A channel manager should have advanced API connections with two-way synchronization. This ensures that updates are made in real time and eliminates the risk of double bookings.
  • Integration capabilities: For the channel manager to work properly, it needs to integrate with your other hotel management software, especially your property management system (PMS) and booking engine. This integration will enable you to manage all your systems in one place, saving you time and reducing manual errors.
  • Connectivity speed: The system needs to be fast to ensure that all channels are updated and to protect yourself against overbookings. Your channel manager should ideally sync within seconds, but depending on the provider, it can take up to several minutes.
  • No added fees or commissions: Choose a channel manager that enables unlimited channel connections without charging a per-channel fee. You should also make sure that your channel manager does not impose extra commissions or transaction fees on top of what you already pay to online travel agencies (OTAs).
  • Safety and security compliance: Channel managers deal with sensitive data such as rates and guest information. For that reason, it is crucial to ensure that the data collected is secure and compliant with PCI DSS, SCA, GDPR, and guest data compliance.

8 ways a channel manager helps hoteliers streamline operations

Using a channel manager offers numerous benefits that can significantly enhance the efficiency and profitability of your property. Here are some of the key ways a channel manager can help you:

1. Increase your property’s visibility

Potential guests have various ways to find and book a room at your property, from OTAs like and Expedia to metasearch engines and global distribution systems (GDS). By connecting to multiple channels, properties can broaden their distribution strategy to attract more potential guests and increase both direct and indirect reservations. 

Increasing your visibility also means that you’re likely to benefit from the “Billboard Effect”: when travelers see your property across different online channels, they are more likely to visit your website and book directly.

2. Update your rates and availability all at once

It can be difficult to keep track of rates and availability across channels, especially when you have a diverse distribution strategy. By integrating with various booking platforms and distribution channels, a channel manager ensures that any changes in rates or availability are automatically reflected across all outlets. This synchronization helps in maintaining rate parity and significantly reduces the risk of accidental overbookings.

3. Optimize your revenue

With an integrated channel manager, all of your systems work together to maximize revenue. Connecting to channels with lower commission rates and having a solid direct booking strategy can significantly reduce your dependency on high-commission channels, allowing you to keep more of your earnings while simultaneously increasing your online visibility and bookings.

Using a channel manager to optimize revenue can help you implement smart pricing strategies, sell your inventory more effectively, and maximize your return on investment through dynamic pricing, pooled inventory, and advanced rate options.

4. Prevent the cost of manual errors

Manually updating your channels can be a tedious process, and it can also lead to revenue loss in unexpected ways. For example, if there's an overbooking, you may end up having to pay for guests to stay somewhere else. This could also negatively impact your reputation if they leave a bad review online. 

Similarly, failing to update prices quickly across all OTAs during high-demand events, like a Taylor Swift concert in your area, can result in significant revenue loss from underpriced rooms. Not updating your inventory on major booking platforms like can also result in lost potential income with no chance of recovery if a room is not sold. A channel manager helps you avoid these pitfalls by ensuring accurate and timely updates across all channels.

5. Increase hotel staff satisfaction

 Having to update each channel’s extranet manually takes a lot of time and effort. With the channel manager updating your rooms automatically, your staff can spend more time on tasks that really matter, like offering an outstanding experience to your guests. This streamlined workflow minimizes stress and enhances job efficiency, leading to a more motivated and satisfied team.

6. See what's working (and what isn't)

Having a channel manager collecting and analyzing data makes it easy to identify the most profitable distribution channels for your property. This allows you to experiment with niche OTAs, GDS, wholesalers, and more to find the best channel mix for you.

Additionally, a channel manager helps you discover profitable segments and attract different types of travelers throughout the year. For instance, you might find that niche OTAs perform better in certain markets or that using OTAs during the off-season helps drive business when occupancy is typically lower. This flexibility enables you to tailor your distribution strategy to meet changing demand and optimize revenue year-round.

7. Reach more markets

Channel managers make it easy for properties of all sizes to reach new regions and segments (like corporate, leisure, or groups) that were difficult to access via manual channel management. Additionally, a channel manager that supports multi-language and multi-currency options makes it easier for international guests to book with confidence.

8. Improve guest satisfaction

Overbookings can be a nightmare for both guests and hotels. A channel manager ensures that any change in inventory is updated in real time. As a result, travelers can expect a seamless booking experience and can rest easy knowing that their hotel room will be available when they need it.

The bottom line

Using a channel manager can transform the way you manage your property's distribution strategy. By understanding what a channel manager can do and identifying the features that matter most, you can leverage its benefits to boost your visibility, simplify operations, and maximize revenue.

About Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds is the leading platform redefining the concept of PMS for the hospitality industry, serving tens of thousands of properties in more than 150 countries worldwide. Built from the ground up to be masterfully unified and scalable, the award-winning Cloudbeds Platform brings together built-in and integrated solutions that modernize hotel operations, distribution, guest experience, and data & analytics.