What is the Importance of Channel Management in the Hotel Industry?
According to Travel Daily News, Online bookings for hotel stays via Online Travel Agents (OTAs) account for 39% of US hotel bookings. This number is set to increase to 41% by 2020.
When customers search and book hotel rooms through OTAs such as Expedia or Travelocity, it gives hotels additional administrative work having to manage reservations coming in through OTAs as well as their own platforms.
Fortunately, there are now automated solutions to help hotel managers and reservation staff keep up with the influx of online reservations.
Channel Management in the Hotel Industry – What is It?
A Channel Manager is an innovative hospitality software platform that enables hotels to track online reservations made via OTAs and manage room availability based on multiple sources of reservations.
This includes reservation requests that come directly from consumers through a hotel’s website, app or phone service as well as the bookings from OTAs.
Before the introduction of a system that could manage the availability of hotel rooms in real-time and update their availability on OTA’s, some hotels avoided participating in outside booking sites. Even if they did participate, they limited the total number of rooms they rented to prevent overbooking.
It is much easier now for hotels using channel managers to take advantage of all available booking opportunities through OTAs because the system streamlines all the information into one place and checks that the rooms are available before allowing the customer to proceed.
How Will Hotel Channel Management Solutions Benefit Me?
Having a centralised way to manage all your bookings from multiple source opens up many more opportunities for your hotel to accept customers, you don’t have to try and figure out what proportion of rooms to assign to individual channels and risk turning someone people away on one platform whilst there are still un-booked rooms on others.
In addition to taking some of the stress out of the reservation management process, Channel Managers reduce expenses and administrative work for hotel staff.
Here are a few other benefits of using a channel manager for processing and keeping track of hotel reservations.
Minimise Room Booking Errors
Mistakes in room bookings can cause serious scheduling issues, lost profits and customer relation problems. When a customer decides to spend with you, they expect the room or suite type they’ve booked, it’s on you to make sure that they get it.
One way Hotel Managers can prevent these booking mistakes is through an automated reservation management system. This processes reservations in real-time by using automated software to manage reservations.
You can reduce common human errors and more efficiently make use of the available rooms. This in turn can reduce the number of disgruntled guests who have to be moved to a different type of room.
In addition to reducing the number of overbooked rooms, a Channel Manager can accurately collect customer’s billing information, allowing for more efficient bookkeeping practices, including accounting for which reservations have been paid in advance.
It can also reduce payroll and housekeeping costs for retaining a specialist on staff to manage the incoming reservations from multiple booking platforms.
Connect to Multiple Partners
The use of Channel Managers increases a hotel’s capacity to connect with multiple parties for accepting reservations from customers.
This means that your hotel can be more flexible and proactive when presented with new partnership opportunities from OTAs.
One of the issues with manual hotel Reservation Management Processes is that hotels can’t be responsive to fluctuating popularity levels of booking sites. If you’re assigning rooms to a platform based on popularity, and that suddenly drops, it means more work for you to reassign them or remove them if you’re doing it without a Management System.
Insightful and Accurate Customer Analytics
In addition to the potential cost savings and efficiency of using a Channel Manager for keeping track of room reservations, this software can provide you with useful data regarding reservation trends, customer profiles and the efficacy of marketing campaigns.
Having room reservations filter through an integrated Management System provides more timely data and easier access to updated information on the metrics that make the most difference to your bottom line, allowing you to quickly evaluate how well your marketing campaigns are working based on data reflecting trends in reservations.
This allows you to be more adaptive in your marketing strategies and navigating partnerships with OTAs.