No matter where you are in your vacation rental business journey, there is always something new to learn.
Whether it’s a professional cleaning tip to remove stains from your beloved furniture, or how to respond to negative reviews – the vacation rental industry is full of friendly faces who are very eager to lend a hand.
With that in mind, this article is all about helping owners to run their businesses better.
Did you know there is a way to simplify the management of your properties which will help you save valuable time and effort? It’s called a channel manager.
Don’t be afraid of the term – it’s not a scary or complicated phenomenon at all. It’s simply the name given to an organizational tool that helps give you total control over the various channels or websites where you advertise your vacation rentals.
An increasing number of professionals with short-term rental properties are using channel managers. In fact, in a recent survey on property management and technology adoption, Transparent found that 67% of respondents are already using a channel manager. When we break this down further and look at property managers with over 100 properties, this number surges to 90%.
If you’re reading and feeling lost or overwhelmed – don’t worry, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about channel managers.
As the vacation rental industry grows and professionalizes, technology and the internet are becoming two essential players. So if you don’t want to fall behind your competitors, it’s time to understand how software solutions like a channel manager can hugely enhance the running of your business.
Before you get a channel manager
In order to really enjoy the privileges of a channel manager, you must have more than one promotional channel in place. In other words, you must be advertising your property on at least two sites. For example, this could be your own website and a listing site such as Airbnb, HomeAway and so on.
The more channels you use to promote your property, the more potential guests will see it – leading you to higher chances of confirming reservations. But when bookings are coming in from multiple places, things can get confusing. What vacation rental owners need to achieve is simultaneous management of all channels across the board, paying the same level of attention to each one.
What exactly is a channel manager?
A channel manager is a service that links your PMS (property management system) to other online booking platforms, like Airbnb, Booking.com or Expedia. It allows owners to automatically update rates, calendar availability and bookings across a number of platforms simultaneously.
Originally used by hotels (and we know vacation rental owners have a lot to learn from them!), channel managers ensure that the availability of rooms is always up-to-date on any external listing sites where guests can make a booking. That means if a guest makes a reservation on a website such as Booking.com, for example, the number of rooms available will automatically change on both Booking.com and the hotel website.
Having a channel manager for your vacation rental will allow you to distribute your property listing on various websites, and as a result, diversify your booking sources. It will also permit you to update and synchronize information automatically and immediately on all channels – leaving a very small margin for errors.
Channel managers are an essential addition to your vacation rental business if you want to avoid mistakes like overbooking or double bookings.
How does a channel manager work?
A channel manager connects your booking engine or PMS directly with online distribution channels. When a guest makes a reservation on your website or any of your connected channels, the channel manager will automatically update your property’s availability on the other sites and block the dates. This deep connectivity means that your listings will always be accurate and consistent, no matter how many sites you advertise on. It also means that you only need one central calendar to manage your reservations, therefore removing the need to log in on each portal separately to manually add the new booking.
Does your vacation rental need a channel manager?
To find out if your business could benefit from having a channel manager in place, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you the owner of at least one vacation rental?
- Do you advertise this vacation rental on more than one website, or are you considering doing so?
- Are you looking to streamline how you manage your different channels?
- Do you want to be more efficient with how you spend time on your business?
- Have you ever had to cancel a guest due to overbooking?
If your answers are positive, a channel manager would be a welcome addition to your vacation rental business.
All-in-one vacation rental software
There are many services that vacation rental owners like you can take advantage of to help streamline your business and processes. Instead of contracting these different tools separately, it’s worth checking out options that allow you to do everything from the same place.
With Lodgify, owners and managers can not only build their vacation rental website and accept online bookings with credit card payments, but they can also manage all reservations from one place with the integrated channel manager. The Lodgify channel manager provides two-way API connections to the top listing sites to ensure availability, rates and reservations are correct across all your channels.