Channel manager

Channel Manager: What Is It and Why Do You Need One?

Are you a vacation rental property owner managing multiple online booking channels? If so, you likely know how overwhelming that can be, ultimately leading to overbookings and inconsistent pricing. Don’t worry—it’s not you’re fault. Managing multiple listings, especially across various channels, is tough work.

That’s why an increasing number of professionals with short-term rental properties are using a channel manager.

What is a channel manager, you ask? A vacation rental channel manager connects with your property management system to seamlessly sync your listings across all platforms. This ensures that your availability and rates are always up to date, preventing common headaches associated with manual updates.

Still have questions? We’ve got answers. This quick guide will walk you through how a channel manager works and its various uses. Additionally, we’ll help you understand the distinction between a PMS and channel manager and how to use all of this information to significantly improve your operational efficiency and guest satisfaction.

What is a channel manager?

A channel manager is a tool that allows you to simultaneously promote your vacation rental properties on external booking platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo,, or Expedia. It will automatically sync and update your rates, calendar availability and bookings across a number of platforms simultaneously.

Originally used by hotels in the form of a hotel PMS channel manager (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.

For example, let’s say a guest makes a reservation on a website such as If you were using a PMS and channel manager together (or the hotel in this case), the number of rooms available would automatically change on both and the hotel website.

Having a channel manager for your vacation rental ultimately allows 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.

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.

PMS and channel manager: What’s the difference?

A lot of short-term rental business owners get this wrong. They search for a PMS channel manager online only to find out that a PMS and channel manager are two separate things.

Channel managers usually integrate with your PMS (property management system). They’re not usually a separate software entirely, but an essential addition to your vacation rental business if you want to avoid mistakes like overbooking or double bookings.

Woman using Lodgify channel manager

What is channel management?

In the vacation rental and short-term rental industry, channel management is the process of listing and promoting your property(ies) on external booking channels with a channel manager.

It also refers to the strategy of managing the channels on which you choose to list, how you analyze the top-performing websites, and how to optimize your business to make more revenue.

Does your vacation rental need a channel manager?

To find out if your business could benefit from having a channel manager, 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 all a responding “yes!,” a channel manager would likely benefit you and your vacation rental business.

How to use a channel manager to improve your vacation rental business

To really get the most out of connecting a channel manager to your PMS, you need to be currently listing on more than one platform. In other words, you should be advertising your property on at least two sites. For example, this could be your own website and a listing site such as Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.

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 quickly get confusing and complex.

Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether your vacation rental business needs channel manager software:

  • Do you want to spend less time on multiple extranets and websites?
  • Are you tired of spending too much time on inventory data?
  • Are you afraid of tweaking your rates and availability?
  • Do you want to promote your brand globally?
  • Would you like to boost your occupancy rate?
  • Are you ready to streamline your operations with efficient channel management technology?

If you’re still not convinced, here are the main benefits of a channel manager and why we recommend to switch/get one now:

1. More time to focus on analyzing your business

The tourism market temporarily slowing down also means you have more time to focus on analyzing your business and making strategic business decisions. Having more time to evaluate crucial elements, such as the right provider or the best OTAs to connect with, will help you make better decisions for your business, which will have positive, long-term benefits. Take advantage of it!

2. Easy and smooth transition

While it might not seem like it, receiving fewer bookings can also be seen as a temporary advantage! With a less saturated availability calendar, the switch to a new channel manager provider will be a lot smoother, minimizing the risk of potential database sync errors.

3. More guidance

The travel industry is just one of many industries being transformed by technology. At Lodgify, we want to help vacation rental owners navigate these changes with ease. That’s why, during our free, personalized onboarding sessions, our onboarding specialists are here to help you every step of the way. We’ll ensure you’re fully connected and prepared to manage your listings across multiple platforms.

All-in-one vacation rental software

There are several services, software, and tools 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. And that’s exactly what a channel manager is for.

With Lodgify’s all-in-one software, you can not only build your vacation rental website and accept online bookings with credit card payments, but you can also manage all reservations from one place with the integrated channel manager.

Don’t choose between a PMS and channel manager. Get the best of both worlds and connect an award-winning channel manager to your PMS. 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.

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Show Comments (4)
    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      With Lodgify, you can easily include an additional tax amount in your quote for guests when they have made a booking. However, submitting and managing these taxes are up to you.

      I hope that helps. Any other questions about Lodgify, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

      Best wishes,


  1. Thanks for sharing such an informative and useful article. After reading the article, i really understand what & why need channel manager for your rental business! This article is definitely helpful for every hotel owners and channel manager providers.

  2. OTA connections software is a highly secure software management solution, designed specifically to keep al, the information secured and safe for you as well as the guest

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