Connecting Your Property Management System With a Channel Manager

The way that technology is changing the way we do business is amazing, but it can be hard to know which solutions are necessary, and which are nice-to-have.

A good property management system (PMS) and channel manager software are two solutions that any hotelier shouldn’t go without.  Working in combination, they have the potential to bring plenty of benefits to your business and offer great return on investment as explained in our blog that focuses on the problems a PMS can solve for hoteliers.

Before we outline what those advantages are, let’s first take a look at what these solutions are exactly.

What is a Property Management System?

Property management systems offer a centralised place to organise and manage the day-to-day front-desk functions of an accommodation business. These tasks could include managing bookings, check in and check out, billing, budgeting and accounting, inventory management, reporting and guest information.

Essentially, it replaces the disparate paper and spreadsheet processes that you’ve likely been using, and pulls everything into one easy to access place, online. A good PMS will also integrate with other essential software, such as point-of-sale or accounting software. This means that you can pass all of your information to your various systems in real time.

Step by Step Functionality of a PMS

  1. Reservation Management: The PMS allows for the efficient handling of the entire reservation process, from initial booking to check-out. This includes capturing guest details, managing room availability, and processing reservations across various distribution channels.
  2. Guest Check-in and Check-out: It facilitates streamlined check-in and check-out processes, enabling staff to efficiently manage guest arrivals and departures while maintaining accurate records of room occupancy.
  3. Room Assignment and Inventory Management: The PMS assists in assigning specific rooms to guests based on their preferences or booking requirements. Additionally, it helps in tracking room inventory and availability in real-time.
  4. Billing and Invoicing: Through the PMS, property staff can generate bills, process payments, and create invoices for services rendered, providing a comprehensive view of financial transactions related to guest stays.
  5. Housekeeping and Maintenance: It aids in coordinating housekeeping schedules, room cleaning assignments, and maintenance requests, ensuring that rooms are well-maintained and prepared for incoming guests.
  6. Reporting and Analytics: The system offers reporting functionalities that provide insights into key performance metrics, revenue generation, occupancy rates, and other operational data crucial for decision-making.
  7. Channel Management Integration: Integration with Channel Managers allows properties to manage room availability and rates across multiple online booking platforms, ensuring consistent and updated information is presented to potential guests.
  8. Guest Profile Management: The PMS maintains detailed guest profiles containing personal preferences, stay history, and contact information, enabling personalised service delivery and targeted marketing efforts.
  9. Security and Data Protection: It prioritises data security and compliance with privacy regulations, implementing measures to safeguard guest information and ensure secure handling of sensitive data.
  10. Integration with Other Systems: Many PMS solutions integrate with other hotel systems such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, loyalty programs, and revenue management tools to enhance operational efficiency and guest experience.

What is a Channel Manager?

As a hotel business, promoting your listings on different platforms like online booking sites and travel agents can be time-consuming. This is where a channel manager becomes essential. It automatically updates room availability in real-time across all platforms, simplifying the process of managing listings and pricing changes.

Channel management is vital for hoteliers looking to increase visibility and revenue. It involves listing inventory on multiple marketing platforms, ensuring broad exposure to potential guests.

Step by Step Functionality of a Channel Manager

  1. Integration with Booking Channels: A channel manager integrates with multiple booking platforms like online travel agencies (OTAs), travel metasearch engines, and the hotel’s own booking engine.
  2. Real-time Inventory Updates: When a room is booked or cancelled, the channel manager instantly adjusts the inventory across all channels. This means the availability is always accurate, reducing the risk of double bookings.
  3. Dynamic Pricing Adjustments: Hotels can adjust their room rates based on demand, competition, and other factors. The channel manager synchronizes these rate changes in real-time across all platforms.
  4. Centralised Control: The hotel staff can manage all their bookings from a single dashboard, which aggregates data from all the connected channels.
  5. Reporting and Insights: Advanced channel managers provide analytics and reporting features that offer insights into performance across channels, helping hoteliers to make informed business decisions.

By leveraging the efficiency of a channel manager, hotels can enhance their operational productivity, ensure rate parity, and provide an accurate, reliable booking experience for guests.

Learn how a channel manager can streamline your hotel operations and boost your revenue.

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How Do They Work Together?

When integrated, a Property Management System and Channel Manager work in sync to streamline hotel operations:

  • Seamless Booking Updates: As soon as a reservation is made through any channel, the Channel Manager communicates with the PMS to update the room’s availability status, preventing overbookings.
  • Unified Dashboard: Hoteliers get a single view of bookings and room statuses across all platforms via the PMS, enabling better decision-making.
  • Pricing Strategy: Rates can be adjusted in the PMS and automatically synced across all channels through the Channel Manager, facilitating dynamic pricing strategies.
  • Operational Efficiency: Tasks like check-ins/outs, housekeeping, and maintenance are updated in real-time within the PMS, ensuring operational tasks are well-coordinated.
  • Enhanced Guest Experience: The PMS stores guest preferences and history, allowing for personalised service that can be seamlessly delivered because of accurate, up-to-date booking information from the Channel Manager.
  • Detailed Reporting: Combining data from both systems allows hoteliers to generate comprehensive reports for more informed management and better forecasting.

The benefits of a PMS and Channel Manager integration are not only limited to the hotel business. Rental properties, vacation rentals, apartments and other short-term accommodations can also reap the rewards.

Why Integrate Your PMS and Channel Manager?

If the two systems aren’t talking directly to each other with a seamless integration, you run the risk of letting customers down through overbooking, misinformation or delayed communication. Here are some more benefits of combining a PMS with a channel manager for your hotel business:

Optimise opportunity for online bookings

In a digital world, online bookings are on the rise. A channel manager allows you to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities that exist in the many online booking sites that travellers are choosing to use.

Reduce booking errors

Overbooking, double booking and room booking errors are reduced when you’re always working with up-to-date, real-time information. With a channel manager, potential guests are only ever able to book rooms that are actually available.

Create staff efficiency

An integrated system removes the need for tedious and time-consuming manual processes that slow down your staff and cause frustrations for your customers.

A single, seamless solution

Instead of having siloed software solutions to manage your business that requires updates and manual inputs, an integrated solution means you only need to handle the information once. No double-handling, less room for error. This also gives you transparency of data across your business, giving you a clearer picture of performance.

Increase revenue

Increased accessibility to your offers means increased likelihood of capturing potential travellers. With live rates and availability across all booking channels, it’s easy for travellers to make a decision to book on the spot. Interestingly, promoting your business through multiple channels can also result in more direct bookings, as often leads choose to visit your website to research your property in more detail before booking.

Total transparency

All employees can access and update the most up-to-date information about availability and bookings. As the hotel owner/operator you can set different user permissions to have visibility of all your operational functions in one place.

Scalability

As you grow your business online, the right technology and integrations can pave the way for future growth. A channel manager makes it easy to add new booking channels as opportunities arise or your brand expands.

How To Connect Your PMS With a Channel Manager

The short answer is, your Property Management System provider should provide you with a Channel Manager option, and will be able to help you through the integration process. If they don’t offer you this option, it might be time to consider switching to a PMS provider that does.

When choosing your PMS and channel manager providers, here are some things you should consider:

  • Compatibility: Make sure they are compatible and can integrate seamlessly together.
  • Reputation: Look for providers with a good reputation and positive reviews from other users.
  • Support: Check if the providers offer 24/7 support in case any issues arise.
  • Pricing: Compare prices and features to ensure you are getting a good deal for your business.

Once you have chosen a compatible PMS and channel manager, the integration process is fairly simple. You will need to connect your accounts and make sure all necessary information is being shared between the two systems. Your providers should offer support during this process to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The integration of a Property Management System (PMS) with a Channel Manager is a strategic step towards enhancing operational efficiency, improving guest experience, and capitalising on revenue opportunities for the hospitality industry. With the inherent complexity of managing multiple booking channels, the synergy between these two systems cannot be overstated. It revolutionises how hotels and accommodation providers manage bookings, room availability, and pricing in real-time.

By leveraging this integration, hotels ensure accuracy, reduce manual labor, and stay ahead in the competitive digital marketplace. Ultimately, embracing this technological advance is essential for any forward-thinking hotelier committed to maximising their business potential while delivering exceptional service to every guest.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog for more insights and tips on how to stay make the most of your channel manager:

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About the author

Preno's Head of Growth, Menilik, is highly knowledgeable around all things marketing & sales. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and sales, and seeks to guide hoteliers with their goals.

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