What is a channel manager? If you’re new to the world of property management you may not know. Learn what they are why you might need one.
Managing one property is a whole different game to managing multiple properties. As your inventory grows so does the complexity of your operation. As the complexity increases you need solutions to give you back control on your vacation rental business.
So, What is a Channel Manager?
A channel manager is an online software that manages your pricing and availability for all your inventory. It syncs them simultaneously to multiple online travel agents.
You can read more about online travel agents in our article The Best Websites to List Your Property on if You want to Get Bookings.
We’ve tried many channel managers through the years and are very happy with the one we are working with today.
Our channel manager is better than most because it offers the homeowners their own login portal. This gives the homeowners we work with access to their reservations. It also allows them to block dates for themselves as well as seeing other interesting statistics.
Not all channel managers offer this service. It’s one of the aspects of our Israel property management service that gives us added value as vacation rental managers.
Channel manager software often goes hand in hand with another major piece of software in the vacation rental industry. This is known as a property management system or PMS for short. We’ll go more into that in another article.
What Are The Benefits of a Channel Manager?
A channel manager centralizes your data from all your reservations. This gives you structure and organization. Having everything centralized will put you in the driving seat of your property management operation.
This increases your efficiency, makes it easier to leverage optimization, and becomes your go-to resource for answering many guest questions in relation to their reservation.
However one of the most important aspects of a channel manager is that it helps prevent double bookings. This is when you get two different guests booking the same dates from different platforms. This can be a nightmare for property managers which is why a channel manager is an essential piece of software.
Having a good channel manager is one of those tools that separates the amateurs from the professionals.
While double bookings can be resolved, they can also be a headaches and lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews lead to fewer bookings. This means without good backend management of your rates and availability you are unlikely to make as much money with your property as you possibly could.
This is something to keep in mind when you are considering the benefits of working with a property management company.
There are many channel managers on the market, and essentially for 90% of what they do, you can be sure they all pretty much do the same thing. However, over the years, a new business model has emerged. Let me explain.
There are two primary channel manager business models:
1. Ones that charge per property per month for using them. Let’s say $10 USD per month per property.
2. Then there are ones that charge a commission for any reservation you get.
As well this, you may have a mix of the two and you may have onboarding fees so it is good to shop around. A lot of these companies will be happy to book a free demo with you, so you can always take advantage of that.
But here’s a little secret. What makes a channel manager good and I mean the best is not the software. It’s the person operating it. The same as what makes a car drive well – the driver.
The Big Sell
What channel managers will do, is they will make big claims, that they can connect you to all these different online travel agents. That appears to be a beautiful thing.
The thing is you realise very fast connecting to all these channels is way more work than you anticipated and even after you connect there can often be a lot troubleshooting to do to get the connection between the channel manager and the online travel agent set up right.
Before you know it you are not a property manager anymore, but instead, you are a technician and working on these connections on a full-time basis.
When things go wrong with the connections (which will happen) your level of expertise will be tested. Unless you have the time and resources to dedicate to implement and leverage the functionality of a channel manager, you are best staying away from them and keeping your operation as simple as possible.
Of course, that does mean that you will always lack the ability to scale up your operation. This may be a reason you decide to partner with a property management company because they take care of all those technical details for you.
Have you got a property in Tel Aviv that you’re considering renting out as a vacation rental?
Set up a call with Happy Owner today and see if we can help you with earning the most from your property.
Scott D. Renwick is the Head of Operations at Sea N’ Rent Ltd., working with them since 2015. His skills have helped the company structure its operations to ensure stability and future growth in the property management business.