Channel managers are invaluable tools for any ambitious hotel. They save time, all but remove the chances of double bookings and dramatically increase the venue’s exposure online.

However, just like any software tool, channel managers are sometimes used inefficiently.

The best channel manager will provide functionality that gives you ultimate control over the complexity (or simplicity) of your strategy, but what if you’re inadvertently overlooking some of its best features?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, but there are some simple, tried-and-tested tips you can use to ensure your channel manager is working as hard as it should be for your hotel.

Ensure it’s fully integrated with your property management system (PMS)

The PMS sits at the heart of any successful hotel operation, but if it runs separately to your channel manager, you’re in for a rough ride.

Your channel manager should be integrated fully with the PMS. That means rates and availability will be automatically synchronised both ways. Therefore, if you reduce tonight’s occupancy by one room, will be made aware, and if a booking arrives via Expedia, it’ll automatically end up on your booking chart.

Linking your channel manager and PMS removes the guesswork, rids you of the threat of overbooking, and saves the entire team vast amounts of manual work.

Keep in mind the role your website plays

Your website plays a pivotal role in your channel management strategy, for one very simple reason.

It’s the most important online channel you have.

It’s far too easy to lose yourself in the intricacies of managing OTAs, but if you forget about your own website, you’ll all but cut off the ability or desire for people to book direct.

Treat your website as an OTA on your channel manager, but one over which you have ultimate control. Include ‘freebies’ for booking direct or elements of your packages which can’t be found on OTAs, and ensure you reserve room stock for your website only when your OTA contracts allow it.

Think about demographics

When you’re spreading your wings wide online and you have several OTAs on board, you can start thinking about the types of guests each channel attracts.

OTAs generally have very specific, defined audiences, and it’s important your channel management strategy follows their lead.

For instance, if you know that ‘OTA A’ is popular with the millennial generation, make sure you use the channel manager to divert the most tempting packages for that audience their way. If ‘OTA B’ is tuned towards baby boomers, think about how you can tailor stay experiences to catch that audience’s eye.

A one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work for channel management.

Work with plenty of OTAs

There are several schools of thought when it comes to how many OTAs you should be using as a hotelier, but providing you’re proactively managing those channels with the right software, there’s no harm in working with as many as you see fit.

The more you tailor your offering for each channel and keep in mind their distinct audiences, the more sense it makes to take advantage of as many OTAs as possible.

Finally: the importance of reporting

The best channel managers on the market will include plenty of reporting options. They’ll offer statistics, comparisons, and insight which should form your future channel management strategy.

Set aside a couple of hours every week to review your channel management reports. If certain OTAs are underperforming, look for clues that you either need to ditch them or change your approach. And keep an eye on your own website’s performance; is it really drawing as many direct bookings as it should?

We hope these tips help you build a solid, profitable channel management strategy. Stay tuned for further advice on this topic.

CMS Hospitality holds over 30 years of experience in delivering hospitality software solutions. GuestCentrix offers the most complete solution in hospitality software, whether you’re running a hotel, a resort or a hostel. Our highly experienced support and installations team holds a unique understanding of the hospitality industry and will aim to provide software that suits your property’s needs.

Call us today at (+61) 2 9440 9711, or email us at We will be happy to guide you to the GuestCentrix solution that’s right for you.