In our section “5 questions to”, employees of Guestfriend, customers, partners or industry experts give insights into their work and business. Today we talk about channel management with Cristina Bauer, Sales Manager at Viato.
How does a good channel manager work?
All channel managers should work similarly. Because they all follow one basic principle: they send availabilities, prices and restrictions of the hotel to different booking portals.
Basically, channel management is not only about maintaining data and forwarding it to the portals, but also about processing the whole thing with a certain revenue strategy. It is therefore important for hoteliers to have a competent support team in the background that is always available for advice. At best, qualified professionals who are familiar with the hospitality industry. A good channel manager should, of course, be technically flawless, easy to use and user-friendly.
Are there any specific requirements that hoteliers have to fulfil or do you take care of interfaces to hotel software and other systems?
Our customers decide themselves which portals and hotel software (PMS) they want to use. But we are also glad to assist them in finding the right portals and the right PMS.
We have interfaces to all relevant PMS for a long time. In addition, we are in direct contact with these providers. This enables us to easily connect our customers’ hotel software and our channel manager. And fortunately, we are also listed as “preferred partner” at many well-known portals so that we are working very closely with them – and this simplifies the connection of the systems.
The online sales market is constantly changing: new portals are emerging and hoteliers are able to present their accommodations to an increasingly tailored target group. To ensure that our customers benefit from these changes as well, we quickly create interfaces to new systems.
In addition to the interfaces to hotel software and online portals, we also provide interfaces to revenue management and yield management systems.
What are the advantages of channel management?
Usually, the journey of a hotel guest starts online. He or she searches for the right hotel and compares the offers. Therefore, current availabilities and prices on different online portals are essential. A channel manager who automatically sets free contingents, prices and restrictions creates enormous relief here. And since they are usually based online, hoteliers can access it worldwide at any time and make changes in real-time.
In this case, the channel manager is the central administration. No portal has to be operated manually anymore. Thus, the hotel does not miss a booking request and has the chance of a 100% capacity rate. In addition, it reduces the risk of overbooking by automatically transferring reservations and adjusting quotas. And this way, the hotel remains bookable on all portals right up to the last room.
Unlike comparable systems, Viato focuses on adapting the system to the customer’s wishes, existing processes and automating them as far as possible.
Are channel managers also profitable for small hotels or hosts?
Yes, in any case. Especially smaller, often family-run hotels have to strive for local and global reach. Gaining hotel guests through online channels is becoming increasingly important and essential.
Often smaller hosts are “all-rounders”. They are at the same time cook, receptionist, service staff, housekeeper and guest advisor. Particularly, in this case, digital work processes should be automated so that hosts can focus on the last point – the guest care.
For smaller hosts and providers of holiday apartments, we also offer specially tailored products and support them in making the most out of them.
Which three tips do you give your customers when it comes to channel management?
- Direct bookings via the homepage
One of the online channels with the highest turnover should be the own website. The website is the figurehead, the business card of a hotel and therefore a central point in online sales. This includes an attractive and well-integrated booking system. And that’s why we advise our customers on how to strengthen direct bookings on their own websites.
- Manage dynamic pricing according to capacity utilization
Through yield management, hosts can achieve more profit. Even different rate structures increase sales opportunities. The Viato channel manager also supports hoteliers during this process with special functions – and of course, we also advise our customers here.
- Try new portals
Thanks to the portals, hoteliers have the opportunity to expand their reach and tap into new target groups. As already mentioned, we also support them in selecting suitable booking portals and make sure that they are well seen by their potential guests.
Cristina Bauer in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH
Find out more about channel management in our last article.
Others also read:
- What are channel managers for hotels used for?
- The best touchpoints to reach guests – “5 questions to” Saskia Guggemos, Marketing & Communication Manager at Guestfriend
- The all-round customer service of Guestfriend – „5 questions with“ Alexandra Fenzl, Team Leader Customer Relationship Management at Guestfriend
- Dynamic pricing with revenue management – „5 questions with“ Matthias Trenkwalder, Co-Founder and Managing Director at RateBoard