Finding the right channel manager for your hotel is not an easy task. It can be a time-consuming journey with lots of things to consider. When you have never worked with a Channel Manager before, you are not sure what you should be looking for. When you switch Channel Managers, you want to make sure that your new provider will cover everything you missed from your previous provider. So, here are some pointers that will hopefully help you in your journey to find the best Channel Manager for your hotel.
1. Do not focus too much on price comparison
There is no need to deny the fact that the Channel Manager market is highly mature and competitive. In such a competitive market, it just doesn't make sense for one supplier to price itself far above the other. Of course, you should consider price, but end with comparing prices instead of starting with it. The little money you may spare on a cheaper Channel Manager can end up costing your hotel more time and revenue because they cannot deliver what you need.
2. Make a Moscow list
Nope, we are not talking about the capital of the Russian Federation! The Moscow approach is used in the IT industry to prioritise software features based on:
- Must have (Can't do without)
- Should have (Important but not vital)
- Could have (Would be nice)
- Won't have (Adds no value)
We will skip the last one for now, but try to write down the first three. For example:
Must have: 2-way XML connections with Booking.com, Hotelbeds, TravelLine, 2-way integration with my PMS, Pooled Inventory
Should have: Integration with my websites' Online Booking Engine, Connectivity with local OTAs
Could have: Yield management/reporting or integration with my Revenue Manager
Once you have the list written down, your search for a new Channel Manager will be much easier!
3. Choose a Channel Manager specialised in connectivity to your PMS/CRS
This one should always be on top of your Moscow list. Make sure you choose a channel management partner who is specialised in integrating with your PMS or CRS. One of the most painful things to do in any hotel is to either keep using separate systems (goodbye efficiency) or changing the PMS that the staff is trained on.
Next to this, check if the OTAs that are the most important to you, are also important to your Channel Manager provider. All OTA connections need maintenance, and you want to be assured of quality reservation updates all the time.
4. Take a good look at the level of Support and Service provided
Make sure you select a partner with an explicit service promise to help you optimise your online distribution strategy, get the most out your technology over time and take a pro-active approach to resolve any booking issues. Do not settle for a quick installation and support ticket systems that take weeks to resolve. If you have a problem or question, you want it addressed immediately!