How channel managers help create efficient distribution systems


As additional distribution channels are being swiftly developed, channel managers have become critical. Hotels need to deliver to these channels and do it faster than ever. With more than a hundred different channels in the online market, it is imperative to market properties on as many as possible. “Rather than manage the channels individually, a channel manager enables the hotelier to manage more channels more efficiently and at a reasonable cost,” said Paul Sonoda, president of Innsoft.

The use of property-management systems is rapidly shifting from efficiency to focus on revenue growth, said Suman Pal, principal product manager at Agilysys.

“It is imperative that PMSes have robust connectivity with channel managers,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities to create innovation but PMSes can’t do it all alone.”

Since more PMSes are moving to the cloud, it allows a channel manager to manage the prices and allows hoteliers to use that channel to set rates, said Larry Gorman, chief technology evangelist with SkyTouch Technology. “There’s a logical source of inventory data in the PMS and it allows the channel manager to help optimize the hotel’s revenue,” he said.

Linking a PMS to a channel manager allows inventory to be to be automatically shared and updated across the various distribution services. “The system should allow for inventory to be updated in real time, which practically eliminates the risk of overbooking and allows hotels to decrease reserves,” said Francois Greffard, chief operating officer at IQware. “They can then place additional inventory on the distribution services.”

If hotels are not fully integrated, it becomes a potentially troublesome manual process. “You can still list your inventory on the channel managers, but you will have to manually transfer that email or fax into the PMS,” said Todd Sabo, president of RMS Hospitality Solutions. “That’s time, effort and prospective issues where you could have double bookings or overselling of the property.”