If you’re a short-term property manager listing your rentals on multiple booking platforms, your life is going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, without an effective channel manager to help you centralize your activity.
What is a channel manager?
A channel manager is one of the most important tools a short-term property manager can have. What it does it enable the various channels you use to essentially communicate with one another through a central dashboard so that they all reflect consistent, up-to-date information.
How does a channel manager work?
Once you’ve integrated your channels with your property management software, your channel manager will be able to connect directly with those channels to access or push information as needed.
When a reservation is made on one channel, the channel manager will ensure the dates of that reservation are blocked on all other channels, preventing double bookings.
That’s not all. A channel manager allows you to push information to all of your channels. So, instead of logging into Airbnb, Booking.com and HomeAway individually to add a new listing, you can add it to your central dashboard and publish it to all of your channels through your channel manager.
How do I choose a channel manager?
When selecting a channel manager, you’ll want to make sure the software you choose has the capacity to do everything a channel manager should do to help you avoid logging into multiple channels individually. This means it should be able to publish new information to all the channels you use as well as access reservation information from each of those channels so it can update all of your calendars accordingly.
To make your life as simple as possible, you should use the channel manager of a software that has as many direct integrations with the channels you use as possible. Direct integrations make for seamless communication between the channels and your channel manager, which is critical since the information the two are exchanging is extremely important.
What is the difference between a PMS and a channel manager?
While both a property management software and a channel manager are essentially software tools that simplify the operations of short-term property managers, there is a distinction between the two.
While a channel manager refers exclusively to a feature that pushes and retrieves information to and from the various channels you list on, property management software generally refers to a platform with wider functionality.
Though some property management software is limited to the management of multiple channels, other platforms encompass additional features like:
- Automation tools to automate processes around guest communication, reviews and more
- Analytics to give property managers important insights into their business performance
- A central calendar that provides quick access to all your reservations across all your channels
- A central inbox to communicate with guests from one organized location
These features significantly simplify the property management process and save property managers valuable time and energy while ensuring no important responsibilities slip through the cracks.