What is the best channel manager for your hotel?
Before we go onto what goes into selecting the best channel manager for your hotel, lets try and understand why a channel manager is an absolute essential product for any hotel or even small accommodation business in today’s day and age.
Why are channel managers indispensable now?
With the growing percentage share of online hotel bookings across every hotel, it has become extremely important for each hotel owner or accomodation provider to not just be listed on all portals but also manage their presence on these online portals very closely.
Practically every country in the world has atleast 4-5 important online portals or online revenue sources who contribute a significant percentage of their overall revenues but it is very difficult for a hotel manager or owner or reservations manager to keep updating each OTAs extranet manually because the hotel’s own reservation chart keeps changing almost every hour as most bookings still happen through offline channels and direct channels like the hotel’s own phone number and email.
Small errors or delays in exposing the correct available inventory or rates to any online channel for any future date can either contribute to an overbooking of rooms or worse, an underbooking. While an overbooking is easy to spot because you will have many guests screaming at your reception when it happens…an underbooking is far more difficult to trace because you don’t know what potential revenue you are missing out on by exposing less rooms or lower rates than you actually could have sold.
Hence arises the need for an online channel manager for hotels to manage their rates and inventory on all portals through a single login.
What is a typical channel manager supposed to do?
A typical online channel manager for hotels is a technology product which provides a single dashboard for a hotel revenue manager or reservations manager to:
(1) update rates and inventories of the hotel’s room categories for all future dates onto all online travel portals to ensure parity everywhere
(2) whenever a booking or a cancellation happens on any online portal , it sends the information to the user and at the same time updates the new inventory to all connected online travel portals
(3) it also allows the user the ability to push different inventories to different online channels or the ability to switch off a channel entirely for a certain period of time.
(4) it also allows the hotel the ability to set Rate Restrictions like Minimum length of stay (MLOS), Blackout dates, Closed for Arrival (CTA) and Closed for Departure (CTD) to ensure that it able to control it’s revenue pattern during certain peak periods. Of course these restrictions can only be implemented for those channels which allow a hotel to set these rules in the first place via APIs.
(5) it allows the hotel to manage rates for types of meal plans, occupancy levels and special rates like extra adult rates and extra child rates across all online portals for each room category from a single interface.
(6) It allows the hotel the ability to set different rates for different dates for different categories and allows the ability to easily change these rates for each room category when required.
(7) it allows the ability to the hotel to do a live fetch of rates and inventories actually visible on the extranets of each OTA on a real time basis and spot mismatches or resync whenever required.
(8) it is integrated to all important revenue sources of the hotel through an official API integration so that no important channel is left unsynced otherwise it could lead to potential issues for the hotel sales desk in the form of overbooking, underbooking or incorrect rates for bookings. Many channel managers perform a dirty sync or a screen scraping method of managing OTA extranets which is unreliable and can lead to sync issues.
(9) it gives the hotel the ability to sync packages or deals that are running on an OTA with the inventory of the particular room category so that these deals are sold only when the room on which it is selling is available.
This way a typical channel manager keeps the online travel portals in sync all the time and gives more control to the user about the hotel’s presence online.
Why should you choose DJUBO Instaconnekt as your channel manager?
While DJUBO possesses all of the above capabilities (except 4 at the time of writing this article…although 4 is getting released as a feature in Nov 2017), DJUBO is designed to achieved more. DJUBO has been designed by hoteliers for hoteliers and possesses unique insight into the complexities of the sales desk operation of every hotel which helped design something which actually helps hotels expose every last available room to every OTA and thereby maximise the hotel’s reach, distribution and thereby revenues.
(1) Centralised Reservation System (CRS) with Smart Chart : Djubo CRS comes bundled along with Djubo Instaconnekt. This ensures that the hotel gets a single dashboard to manage both online and offline bookings through a single interface. Most users of other channel managers are forced to update the channel manager manually off and on through out the working day as their actual booking situation changes. This leads to a less than optimal sync between offline booking chart and the online channel manager leading to overbooking or underbooking issues because of the involvement of human intervention. DJUBO CRS seeks to automate channel management by bringing the entire sales operation of the hotel into a single platform including both offline and online bookings…thereby reducing the chances of overbookings or underbookings to almost zero.
DJUBO’s CRS comes powered with features like an automated room allocation management via a Smart Chart, automated email and voucher coordination, automated payment followup and collections and also query conversion and tracking and much more.
(2) A True Channel Manager: DJUBO is a true channel manager in the real sense of the word because it takes care of offline, corporate, direct as well as online revenue channels in a single interface. Since channel management is a loosely used term, most other channel managers stop at only managing your hotel’s online channels, which albeit important, only form a small percentage of your overall revenue and lead to human intervention between offline and online…leading to potential overbookings and underbookings.
(3) Analytics: DJUBO Insight is a full stack analytics suite which helps a hotel stay on top of its historical and predicted revenue, occupancy, average room rate and pre-booking trends. It also helps the user understand and track its Channel Mix and source wise, weekday wise, department wise revenue trends. A full stack analytics suite helps in quick reporting and better channel management decision making for the future.
(3) DJUBO Cerebrum Automated Revenue Management: Djubo Cerebrum (commercially launcing in Nov 2017) is an automated revenue management platform where hotel can set rules for the channel manager to changes its rate plans exposed to all channels simply on the basis of changes in occupancy levels. This feature alone can bring high revenue gains and reduce manpower costs and bring efficiency to the hotel’s revenue management function.
(4) DJUBO Foresight Rate Shopper: Djubo also comes along with a rate shopper which helps users track their competitors pricing for future dates. It helps hotels to spot demand indicators and movement in market prices faster to be able to react and change pricing sooner.
(5) DJUBO Starsight Reputation Manager : DJUBO provides every hotel the ability to track guest reviews and sentiments online for their own hotel as well as their own competitors. It also allows the user the ability to respond to reviews from a single interface.
(6) Oversell Protect feature: Even channel managers which have a direct integration with OTAs have a slight chance of overbooking because of latency at server end to send or accept rate or inventory updates. This can be extremely risky in peak seasons, there DJUBO offers an oversell protect feature to be able to save the last exposed room from being exposed to OTAs if the user wants to be careful.
(7) Point of Sale and Booking Engine Integration: DJUBO’s Instaconnekt can seamlessly connect with DJUBO’s other apps like the point of sale application to manage the guest’s journey post checkin. It also connect seamless to DJUBO’s booking engine which can distribute direct rates and inventories to the hotel’s own website.
(8) Unique partnerships and distribution reach: While DJUBO is connected to 100+ OTAs (see list here), it also brings to the table some very unique meta search partnerships with Google and Tripadvisor both on CPC (cost-per-click model and cost-per-acquisition model) along with various firsts like – the only official Airbnb partner in Asia (expected launch Nov 2017).
(9) Auto Collect for Pay @ Hotel bookings: Many pay at hotel OTAs like booking.com have an extremely high cancellation and no-show rate. In order to deal with this issue, DJUBO has launched Auto Collect, which chases guests for payment collection and gives a confirmation when the requisite payment has been made on the hotel’s payment gateway. This helps in avoidance of late cancellation and avoids risks in the hotel’s revenue strategy.
(10) Review Builder: DJUBO also helps a hotel automate a feedback solicitation engine for its guests by sending out Thank You mailers post checkout. Review Building on important sources like tripadvisor is time consuming and most guests do not post a review unless reminded over email as regular intervals. This feature has the potential of improving the hotel’s standing and reputation in its market manifold if used well.
While evaluating a channel manager, its important to consider your needs and look carefully at the feature sets on offer while making your purchase decision. A channel manager needs to be built for the future with feature sets which enhance the hotel’s revenue, reputation, planning and outreach. With one of the largest hotel product suite in the world, DJUBO is uniquely adept at serving any hotel accomplish its goals.