088: Beginners Guide to Channel Managers

So what is a Channel Manager anyway ? And why do I need one?

At the beginning of my journey as a Holiday Home Owner there were plenty of terms that popped up that I was unfamiliar with – Channel Manager was definitely one of them – but as time has gone by and I’ve learned and implemented I now know what a Channel Manager is and what an integral part of my business it is.

My channel manager saves me time, our most precious commodity, on a daily basis and frees me up to focus elsewhere in my business – Sound good? Then let’s get going!

I may earn an affiliate commission if you click on any of links for the listing sites below, it won’t cost you anything more, but keeps the lights on here. Everything I recommend I use myself before suggesting you try it too!

What is a channel manager and why do I need it?

A channel manager is a software platform that connects your properties to many different online travel agencies (OTAs) such as booking.comAirbnbHomeAwayTripAdvisorExpedia, your own website, etc

Channel managers offer a variety of connections – Two way, One way, Full content sync, Rates, Bookings and Availability

Channel managers can be a completely stand alone piece of software, or they can have additional elements like a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), allowing you to automate many repetitive tasks to do with delivering the correct information to guests at the correct time.

A channel manager is an essential part of your marketing plan, as the OTAs (Online Travel Agents – listen to this episode to find out more!) dominate the google rankings and have a loyal band of consumers who go direct to them to find their accommodation.

If you want to extend your reach and attract more customers then the listing sites are a vital part of your marketing strategy, particularly at the beginning.

Once you’re set up and have been accepting bookings, then it’s time to begin to drive your own traffic to your website to bring in Direct Bookings! Your channel manager can also help you to add pricing and availability onto your website and give you the ability to accept direct bookings here too.

How Do I Get My Own Website?

Need your own website but don’t know where to start? Join the HLS Website Builder Course, Step by Step How to Guide to setting up your own Holiday Let Website – Begin taking Direct bookings today!

Listen to these Past Epidodes:

061: Rentals United | Vanessa De Souza Lage

042: Beds24 | Annette Morgenroth

033: BookingSync | Sebastien Grosjean

Which Channel Manager Do I Use?

I currently use Beds24 – here’s my pros and cons list:

Beds24 Pros:

  • Lots of connections to many different listing sites
  • Quality connections to the listing sites, no delay or double bookings ever
  • Automated emails, ability to send information to guests in the run up to their stay when needed & after they leave
  • Integrates with my payment gateway & I can collect payment through beds24
  • Easy to embed on my website & takes bookings their
  • Great voucher codes function – brilliant for inviting back & incentivising past guests or sharing a code to fill last dates
  • Great value

Beds24 Cons:

  • No central Inbox – each email from a guest or a new booking notification comes to my own email inbox so you can’t see the trail of past messages easily
  • The dashboard could be prettier and more intuitive
  • Tricky to get up and running, takes a fair bit of time to understand the workings
  • Still so much to learn and not a great deal of support – you need to be pretty comfortable with technology as a base before you get going
  • Because it’s difficult to use, I’m probably not utilising all it’s features

Which Channel Managers have I previously used & Why Did I Move away?

I’ve previously used Lodgify – which is a channel manager and website builder, I was new and used it to create a website and manage channels. I moved away because I wanted to have my own website that I was completely in control of – something that wasn’t possible when it was completely created by and controlled by Lodgify. I believe now Lodgify have changed somewhat and they have he ability to embed onto your wordpress website, this wasn’t available when I used them, if I was looking for a channel manager now I’d definitely look at these guys again.

I’ve previously used Tokeet. I liked tokeet, simple dashboard, payment integration, inbox so you can see messaging from guests in one location. I left after investing heavily with this company and paying for 2 years upfront as they were a new company – after 2 years they stripped out all of the elements that were part of the package I’d paid for and made my payment amount the base payment, you then had to buy back all the addons like automation, rates, online signature at a hugely inflated price. The customer service was not great either. I was really gutted I’d invested with them only to have the rug whipped out from under me, I’d avoid as this feels horribly unethical and I can’t entrust my business to a company that behaves that way. Very sad to say that.

Never used but had a demo of Guesty. I really liked the look of Guesty, it looks powerful, it’s an easy to use and intuitive dashboard, you have all your messages in one place, payment gateways and automation. very good looking. I didn’t choose Guesty as the pricing was high and on a commission basis so I can’t predict my overheads, just not how I want to operate, got enough uncertainty with the commissions from each listing site.

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to the HLS podcast to keep up with the latest Holiday Letting Advice? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode and I’m adding a few bonus episodes in the next few weeks and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Whilst you’re there, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other Holiday Home Owners find my podcast. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite episode of the podcast is. Thank you!

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