A Channel Manager is an essential tool for any hostel. The easiest way for hostels to increase profits is to be listed on more booking websites (aka Channels). More people will see your listing and book if you are listed on more Channels. However it is almost impossible to manage more than one Channel without third party help from a Channel Manager.
Not using a Channel Manager
Each Channel that you sell beds on, such as HostelWorld and Booking.com, needs to be updated when your availability changes. If you don’t use a Channel Manager and you only sell beds on one Channel, this isn’t an issue. But this will restrict your ability to receive bookings and your profit capacity. You’re going to miss out on loads of bookings. You really should be on as many Channels as you can to increase your bookings and profits. But without a Channel Manager, being listed on multiple Channels can be a huge nightmare.
Without a Channel Manager you need to update each Channel yourself. This guarantees that you will be overbooked regularly. It is impossible to update multiple Channels effectively 100% of the time. Imagine you only have 2 beds left for Friday. A guest arrives and while your receptionist is checking them in someone books those last 2 beds on Booking.com. Your receptionist then shows the guest to their bed. At the same time someone books the last 2 beds again on HostelWorld. Oops. Now what?
Using a Channel Manager
With a Channel Manager the chances of this happening are reduced by almost 100%. When that person books those last 2 beds on Booking.com, the booking information will be sent to your Channel Manager. It will then send information to all of your other Channels updating their availability. Then when the second person looks at HostelWorld they will see you are fully booked. If you also use a Property Management System like HostelProfessional, your Channel Manager will update the PMS whenever you receive a booking. HostelProfessional even allocates your bookings into your calendar automatically.
You may think that the price, on top of the price of a PMS, is a bit much. But just think, a Channel Manager allows you to receive bookings from so many more Channels. At the same time it reduces your admin requirements. This way the cost will easily be covered by just a few of the many extra bookings you’ll receive.
Updating you prices
Another cool feature of a Channel Manager is that it makes updating your prices so easy. You just set your prices in your Property Management System. Your new prices will the be automatically updated on all of your Channels. It also updates availability across all Channels and in your PMS when bookings are cancelled and modified. Even when bookings are manually made directly into the calendar on your PMS by your staff!
Choosing a Channel Manager
While there are many Channel Managers available, there are very few out there that cater for hostels. HostelProfessional integrates with MyAllocator, a widely used Channel Manager tailored for hostels which includes the ability to create rooms and room types that can then be synced with your Property Management System.
If you have any questions or comments about Channel Managers or HostelProfessional, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave us a comment below or get in touch via our contact information.