When you start your activity in the short term rentals market, you often start hearing several technical terms specific to the environment, such as channel manager, OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies), PMS (Private Management Systems), rates, cancellation policies, refunds, overbookings, reviews and so on. All these terms are very common in the management of short term rentals and some are also common to traditional hotels. In this article, we will explain what a channel manager is and why it should be used.
What is a channel manager?
A channel manager is a system that aggregates all the important information about a house and communicates it to other platforms involved, bringing several advantages:
1. Advertise the house on several booking platforms
With a channel manager system, it is much easier to place your house on several booking websites, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Tripadvisor or Homeaway, since the system is responsible for managing calendars and receiving and sharing all information with other platforms.
Related article: AirBnB, Booking or Homeaway? Discover the differences
2. Better management of availability dates
As this system updates the information to the second, the risk of overbooking (overlapping reservations for the same dates) is greatly reduced. All new bookings, cancellations and modifications are automatically reflected in the calendars of all platforms connected to the channel manager.
3. Automatic price management
The same goes for prices. A good channel manager aggregates all the information about the daily rates at different times, automatically communicating these updates to the different platforms, saving you a lot of time and trouble (imagine if someone makes a reservation in the high season even with low season prices…).
4. Have the same information in all ads
In most systems, you can also edit all your home information, such as descriptions, features, amenities, addresses, cancellation and payment policies, without having to make changes to each website.
Related article: How to choose a short term rentals management company
5. Improved financial and billing management
Some channel manager packages also include a billing system and operational management tools, receipt management, performance reports and statistical information, facilitating the entire accounting process.
The risk of not having a channel manager
The use of a channel manager is recommended as you have a larger number of houses to manage, reducing the risk of overbookings, refunds for problems of this source and/or costs of re-accommodating guests in new properties.
Related article: Short term rentals: Manage yourself or hire a company?
Some examples of Channel Managers for short term rentals
- Little Hotelier
How much does a Channel Manager cost?
The bad news is that the main channel managers are paid, whether through a monthly fee or for each listed house or reservation made. The good news is that short term rentals management companies include this software in their services, ensuring that your house is advertised on multiple platforms at the same time, with no extra work or additional costs.
At Feels Like Home we are always focused on developing tools that allow us to improve day-to-day management, so we have our own property management system and we use the best and most complete channel managers. Learn more about the services we provide here.
Feel free to download our ebook and find all the information you need to ensure that your home meets all the legal and tax requirements of the short-term rental law in Portugal.