Anyone involved in the hospitality industry for 5+ years understands how the internet has changed the rules, especially when it comes to bookings, promotions, current rates, and availability.

Modern hoteliers must leverage online reservation platforms to maximize revenue, but managing multiple platforms and tracking real-time metrics can be challenging. This is where the power of a channel manager comes into play.

What exactly is a hotel channel manager? How does this digital architecture function, and what are some of its primary benefits? These are a few of the questions we'll address below. 

Table of contents

What is a channel manager for hotels? 

A hotel channel manager is a tool designed to help hotel owners effectively manage customer data, online inventory, and price rates. It enables hotels to update their information across multiple platforms simultaneously, providing a streamlined and user-friendly way to keep potential guests informed and make educated decisions in real time.

This is far more efficient compared to manually monitoring multiple sales channels through traditional in-house methods. By using a channel manager, property owners can spend less time focusing on updating online platforms and more energy on marketing, client engagement, and sales.

what is a channel manager for hotels

How does a channel manager work?

As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of a channel manager is to provide real-time updates across multiple online distribution portals. 

In many ways, the mechanics of a channel manager are similar to other pipeline management software. Users are given a centralized dashboard supporting various functions like accessing live room rates, availability, and vacancies. Hotel owners and managers can then make changes through this single system. 

While this is undoubtedly advantageous for smaller boutique properties, it provides even more targeted solutions for larger hotels and franchised chains with a strong presence across multiple OTAs. 

Is this feature important? Current research indicates that at least 83 percent of customers prefer to book hotel reservations online. Channel managers can automatically update your hotel information across a wide range of channels, including major platforms like: 

  • Expedia 
  • Vrbo 
  • Airbnb 

This system is seamlessly integrated with hospitality platforms such as Mews. Any changes made in the property management system will be synchronized with the channel manager and then updated across all online platforms. 

Does your property need a channel manager?

If you want to determine whether your property needs a channel manager, you should consider your property’s size, distribution strategy, and operational needs. You may want to consider employing a channel manager for the following reasons. 

Multiple distribution channels 

If your hotel sells through various distribution channels, a channel manager can be a valuable tool to centralize inventory management and ensure rate parity. This simplifies the process of updating rates in real time. 

Competitive advantage 

If your hotel is expanding and you aim to optimize distribution, enhance visibility, and maximize revenue, implementing a channel manager can provide a competitive advantage by reaching a broader market more efficiently. 

Reduce friction in manual processes 

If you have multiple staff members managing reservations across various channels, a channel manager is advisable to prevent overbookings or pricing discrepancies due to human error. It eliminates manual data entry and streamlines distribution through automation. 

You are looking to grow 

If you’re looking to grow and improve your brand recognition, a channel manager might be a good idea. This allows guests who have never stayed with you to book through channels they already trust, helping to build your brand's reputation through strategic reputation management.

What are the advantages of using a hotel channel manager?

Using a channel manager is essential for staying ahead of the competition. This hotel software excels by providing hotel managers with benefits such as: 

  • Efficiency 
  • Centralization 
  • Automation 
  • Scalability 
  • Customer satisfaction 

These advantages make channel managers some of the most reliable and effective tools in the hotel industry: 

You can focus on other tasks 

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that this software enables property owners and managers to refocus on other core competencies such as sales, guest engagement, and on-site services. In essence, channel management software saves a significant amount of time. 

Your inventory is up to date 

Channel managers provide the clarity and insight necessary to make informed decisions promptly. This is crucial for meeting the needs of potential guests and keeping them updated on important changes as they occur. 

Increased online bookings 

Moreover, channel management software can boost online bookings by allowing stakeholders to connect with more OTAs. A strong virtual presence is essential, as it increases exposure and enhances brand recognition. These advantages are difficult to achieve solely through conventional methods.

How to use a channel manager in the hospitality industry

How can channel managers be applied to real-world scenarios within the hospitality sector? We've highlighted the ability to enhance online booking rates, but this is just the beginning. 

Channel managers provide a centralized means to monitor all important metrics. With the ability to modify figures instantaneously, reservations are processed much faster compared to traditional methods, reducing the confusion of multi-channel oversight and minimizing the risk of overbookings. This leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. 

In the realm of hospitality analytics, rate optimization is crucial due to industry competition. Managers can better understand which channels are most effective and when to adjust rates based on demand, particularly during peak seasons. 

An unexpected benefit of channel management systems is their potential to increase direct bookings. Many customers discover hotels through OTAs before visiting the official website. By leveraging a channel manager to create a synced booking engine on your website, you can capitalize on this traffic. 

Lastly, channel managers should not be viewed as standalone software. When integrated with flexible and user-centered property management system like Mews, they enhance functionality for both hoteliers and guests, offering the best of both worlds.

use a channel manager in the hospitality industry

4 best channel manager strategies

There are numerous strategies to maximize your hotel's use of a channel manager. Let’s explore four of the most common ones: 

Optimize channels 

Allocate inventory and promotional efforts to channels that yield the best results. Prioritize well-performing channels based on cost-effectiveness, number of bookings, and revenue generated. 

Ensure rate parity 

Maintain rate parity across all channels to build trust and loyalty. Regularly monitor rates across distribution channels to avoid price discrepancies. 

Develop a clear strategy 

Align your channel management strategy with business objectives. Conduct market analysis to identify effective channels for reaching your target audience. Select and prioritize channels and establish clear KPIs for each. 

Adapt to market trends 

Keep your channel management strategies dynamic and adaptable to market changes. Anticipate market trends through forecasting and stay informed about industry developments such as hyper-personalization, AI, sustainability, and leveraging multiple channels. This knowledge will help you stay relevant and responsive to market demands.

What to consider when choosing a channel manager?

When selecting a channel manager, ensure it aligns with your business model and integrates seamlessly with your existing systems, such as your PMS. Ideally, choose a cloud-based channel manager for easy access from any location. 

Additionally, prioritize a channel manager that allows for quick, real-time updates of availability and prices. Ensure you receive real-time inventory updates to stay informed about your inventory status.  

Opt for a system that supports pooled inventory to maximize the display of available rooms across all channels without the risk of double bookings. This will help streamline operations and enhance the efficiency of your distribution strategy.

How much does a Channel Manager cost?

The pricing of a channel manager can vary based on several factors, including your property's size, the number of rooms, the included features and functionalities, and the chosen pricing model. Some channel managers charge subscription fees, which can range from a few hundred dollars per month for small properties to several thousand for larger hotels. Others may apply commission fees or charge for setup and implementation.

Certain channel managers may also offer additional features and add-ons for an extra cost, or they might provide personalized support services at an additional fee. Larger hotels managing multiple properties might qualify for volume discounts or customized pricing arrangements based on their specific needs and usage of the channel manager.  

It's important to evaluate these factors carefully to choose a channel manager that aligns with your budget and requirements.


Online competition is fierce in the hospitality industry, making it essential to leverage the most advanced tools available. Channel management solutions will continue to have a significant impact within our sector, and managers who can harness their advantages are positioning themselves for success in the future.