What’s the most important serviced apartment software for attracting guests? A channel manager.
A channel manager connects your pricing and availability to a range of online travel agents (OTAs) and distribution channels, receiving and updating bookings in real-time. It’s an essential cog in any serviced apartment property management system to advertise your units, boost online visibility and increase bookings. Here’s why all operators should use a serviced apartment channel manager.
- Raise awareness of your units
With an increasing number of travellers using online travel agents (OTAs), including Airbnb, Expedia and Booking.com, a serviced apartment channel manager not only puts your properties in the search bars of thousands of potential customers, but extends your reach to all corners of the globe.
That’s just the basics. A great channel manager also advertises your properties on specialist sites that are better suited to your ideal customer profile. For example, res:harmonics channel manager for serviced apartments lists your units with corporate housing specialists Silverdoor and Rightmove for longer-term stays. As such, you’re not only increasing your properties’ visibility, but doing so with more qualified leads.
- Minimise booking mistakes
Using a channel manager eradicates the problem of double-booking and significantly reduces chances of human error during the booking process. A channel manager synchronises your availability calendar with all channels, so that a booking on one site updates listings on the other channels and into your property management system in real-time. As customers can only book available rooms, you’re not only increasing your chances of reaching max occupancy, but also avoiding any rearrangement hassle, which can negatively impact guest experience.
What’s more, as the channel manager is automated, there is less risk of managers accidentally pushing out the wrong information while updating listings or bookings.
- Save management time and resources
A channel manager automatically updates rates, availability and content, reducing operators’ administrative burden and freeing up resources to focus on more important issues, such as guest experience. For instance, res:harmonics channel manager is integrated with our serviced apartment PMS to provide all booking and listing details in an easy-to-use dashboard. Instead of manually listing a property on multiple sites, managers simply update inventory data on the internal system - i.e. new prices, new photos or additional amenities - and concurrently push them out to all sites.
In addition, channel managers provide a range of insightful data that boosts efficiency. For instance, res:harmonics PMS gathers data on which channels generate more sales and channels that are more prone to cancellations, enabling you to change individual rates or cancellation policies accordingly.
- Increase bookings
Now, the obvious part: listing your properties on a wide range of qualified sites will improve your chances of taking bookings. According to the Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report 2020-2021, OTAs are now operators’ biggest channel for bookings (37%) followed by booking directly through a website (26%). By using OTAs, serviced apartment businesses not only tap into the current trend of online booking (phones and walk-ins are a thing of the past), but also take advantage of OTAs’ huge marketing budgets. For example, every dollar that Expedia spends on SEO, meta searches and TV advertising (Expedia’s 2021 marketing budget was $4.2 billion) helps extend the reach of your properties too.
Now, the less obvious part: widespread OTA exposure through a serviced apartment channel manager also boosts direct bookings. Many customers use OTAs as a catalogue, identifying a shortlist of potential properties before checking the website directly for more information. As such, if you combine a channel manager with a great direct booking engine, you’ll reap the exposure benefits brought by OTAs and the rate benefits of direct booking.
- Enhance revenue
Whether you’re using a channel manager through OTA sales or direct bookings, this technology maximises revenue from your units in various ways. Firstly, all booking data - i.e. rates, lead-time, seasonal popularity and guest preferences - are stored in a channel manager, which provides management with all the information to optimise listing rates. Secondly, you ensure rate parity across channels or offer discounts on selected sites, to encourage bookings and minimise booking gaps. Thirdly, a channel manager is integrated within your property management system to streamline management and minimise booking errors.
To fully maximise revenue with a channel manager, it’s important to use a dynamic pricing tool to determine your properties’ best rates. res:harmonics channel manager for serviced apartments regularly scans for competitor prices, regional occupancy levels, and demand and supply variations, automatically lowering rates in slow times and increasing prices during peak periods.
Res:harmonics channel manager for serviced apartments
Our in-built channel manager has been specifically designed for serviced apartment operators. With an easy-to-use functionality and dynamic pricing, operators can watch the bookings roll in.