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5 features of an exceptional channel manager for your innovative living business

Is your channel manager holding you back? 

A standard channel manager advertises your properties online, widening your reach to customers across the globe. But, an exceptional channel manager offers much more than just property promotion – automatically pushing the best rates to maximise your revenue per unit, and generating real-time analytics to improve channel performance. If you’re not using an exceptional channel manager, you’re leaving potential revenue on the table. 

Here are five key features separating the best channel managers from the rest of the pack. 

1. A blend of popular and specialist channels 

Is your channel manager limited to the major online travel agents (OTA)?, Expedia, Airbnb and Agoda dominate the OTA market. In fact, received a staggering 556 million visits in April 2024 alone. A good channel manager advertises your properties on these OTAs, increasing their visibility to a wider general audience who otherwise would not find you online. But, an exceptional channel manager connects your available units to major OTA channels and specialist channels, enabling you to target your ideal customer type for specific properties. 

Take the fact that digital nomad lifestyles have increased 131% since 2019. If you’re a serviced apartment or coliving operator, you can target remote workers through specialist channels developed specifically for the coliving market – like Young Global Living, Nomad Stays, or Flatio. Meanwhile, if you’re a BTR operator, focus on long-term rentals through Rightmove, or use student channels like Casita if you manage PBSA properties. 

In short: diversify between sales channels and attract the right guests for each property with an exceptional channel manager. 

2. Optimised listings for specific guests

Does your channel manager allow you to tweak listings per channel so they chime with the right audience? 

In today’s era where blended stays and mixed hospitality properties are increasing in popularity, your channel manager should promote more than one homogenous apartment listing to one type of guest. Within one building alone, you may be targeting short-term studio lets as well as fixed year-long leases in a two-bed apartment. As such, you need a channel manager that automatically updates listings across channels with targeted approaches. 

A best-in-class channel manager automates listings for various channels through your property management system (PMS), enabling you to cultivate a community of like-minded people for your coliving property, for example, or attracting the right blend of thirty-something remote workers for your rural apartment hub. For instance, list your long-stay BTR units with floor plans, 360° apartment videos, and high-quality images showing off your apartment’s best features, property amenities, and information about the local area. Meanwhile, list short-term units with information about community events, communal areas, and your well-being services. 

In short: an exceptional channel manager allows you to increase occupancy within a specific building with targeted approaches. 

3. Synced with your PMS

Does your channel manager fight with your property management system, or work seamlessly with all your digital tools? 

Standard channel managers are standalone pieces of software that can be integrated with your property management system. But exceptional channel managers are integrated into your PMS, and synchronised across your PMS features, enabling frictionless channel management. 

For example, if a guest books a unit through Vrbo, a standard channel manager automatically updates its availability on all other channels. But an integrated channel manager goes further: it automatically logs the booking in your PMS, kickstarting a host of automated processes, such as setting housekeeping activities for the chosen unit and rolling out automated emails to the customer for key information. In addition, a synchronised channel manager alerts your PMS about the booking length of stay, automating the booking process (i.e. a long stay enquiry will be directed to a contact form on your website or taken through your distinct long-stay booking process). 

With a synced channel manager, PMS automation also minimises human errors (i.e. typing in the wrong details), eradicates the chances of double-bookings, and saves managers’ time. For example, your finance team can save time by using PMS auto-payment collection to take payments on specific dates for channel bookings (i.e. non-refundable bookings would be taken instantly at the time of booking, but for bookings that are refundable up to 24h before check-in, the synced PMS will take the payment 24h before the start date). 

In short: an exceptional channel manager streamlines your operations and simplifies property management. 

4. Real-time push rates with dynamic pricing

Does your channel manager only push simple set rates for your properties? 

If you set arbitrary seasonal rates for your properties, you’re not only missing out on revenue per unit, you’re failing to capitalise on supply and demand fluctuations that increase occupancy. A standard channel manager pushes set rates in your property management system, but an exceptional channel manager leverages dynamic pricing tools, an example being PriceLabs, to set the best rate per unit, updating these rates daily across all your channels without you lifting a finger. 

Choose dynamic pricing settings that analyse your booking data (i.e. lead-time and seasonal popularity) and examine local competitors’ rates for that exact time of the year and location to set a ‘true value’ rate. Dynamic pricing software also boosts your occupancy – set your channel manager to automatically offer reduced rates and reduce your minimum stay duration for units that are ‘in between’ bookings (i.e. the week between two three-month stays) and minimise any vacancy gaps. 

In short: receive the most value for your units with minimal effort by syncing your channel manager with dynamic pricing tools.

5. In-depth analytics

Does your channel manager provide insightful data?

A standard channel manager pushes listings to various channels and provides simple data on the number of bookings per channel. Although this data is helpful, it doesn’t go deep enough for you to optimise your channel strategy and increase occupancy. Meanwhile, an exceptional channel manager collects data on channel performance, learning which listings resonate with different customer types and which properties generate the most revenue per unit. 

In other words, your channel manager optimises revenue generation. Find out which sites are getting the most traction and push specific marketing actions to these sites (i.e. launching special offers or increasing paid advertising spend), improving awareness amongst your most qualified customer types. Use the best-performing listings as a template for other channels too. 

In short: an exceptional channel manager doesn’t just advertise your property to the market, it syncs with your PMS to collect data and analyse the market to improve your advertising, giving you a competitive advantage. 

Do you have a standard channel manager or an exceptional channel manager?

Is your channel manager sufficient for your growth needs? Ask yourself these five questions. 

Does your channel manager:

  • Offer a range of popular and specialist channels?
  • Allow listings management per channel and guest type?
  • Seamlessly sync with your PMS booking system and payment collection processes?
  • Leverage dynamic pricing software via your PMS?
  • Work with your PMS to generate in-depth insights on channel performance?

If not, you need a better channel manager. 

At res:harmonics, our exceptional channel manager connects to a mix of OTAs and specialist sites, automatically pushing rates, synchronising portfolio availability and receiving real-time bookings. It’s designed specifically to increase occupancy and maximise revenue, integrating seamlessly with our property management system.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Serviced Apartment Management Software 2024 to learn how property management software supports serviced apartment operators.

Request a demo to find out more. 

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