A recent study reveals that approximately 90% of travel bookings are done online, compared to just 50% a decade ago. This clearly explains the increasing trend of booking travel online by the consumers. It also justifies the reason why hoteliers need to master distribution and do it soon because the hotels that will invest in their channel optimization and distribution strategies will certainly emerge as the next generation of winners in the hospitality industry.

To make the task easier, having a hospitality and travel technology partner that truly understands distribution will certainly provide them a head start in this task.

We have already shared a detailed guide on “Selecting the Right Online Channel Manager”. In this article, we are going to focus on some significant features of a channel distribution tool that can help you get maximum benefit with little effort and stand out from the competition.

Most of the technology vendors offer the same set of features that make all channel manager tools in the market behave alike with similar benefits. However, a few innovative vendors offer cutting edge features, which make their solution stand apart from other channel distribution tools.

The hotels that use a modern and advance channel manager benefit from it by generating more revenue owing to increased focus on their hotel room distribution strategy. Hence, when you as a hotelier decide to invest your money in a Hotel Channel Distribution Manager, look for a feature that will completely set you apart from the crowd.

Let us understand this a little further; the whole purpose of adopting a channel manager is to make your inventory allocation, distribution, channel connection and inventory updates easier. The cost of having a channel manager will be justified only if it gives you enough benefits over the manual process of doing the same.

To explain this a bit more – Adding new online channels/OTAs is not quite an easy procedure in most of the tools available. However, a tool that can accomplish this in a few minutes will be a highly beneficial solution pertaining to the dynamic market conditions.

Thus, pioneering technology solution providers are introducing channel managers with features that can help simplify the lives of revenue managers. Every revenue manager will certainly appreciate the ability to add new channels/OTAs with just a few clicks and in a matter of minutes.

Since hotels adopting dynamic pricing have to continually adjust rates in response to ever-changing supply/demand conditions, the constant challenge is to determine the optimal room price on a given day. The whole process becomes highly time-consuming if you have to manually do this for 5-hotel chain with 100 rooms each.

A revenue manager has to keep a tab on competitor’s rate throughout the day and this might require them to change rates for their hotel’s inventory also. This could be for any specific room category or all of them. A revenue manager’s life can be much sorted if she can do this task in one go for the next 365 days of the year. This is a much-needed feature your channel manager should possess so that you are on top of the competition.

Having a channel manager with this kind of ability will free the revenue manager from this routine job, as this will be very well taken care of by the distribution tool and the revenue manager will devote her productive hours in a more strategic role than a mundane task like this.

Apart from this, when you pick your channel manager, also see the number of channels/OTAs it is connected with. An advanced channel manager tool should possess the flexibility to connect with multiple OTA’s (As many as 400- 500) seamlessly and manage their inventory, providing online distribution of room rates, real-time reservation and availability.

While these cutting-edge features are highly appreciated, we cannot ignore the importance of common features like a user-friendly navigation and user interface. Along with that, using a channel manager should not require a high level of expertise and training. A basic hands-on of the tool should enable the users to use the tool without any trouble. Having said that, it is always desirable if your technology vendors provide you 24X7 customer support. Solution providers are going a step ahead to support their customers by provisions like chat options which are available to provide live support to customers for any issue arising any time.

Focusing on online distribution strategy has become essential if hoteliers want to retain customers, improve hotel positioning, and gain a competitive lead in markets that are very often saturated with hotel supply. So, hoteliers should now be well informed as to where to invest their money when looking for an online distribution channel which gives them the most suitable services for their property. Happy Distributing!