Once you start working in the vacation rentals industry, you’re faced with loads of new terms that you hear all the time, even if you don’t know exactly what they mean. One of the most common things you’ll hear being talked about is a “Channel Manager”, with everyone quick to tell you that you simply must use one – even if you don’t know what it is or why you should use it. This article will explain what a Channel Manager is, how it’s relevant to the vacation rentals industry and help you to determine if you need one.

What is a Channel Manager?

In the simplest terms, a “Channel” (or sometimes “Sales Channel”) is basically any website through which guests make vacation rental bookings. Examples include big global sites like Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia, as well as more local sites like Locasun or niche channels like misterb&b.

If you want a successful rental business, you need to advertise your properties on as many of these different channels as possible. This allows you to reach many more potential guests and diversifies your revenue streams. You could create and manage listings, calendars, bookings and payouts separately on each site, but that’s a huge amount of work, especially if you have multiple properties.

Instead, most rental professionals use a “Channel Manager”. A Channel Manager is a tool which connects or distributes your online property listing to different websites to make it easier for you to manage. Some Channel Managers only send the listing content (for example the pictures, descriptions and facilities) to each channel, whereas others are also able to send additional information such as prices and calendar availability.

Who should consider using a channel manager?

Basically, anyone who manages a rental property and is serious about receiving bookings should be using a Channel Manager. This is especially important for those managing multiple properties, as keeping on top of all your listings on all the different websites is an incredible amount of work without a Channel Manager tool.

How do Channel Managers work?

Different Channel Managers work in different ways. Some require you to create an account on every channel you want to use. You then create a listing and connect it to your chosen channels, but you still need to maintain each account and may need to manage things like bookings or calendars separately.

Your.Rentals offers a Channel Manager which doesn’t require you to manage separate accounts on each channel. Instead, you create a listing and it gets sent to all of your chosen channels. Whenever you update your listing content, calendars or prices, these changes will be made on every channel you use. You also manage all your bookings and payouts in one place.

Why should I use a Channel Manager?

Channel Managers are really useful because they save you a huge amount of time and effort. Using a Channel Manager allows you to:

  • Maximise your chances of receiving bookings by advertising to different audiences
  • Increase your brand exposure and awareness in different markets
  • Diversify your revenue streams
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend on manual updates
  • Increase your visibility without increasing your workload or headcount

For more info, check out 6 Practical Reasons Why You Need Channel Manager Software.

Do I need a Channel Manager and how much does it cost?

If you:

  • Manage one or more rental properties
  • Want to get more bookings
  • Don’t want to hire lots of extra staff or spend needless time on repetitive tasks

Then you should probably be using a Channel Manager!

The best Channel Managers take the hard work out of Property Management, like simplifying confusing commission structures. Ideally, you would use a complete vacation rental software solution which combines Channel Management with other tools like Calendar Sync and Market Analytics.

Some Channel Managers require a set-up fee, or have monthly subscription costs (or both), and some charge you per listing or per Channel connection. Your.Rentals doesn’t have any of that. Instead, it’s entirely performance based – you only pay a percentage per booking, so you only pay for a service that delivers.

Summary

An effective Channel Manager is an absolute must for anyone hoping to run a successful vacation rental business. It distributes your rental properties to multiple sites, and removes much of the manual work that can make renting tedious, time consuming or complicated. You should combine a Channel Manager with other tools like Calendar Sync for a complete business management solution.