When people think of hotels, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the image of a high-rise building that holds a fancy looking lounge, elegant en suite, and expensive bridal suites. When asked with regard to what they think will make a hotel business successful, the first thing that will also come to mind is the image of a friendly receptionist with an accommodating smile plastered on her face, waiting patiently in the reception area.
Many think that the success of a hotel business solely depends on the quality of the accommodation a hotel owner and its employees can offer. But no one remembers the amount of overwhelming management tasks that involve operations like the business’s inventory management.
Apparently, the success of a hotel business also depends on the organized execution of complex back office operations.
An Overview of the Hotel Business’s Success
With many people seeking travel adventures from anywhere in the globe, it is no wonder that the hotel industry has been labeled one of the rising industries over the years. In fact, in the latest statistics conducted, the global hotel industry was projected to make a profit of $550 billion in 2016.
The hospitality industry, which hotel businesses are a part of, was able to house 9.5 million workers in Europe. The industry makes up 4.4% of Europe’s total employment which is the reason why it is among the fastest growing sectors in the continent.
According to hospitalitynet.org, certain trends have contributed to this success. The most influential factor that has helped the industry reach the place where it is now is technology.
The internet, along with newly developed mobile devices and software applications, has become a great contributor to the industry’s success. As a result, more than 50% of hotel bookings today happen online.
Hotels these days make use of modern means like software solutions to enhance the service they provide to their consumers. These tools also help in the execution of particular back office tasks. A software solution that hotels use is called a channel management software.
What Is Channel Management?
Before we learn about channel management software, let us first know what channel management is and its importance in the hotel industry.
Channel management refers to the preparation of room charges and room availability in a hotel. The hotel’s inventory has to be frequently updated all throughout the distribution channels like travel wholesalers and direct online bookings. This is necessary so that hotels can avoid overbooking.
Apparently, managing these booking channels manually can take up a lot of time and work. Hotel businesses make use of these software solutions to help in the automation of the tasks that require data entry. This is extremely helpful so that they can instead focus on other business operations, especially in accommodating customers.
Channel Management Software: How It Helps Hotel Businesses
After learning about channel management, let’s now go to channel management software. What is channel management software, exactly?
A channel management system is a software solution that helps in the automation process of tasks like inventory distribution. It also aids in minimizing the delays and troubles accompanying the hitches brought by incompatible inventory and overbooking.
During the peak of travel seasons, the management of room availability can become utterly difficult as many numbers of customers often rush for the inadequate amount of hotel rooms accessible. This then adds up to the strain and hassle brought by the piles of workloads that hotel businesses are compelled to take care of.
Aside from that, hotel businesses should also make sure that their rates are competitive enough in order to keep their business sailing. But, the charges they offer should also be reasonable for their clients to afford and are likewise following the trends of the industry.
Now, why do businesses need to invest in a channel management software? Hotels that work with channels have to manage room availability and other different packages. Executing these tasks may become really tiresome, particularly when multiple channels are used. So, investing in a software solution that can help with the automation of some of these important operations is truly a great lift.
Some hotel business holders make the common mistake of manually performing these management tasks. Doing the job this way takes longer and is more straining. Manually administering these channels is not a wise decision at all. Let us take a look at the reason why.
What Challenges Does Manual Channel Management Face?
All tasks, when done manually, always have its ups and downs. But often times, doing the work manually is more disadvantageous than it is beneficial. This situation is true for the hotel business industry. Here are the reasons why manual channel management is a drawback according to hotelogix.com.
- Manual channel management often results in human errors which can affect the revenue of the business.
- It wastes your time and energy in administering varying kinds of channels.
- The danger of reliability loss from your customers caused by rate discrepancy is always present.
- It may also result in needless conflicts with travel agents.
When you invest in a channel management software for hotels, all these challenges will be addressed. Plus, you can get the benefit of administering your room inventory and charges from one place.
Choosing the Right Channel Management Software
If the importance of channel management to a firm has been made clear to you, then most probably you are now ready to search for the right software solution for your hotel business.
These days, the market of channel management has bloomed along with the advancements of the hotel industry. A lot of channel management systems have suddenly popped up with their promises of giving you the top quality service at a cheap price. Most of the time, these software solutions providers do not always stay true to their words. Hence, how can you choose the right channel management software to aid you?
Below is a list of questions about channel management software’s functionalities that you should ask before you purchase the software solution.
- How many are the connected channels?
It is important to know whether a channel management system can manage your charges all throughout the channels that you need to administer. Aside from that, you also have to know the number of connected channels that are made available.
- How easy is it to connect a new channel?
Check how long it takes for you to add an additional channel to the set of channels that you are already administering. You also need to know how difficult it is to include a new channel that is not yet found in the list of your connected channels so far.
- What kind of connection is it?
Find out what kind of connections the software solution has. In reality, there are different types of channels out in the open, and quite a number of them won’t be proficient enough to build XML links in order to help direct inventory and rates to channel management systems.
- Does the system allow you to mark important event dates?
This feature is helpful so that people who are using the system will be notified about the particular essentiality of the dates that they are handling.
- How about the software’s training and support?
Check if there will be training available after you purchase the software solution. If there is, find out who are going to conduct the said training.
Aside from these five mentioned, there are still a lot of channel management software functionalities that can guide you in finding the right software solution. You can know more about it here.
Channel Management Software Solutions Additional Purchasing Tips
Now, here are some additional tips to help you choose the fitting channel management software for your business.
- Visit Product Review websites like com.
You have probably already visited one or two product review sites while you were surfing the web. These sites are great places to start your search. You can gain meaningful and useful insights coming from people who have already experienced the product you are eyeing.
- Check the reliability of your possible software provider.
In order to avoid unwanted scenarios like doing business with dishonest software providers who will give you hidden fees, it is important to scrutinize their reliability. Most of these product providers have their own websites where you can find useful information about the software system that they are selling. Also, past customers who had done business deals with them must have left some honest and useful reviews about the software provider’s performance that can be beneficial for you.
- Make software solutions comparison.
After you got your list of possible software solutions which you can choose from, that’s the time you conduct some comparisons. Find out what each software found on your list has to offer, and decide which among them can serve your business best.
If the purpose of the hotel industry is to make their customers feel at ease and comfortable as possible, then these businesses also have every right to be at ease while doing work. These channel management best practices help a lot in maintaining a smooth and well-working hotel operation. If you are planning to have your own hotel business, purchasing a channel management software as one of your tools in improving your hotel operations is a great starting point for you.
Know more about hotel management. Read reviews about channel management software and learn how these tools help hotel businesses enhance their level of performance.
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