Adopting a channel manager to help you oversee the online distribution of your property is a transformative decision. Your small hotel business will become much more efficient and generate an increase in bookings and revenue.
The demand to sell rooms online and through multiple channels means that a channel manager is typically the first port of call when small hotels choose to migrate their property management to a technology solution. So if you are reading this, it probably means that it has become too difficult to manage many connections with online travel agents simultaneously.
As you know, constantly juggling the administrative tasks of managing and updating Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, etc. becomes an unbearable waste of time and resources. Think about how long it takes you to log into the backend of each third-party channel and make adjustments. Your new channel manager will solve this problem.
There are many channel managers out there, and no single vendor is perfect for all properties, so it's important that you do your research and can invest in the right solution for your small hotel.
We believe the right solution is Little Hotelier, and this blog will help you determine the most important factors before making your final decision.
What makes Little Hotelier the best channel manager for your B&B?
Most of the channel managers you are looking for will achieve the main goals you want to see delivered:
- You can sell your rooms on more channels simultaneously without the risk of overbooking (shared inventory)
- You'll save hours each week that you can better use on other tasks around your property
However, some are much more robust than others, depending on the amount of connections they can offer and the level of integration they provide.
Little Hotelier is a heavyweight for this reason, giving you access to over 400 booking sites around the world. The importance of this is that you can put yourself on the radar of billions of travelers, many of whom can be a perfectly suited niche market for your small property or boutique. Your most lucrative booking channel might not be a big player like Booking.com - there are channels that exist just for backpacker adventurers. Little Hotelier gives you the freedom to explore the possibilities that small channels can open up when looking to grow your business' revenue.
With smartphones such a focal point in today's society, Little Hotelier responds to the philosophy of operating on the go. You can use Little Hotelier's mobile app to manage your reservations with just your phone as a business. So don't worry about taking time out of the office.
Little Hotelier can also offer a channel manager as part of an all-in-one solution with sound reception system, direct booking technology, and payment solution. Using an all-in-one system gives you full, centralized control over the management, distribution and reservations of your property. With a built-in booking engine, you can treat your website and social media channels the same as any other channel you've connected through your channel manager - making it easy to accept direct bookings without commission!
It is this advanced stack that makes Little Hotelier the best option for small properties. There is no need to use different systems when you can manage everything seamlessly from a single dashboard.
Can you use a free channel manager in your B&B?
The full functionality of a top channel manager doesn't come free, and that's because its impact on your business is worth an investment. While a channel manager may not be tangible like new furniture or accessories are, that's even more important. If you fail to get the right back-end, your front-end service will in turn suffer.
however, reliable suppliers offer a free trial period for their products so you can be convinced of their value before you start paying fees.
Little Hotelier trial period extends to 30 days, giving you a full month to analyze the difference it makes to your property. During this time, you should already begin to see how much time it saves you and how easy it is to manage your online distribution. You might even notice an increase in bookings and income after the first month.
How much does the best Channel Manager cost for small hotels?
Little Hotelier's pricing is quite flexible and very competitive within the industry.
Little Hotelier can be secured from USD 109 (GBP 87) per month if your property has five bedrooms or less. The more rooms you have, the more you will have to pay. A 15 bedroom property will be billed at USD 139 (GBP 111) per month. This is more than reasonable, some other big vendors charging $ 159 (GBP 127) per month for 15 rooms. With Little Hotelier, you can also choose to pay a reduction annually.
To find out exactly how much Little Hotelier will cost for your property, try our price scale here.
Purchase of a channel manager for your hostel: installation time and training
Once you decide to make a purchase, things should move quickly with your hand held the entire way. When you sign up for the Little Hotelier free trial, you must be contacted within one business day to begin the setup process.
You will be treated by specialist reception staff who will walk you through the trial, making sure the correct channels are connected and your property is properly configured in the system.
Group or individual training is also offered so that you know exactly how to use the product. Once you know the basics, it should be easy as most of the functions you perform will be the same every week or every month.
Little Hotelier is a very intuitive system, allowing users to quickly find their feet and feel comfortable, which means you're less likely to contact support or end your relationship.
Questions you should ask your hostel channel manager provider
With so many Channel Managers to choose from, how can you narrow your search? You need to choose one that is suitable for the size and type of your property.
When starting discussions with a potential supplier, there are a few key questions you can ask yourself so that you have all the knowledge at your disposal to make the right choice.
1. How many booking channels can you connect me to?
Obviously, it's important that your channel manager connects to the booking channels you already use, and at the end of the day, the more channels available, the better. for example Little Hotelier connects to over 400 channels.
2. Can you integrate the booking engine of my website?
Your booking engine is critical to your online presence and revenue strategy, so it's ideal if your channel manager can integrate it, otherwise you then manage your third-party and direct channels separately, which is impractical and takes longer. That's why going for an all-in-one solution can often be the best bet., since you will get a property management system, channel manager and booking engine in one package.
3. Can you provide me with full performance reports?
Knowing which channels give you the most bookings, which channels generate the most revenue on average, which have the highest cancellation rate, and other data points like these shouldn't be negotiable. If you want your business to grow and be sustainable, you need visibility into performance. If something doesn't work, you need to have a clear idea of what changes need to be made.
4. How much will it all cost?
Ideally, you'll want a plug and play model that charges you a monthly fee for full access and use of the technology. This is far better than a companion system where you will have to pay a fee each time you want to add a new channel. A good supplier won't lock you into a contract either, unless you choose an annual discount contract. Many channel managers also offer a free trial period so that you can enjoy the benefits of the product before committing to a purchase.
5. How far in advance can you manage availability?
Many travelers want to book well in advance, especially if they are traveling abroad. Properties also want to accept reservations with a certain deadline, as this makes their financial planning easier, so the more features your provider can offer here, the better.
6. How much system training is available?
Being thrown into the depths can teach you to swim, but it's not very nourishing. You'll want your vendor to help you every step of the way as you begin to use channel management technology in your small property.
7. Is support available in my time zone and language?
Nothing would be more frustrating than asking for help with a problem only to find that you have to wait for hours for a response or cannot speak to someone in your native language.
How to Select the Best Channel Manager for Your Small Hotel
Everything we have discussed so far should be taken into account when selecting your channel manager. Consider strongly all of these factors:
- Make sure it works on a bulk inventory model
- The more OTA and PMS connections, the better (ideally the number should be in the hundreds)
- Booking engine integration and two-way communication are essential
- Confirm that it has advanced report functions
- The price must be a flexible monthly rate
- Training and support must be comprehensive
- Long-term availability and planning should be achievable
Evaluate the Channel Managers of your small hotel based on reviews
It will help you if you are looking at reviews of a product. Customer reviews provide great insight, as most will come from people like you who have already sought the same solution. Their feedback will give you a reliable guide on which provider can give your property what it needs.
One of the best resources to use in this industry is Hotel technical report.
Here you will find ratings on the likelihood of a vendor being recommended, the quality of customer support, ease of use, return on investment, value for money, features, integration, and implementation. Screenshots and videos may also be available where applicable.
You will also find written customer reviews where you can see in more detail what users think of a product. Be sure to weigh the scores and written comments carefully, as some people may have concerns that are not relevant to you and vice versa.
This curious query raised many more. Namely, ' What have you done to your pants that necessitates the application of boiling water ? ', ' Are you too abondant to realise that putting your knickers in the sink and then pouring on the boiling water is far more logical ? ' and ' Have I drunk tea from a kettle that was used to clean somebody’s Y-fronts ? '
Medical experts even weighed in. Dr Heather Hendrickson, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biosciences at Massey University in Auckland, said : ' It is super super super super gross. ' That’s actually the scientific term. She added : ' Your friend is unlikely to have a large number of highly heat resistant pathogens in his dirty undergarments but we do not know what he does have in there or how sick he might be. ' Oh, there’s definitely something not right.
While Telegraph Travel cannot conceive an occasion when stuffing your briefs inside a kettle will pay off, there are many other devious, less disgusting ways to take advantage of the items found in most hotel rooms.
Better than boiled underwear is a boiled egg. And a kettle could do the emploi if you’d rather not fork out £15 for an overpriced breakfast ( we’ve even heard of people using them to cook pasta ).
The cheese toastie on the room service menu costs £10. But a loaf of bread and a wedge of cheddar from the local supermarket only costs a few quid. Turn it into melted goodness using your handy in-room iron
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch ? Not if you nab an extra bread roll, a little récipient of jam and a strawberry yoghurt from the breakfast buffer. Wrap it all up in a shower cap and you’ve saved yourself a tenner.
The British aren’t great when it comes to complaining ( Mrs Richards from Fawlty Towers being the notable exception ), but if you aren’t happy with your room, you’re entitled to say so - and to see the alternatives. Hotels, especially older ones, come in all shapes and sizes, so you might be given a better boudoir. If the hotel isn’t full you might even be get upgraded.
There’s nothing worse than curtains that don’t close properly - they guarantee an unwanted early wake-up call at the crack of dawn. So use a clothes hanger with clips to pin them together.
No in-room speakers ? Put your phone in a mug or glass to dramatically improve the sound quality of your tunes.
Isn’t it incredibly annoying when you want to shave/admire your pretty face after a hot shower but have to wait a good 10 minutes for the mirror to de-mist ? Yes. Yes, it is. Well, free yourself from the shackles of mirror fog. Before you shower ( maybe the night before ) liberally rub a portion of the mirror with a bar of soap. Then take a dry washcloth and buff the soap off. This will keep the mist from condensing on the mirror. And one soaping will last a few days.
Forgotten the plug conformer for your charger ? You could ask to borrow one from reception. Or be really self-sufficient and use a USB port in the back of the TV to charge your device.
Staying in an inner city hotel and wary about someone breaking into your room ? Hang your Do Not Disturb sign on the door and give the figure that you’re still inside having a snooze.
' Consider the unmanned housekeeper’s trolley a smash and grab situation. Pack your bags full of almond butter hand cream and guava face soap with espresso crisps. Take three of everything and get the hell out of the hallway. Even if you do get caught, just say you were out of shampoo, or, even better, out of toilet paper, and thought you’d save them the trouble by grabbing it for yourself. Think of it this way : these amenities are here for you, they are yours. We are in no place to dispute the claim that when you wash your hair you prefer to dump fifteen bottles of lavender and poppy seed shampoo all over your scalp like some gooey shower freak. '
And, if the room doesn’t come with conditioner, or you’ve forgotten your phone charger, just ask at the front desk. Hair products, deodorant and phone chargers are apparently the items most often left behind by guests, so the hotel might have a box of each - but ask nicely.