The 9 Best Hotel Channel Managers in 2019

Having the best product out there won’t do you any good if your target audience can’t find it. You know that, so you’ve partnered with online travel agencies (OTAs) to increase your reach.

But with that came the need to keep your rates and inventory up to date on all your channels… and the more channels you’re present on, the more work it is.

If you’re currently part of the 50% of hotels who don’t use a channel manager, you’re probably spending hours every week uploading and updating rates, wondering where parity issues are coming from and pulling your hair wishing there was a way to make all this easier and quicker.

Enter the channel manager, an application designed to help accommodation providers efficiently manage their online distribution.

What makes them so great? A good channel manager connects your property to hundreds of OTAs, cuts admin work by keeping prices updated everywhere, helps you manage inventory and rate parity and can boost direct bookings.

Sources including Hotel Tech Report (HTR) and Skift have found that, depending on the size of your property and the number of channels you use, you could be saving 20 or more hours a week and increase occupancy by at least 10%, just by using a channel manager.

In short, a good channel manager is like a virtual assistant doing your grunt work, so you have time for the fun stuff.

With the distribution landscape becoming more and more complex, the need for a channel manager is getting more urgent – unless you enjoy uploading rates manually and leaving direct booking revenue on the table.

That means it’s time to…

Pick the right channel manager for your property

In the past few years, channel management technology has developed by leaps and bounds. From simple one-way integrations where only rate uploads were supported, we’ve graduated to two-way integrations which let you manage inventory, automatically stop selling when you’re full and so much more.

Connections to new players like Airbnb are also a big deal, especially for boutique hotels and vacation rentals, and set today’s top channel managers apart from their simpler peers.

To get a piece of the pie, some PMS providers have started adding a direct connection to OTAs to their systems. While some see this as a threat to channel management providers and you might wonder if it’s worth it to invest in one if your PMS already offers a direct OTA connection, long-standing channel managers have one big advantage: they’ve built their systems on years of experience and are able to dedicate resources and attention to them – something a PMS provider with a direct connection to a few OTAs can’t even begin to compare to.

Now, back to finding the right solution for you. Getting a channel manager isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Which one is right for you depends on several factors including:

> The type and size of your property (Is it a hotel, resort, hostel or vacation rental?)

> Which software you’re already using? (Does it integrate with your PMS?)

> Your rate setup’s complexity (How many room categories and rate codes do you have?

> What you need and want (Is your goal to simply distribute rates or do you also want to set rate rules, get data insights and analytics?)

> Whether one- or two-way connection is needed

> Your budget (the most expensive software is not always the best fit

With dozens of channel managers out there, researching can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a list of top-rated channel managers for everything from large chain and independent hotels to hostels, inns and vacation rentals below. Don’t despair, your perfect match is out there!

SiteMinder touts itself as the most powerful channel manager today and their great reviews support the claim. Developed by hoteliers for hoteliers, this system has recorded impressive results like boosting client’s direct bookings by 20% and leading to revenue growth of 30% or more in some cases.

Pros:
>Real-time connection to ensure rate parity

>Offers stop sell to easily manage overbooking

>Booking rules such as minimum length of stay or limits on discounts

>Allows real-time connection and inventory updates to Airbnb

Cons:
>Busy layout of dashboard and booking screens

>Reports are hard to customise and can make data processing difficult

Who it’s for: every type of accommodation provider, from B&Bs to international hotel chains

Channel connectivity: 2-way integration with over 400 OTAs, wholesales and global distribution systems (GDS)

Integrations: over 300 property management systems (PMS) including Mews, Opera and Protel

Pricing: € 169/month for 100 rooms, flexible rates depending on the number of rooms, save 5% with a yearly subscription

Plug-in your favourite channel managers in minutes..

Although its channel manager has yet to be reviewed on the likes of Capterra and HotelTechReport, the rest of their solutions all score in the 80s – 90s and their Demand360 market intelligence product even won HotelTechReport’s 2019 award for the category. Also, with 25,000 clients around the world, they must be doing something right.

Pros:
>Automated updates to ensure rate parity across all channels

>Customisable to any property’s size and type

>Improved guest experience by avoiding overbooking through real-time inventory updates

>Easy access to visual data on the current state of distribution

Cons:
>Some users consider TravelClick less intuitive than other tools

Who it’s for: various types of accommodation providers, from B&Bs to international hotel chains

Channel connectivity: 2-way integration with more than 400 global, regional and specialty tour operators and OTAs, wholesalers and GDS

Integrations: Mews and other leading PMS

Pricing: upon request

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After Availpro and Fastbooking joined to form d-edge, the company is now ranked number one in Europe and number three worldwide among hotel distribution technology providers. Availpro’s tech expertise and Fastbooking’s marketing savvy come together to make the most of their online presence.

Pros:
>Fully automated rate rules

>Rates and availability updated automatically on all channels to maintain rate parity

>User-friendly, mobile-optimised interface and easy set-up

>Tool available in over 35 languages

Who it’s for: medium to large independent and group hotels as well as aparthotels

Channel connectivity: close to 300 OTAs, GDS and metasearch sites reaching markets around the world

Integrations: nearly 150 PMS including Mews, Opera and 5stelle, with several new integrations in the pipeline

Pricing: upon request

While the name might remind you of some dreaded calculus theorem, Cubilis is a helpful channel manager for small to medium-sized properties wanting to broaden their reach in the online market. Their live updates and 2-way connectivity with leading OTAs make online distribution efficient, prevent overbooking and limit rate disparity.

Pros:
>Manage rates and availability on all online channels on one central dashboard

>Stable, cloud-based software reduces time spent on manual updates

>Very user-friendly and intuitive platform

>No booking fee

Cons:
>Limited reporting available despite the platform being able to collect valuable data

Who it’s for: hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals

Channel connectivity: ‘Preferred IT Partner’ with Booking.com and Expedia, ‘Premium TripConnect’ partner of TripAdvisor, connects to around 150 OTAs, meta search sites and wholesalers with many new partnerships coming soon

Integrations: Mews, Amadeus, Protel and over 30 other PMS

Pricing: upon request

Are you a hotelier hungry for automation, innovation and integrations?

Proud as its namesake, RateTiger by eRevMax claims to be the industry’s most stable channel manager with 99.9% system uptime and top security certification. With 83% of current clients recommending the, it looks like they’re onto something. Seamless 2-way connectivity with global, regional and niche distribution partners, gives users access to a wide range of target markets and simplifies rate and inventory management.

Pros:
>Automated inventory distribution to improve yielding

>ISO, PCI compliant and GDPR certified for maximum security

>Includes social media and metasearch distribution

>Quick access to reservations reports to monitor bookings and cancellations status

Cons:
>Some parts of set-up and mapping still have to be done manually

Who it’s for: medium to large branded hotels and resorts

Channel connectivity: Booking.com, agoda, Ctrip, Trivago, AMADEUS and close to 250 more OTAs, GDS and meta search sites

Integrations: Mews, Agilisys, Protel and 60 other PMS

Pricing: upon request

Another solution inspired by the animal kingdom, Hotel Spider’s cloud-based software puts hoteliers back in charge of their online distribution and has helped some of them boost occupancy by up to 30%. A straightforward platform with 2-way connection to top OTAs and GDS, Hotel Spider is customisable to any rate strategy and offers flexibility in managing rates and availability. Nobody told us what that has to do with spiders…

Pros:
>No set-up, training, support or booking fees

>Easy drag and drop mapping of room rates and restrictions

>Customisation of price derivations to allow dynamic rate changes

>Access to change logs provides full transparency on all data exchanges

Cons:
>Limited channel connectivity compared to other channel managers

Who it’s for: medium to large independent hotels

Channel connectivity: Booking.com, Venere are among the 150 connected channels

Integrations: Mews, Protel, Noray and around 60 other PMS

Pricing: starts from €29/month for the light plan (includes 15 products*, 5 channel connections)

€55/month for the standard plan (includes 100 products*, unlimited channel connections)

€89/month for the premium plan (includes 1000 products*, unlimited channel connections, dedicated account manager)

*one room type or one rate plan is considered a product

Trusted by some of the biggest names in hospitality and recommended by 80% of current users, SynXis offers an unrivalled platform of integrated solutions. Some customers report up to 20% more bookings and room nights and a 30% increase in revenue after using the tool. SynXis is for hoteliers who want a complete package where everything is in one place and all systems talk to each other.

Pros:
>Live 2-way integration enforces rate parity and minimises overbooking

>Industry-leading reach to global, local, regional and specialty distribution channels

>Easily apply advanced pricing strategies and restrictions

>Quickly update rates for selected dates on all platforms

Cons:
>The channel manager only comes as part of the whole SynXis platform and the corresponding price tag

Who it’s for: medium to large hotels, resorts and chains

Channel connectivity: 2-way integration with more than 400 global, regional and specialty tour operators and OTAs, wholesalers and GDS

Integrations: Opera, Mews, Protel and most other leading PMS, new integrations upon request

Pricing: upon request

More than a channel manager, Vertical Booking is a complete CRS created to make your revenue shoot straight up, or so the name would have you believe. 86% of users recommend the software which comes with separate modules from which users can choose the features they need for a custom solution. The 2-way integration with hundreds of partners and the flexible data structure makes this an advanced yet easy-to-use tool.

Pros:
>User-friendly and quick to set up

>Advanced rate and revenue management features

>Full flexibility for setting rules and restrictions on rates

>Offers great reach at an affordable price

Cons:
>Customer support can be delayed depending on a customer’s time zone

Who it’s for: medium to large independent and chain hotels

Channel connectivity: ‘Preferred IT Provider’ of Booking.com, ‘Preferred IT Partner’ of HRS and ‘EQC Preferred Vendor’ for Expedia’s Quickconnect interface, on top of that: agoda, traveloka, HRS, Airbnb and close to 300 more online channels

Integrations: Opera, frontdesk Anywhere, Mews and over 70 more PMS with several new integrations in the works

Pricing: upon request, flexible rates available depending on complexity of service required

The winner of HotelTechReport’s 2018 Channel Manager of the Year, Myallocator by Cloudbeds has got small to mid-sized, independent properties floating on cloud 9 thanks to its cost-effective, comprehensive offering. Myallocator is part of an all-in-one software suite which lets hoteliers manage their property and distribution hassle-free.

Pros:
>No set-up, training, support or booking fees

>User-friendly dashboard with an overview of online channels

>Customisable for every channel and supports multiple currencies

>Ranked no. 1 channel manager on Hotel Tech Report, recommended by 91% of users

Cons:
>Customer support is an area many otherwise satisfied users would like to see improved

Who it’s for: small to mid-sized hotels, hostels and guest houses

Channel connectivity: Expedia, Travelocity, Hostelworld, Airbnb and over 300 more online channels

Integrations: MyFrontDesk by Cloudbeds, WebRezPro and Roomsy among 80 other PMS

Pricing: upon request, flexible rates available depending on complexity of service required, type of property and location

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And that’s a wrap. Did any of our top nine sound like a good match for you? Adapting an effective distribution strategy is the key to success for hotels.

With the distribution landscape getting more complex by the day, using a channel manager is a tried and tested way to stay on your game and manage how and where you sell your property.

That way you can put your eggs in several baskets i.e. be present on multiple online channels, and even if one of them drops, you can still make that breakfast omelette.