If you advertise a vacation rental on multiple booking sites it can be difficult to manage availability and bookings across different platforms at once. That’s where a channel manager can help you. A channel manager is a web-based software tool that allows vacation rental property managers to maintain availability and pricing rates across all connected channels, from one central place. This allows you to distribute your listings across multiple platforms, such Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor. When a booking is made with one of these booking sites, the channel management software updates availability across the channels which it is linked to – keeping everything up-to-date and preventing double bookings. Examples of channel managers include Lodgify and Smoobu.
It’s important to be aware that there are some downsides to using a channel manager. Having originated to benefit those in the hotel industry, many channel managers are aimed at high scale property management companies with multiple properties, and are not designed for the individual host with 1 or 2 properties. Typically, separate accounts need to be set up and maintained on every channel, for example a separate Vrbo and Airbnb login, and are then connected to the channel manager individually. The amount of admin involved means this can be quite time consuming, and there is still a responsibility to manage multiple existing logins.