What are these Channels? Every intermediary which sells bedrooms for the Hotel is a channel. For example, Booking.com, Expedia or the Hotel’s own website are booking channels, so they need to be connected to the channel manager.
How to connect these channels? First, each room type which is sold on the relevant channel must be created on the extranet or on the booking engine’s back end in the case of the website. After creating the room types all rate types sold on the channel must be created as well, so if the hotel sells flexible or advance purchase rates, they must be mapped independently to the Channel from the Channel Manager. Why? Advance purchase and flexible rates have different prices and different booking terms, so the same double room can be sold for full price or for a discounted price with upfront, non-refundable payment. Without mapping them separately the system would not be able to handle these bookings correctly.
Setting up the distribution systems is a complex task which must be done with appropriate planning and painstaking precision to work properly. Once it is set, the system does all the work without interference unless new channels are added at which point the same procedure must be followed.
Next week we will look at the different distribution channels needed to be in place to have a comprehensive revenue management strategy which allows the hotel to thrive under any economic circumstances.