As a STR owner, you may have encountered the words “property management system” and “channel manager” used frequently. The overlap between the two can also be confusing. So, what exactly are those? And what do they do?
This comprehensive guide will provide you with information about property management systems (PMS) and dedicated channel managers, to assist in determining which combination of tools is suitable for your STR business and its distribution approach.
PMS Channel Manager
A property management system is a computer program that computerizes the process of managing your vacation rentals. It simplifies all aspects of managing your rental properties, including jobs, cleaning services, income control, online booking, payments, finance tracking, real-time updates, bookings, schedules and more.
A property management system consolidates all your data pertaining to your assets into a single, digital platform. A lot of these systems are web-based and provide a mobile application, enabling you to manage your properties on the go and anytime. Here are examples of some of the top property management solutions:
– Escapia (offers a free demo)
– Guesty (offers a free demo)
– Sirvoy (offers a 14-day free trial)
– Vacasa (offers a free demo)
– Avantio (offers a free demo)
– Uplisting (offers a 14-day free trial)
Property management systems are commonplace in the accommodation sector. This pooled inventory approach (or combining all your locations’ data, information, or inventory) is a well-known dissemination tactic for hotel chains. Like hoteliers dealing with multiple sites, a property management system is a practical aid for vacation rental proprietors with multiple properties.
Now concerning the channel administrator: initially, let’s provide an explanation for “channel manager.” A channel manager is a software program that distributes and promulgates your property inventory(e.g. your rental home listings) to multiple channels. The channel manager synchronizes all of the data between channels.
Reservations systems, websites, search engines and online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Airbnb, Booking.com, AllTheRooms, TripAdvisor and VRBO are all channels. A channel manager is a vital instrument for STR owners and administrators that links all their existing bookings across different online distribution channels and gives real-time information about prices, availability, timetables, cancellations, bookings etc.
A PMS channel supervisor is merely a lodging administration framework that incorporates a coordinated channel manager. We will plunge further into the subtleties later on.
Dedicated Channel Manager
A dedicated channel manager is a distinct software package. It is designed for distributing sales and bookings across various channels. This separate program can be integrated into whatever property management system the user has, depending on the PMS’s integration features. A few examples of dedicated channel managers are as follows:
– Lodgify (offers a 7-day free trial)
– Rentals United (offers a free demo)
– Lodgix (offers a 30-day free trial)
A dedicated channel manager works to sync all of your properties’ data and information across numerous online distribution channels.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of a PMS Channel Manager
Every vacation rental business owner should take into account the usage of a property management system so that handling online reservations can become not only feasible but also the most productive way to monitor numerous properties. Here are some advantages of implementing a property management system channel manager:
Decrease effort: With a property management channel manager, you can reduce the effort required to operate a vacation rental business. It takes care of the tedious tasks associated with running a business, like updating information across all booking channels and automating online booking and payments. This frees up more time for you to focus on guests and provide them with an enhanced experience.
Helpful combination: Choosing a property management system that includes an integrated channel manager brings two important advantages to your business: the ability to administer your properties online, and the opportunity to advertise your listings across numerous websites. A property management system or company comes with its own perks.
Property management companies such as Vacasa offer staff based in the local area to handle upkeep and upkeep. Property management systems incorporate finance features, data analysis of company performance, automated correspondence with customers, and much more. A property management system incorporating a channel manager can be highly beneficial to your business.
Disadvantages of a PMS Channel Manager
Here are some cons: Despite the advantages of a property management system with an integrated channel manager, there are some drawbacks compared to dedicated channel managers. These include:
A property management system may provide several features and services, but its channel manager component may be inadequate. For instance, Sirvoy’s Pro Plan only allows for integration with Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, Hostelworld, and HotelSpecials while Uplisting is restricted to Airbnb, Booking.com, and VRBO/HomeAway.
Property management systems and channel managers differ in their features. Typically, the former are not as advanced as dedicated channel managers, which provide enhanced functionalities such as intricate pricing structures and precise property details.
Advantages of a Dedicated Channel Manager
Companies such as Rentals United, Lodgify, and Uplisting focus on web-based distribution. Here are some advantages of combining a dedicated channel manager:
Channel managers with a particular focus on digital distribution can provide far greater access to a variety of channels. Rentals United, for instance, offer a smooth connection to over 60 platforms – substantially more than the “big 3” listings Uplisting’s channel manager offers.
The company has an in-house team of proficient distribution professionals. With the direct connection of channel managers, they are able to offer a large number of properties to listing sites.
Where a property management system channel manager may not be adequate, a specialized channel manager is especially proficient. Dedicated channel managers give increased refined abilities, thus allowing you to build up an complex pricing model.
Disadvantages of a Dedicated Channel Manager
The downside of appointing a dedicated property manager could be the additional cost associated with installing extra software. Lodgify charges $30 each month, Rentals United requires $110 per month for 3-5 properties, and Lodgix starts at $50 monthly.
A property management system accompanied by a built-in channel manager may not provide the same level of connectivity and sophistication as a dedicated channel manager. Investing in an additional third-party integration with a dedicated channel manager can increase your online visibility, leading to more bookings. Nonetheless, the property management system itself already offers a substantial amount of online presence across known listings sites.