Vacation Rental Owner Strategies: You Need a Channel Manager

You created beautiful property listings on the hottest search sites with incredible descriptions and stunning photographs. You have published your listing site and gotten your first rentals with sterling reviews. As your listing gains traction and moves up the search rankings, you may start to notice something that you may not have expected. Running an STR (short term rental) business can be a lot of work!


Listing your property on multiple sites is a fabulous way to maximize rental revenue through greater exposure. This success comes at a price, though, as you now must update several sites and be sure to update your reservations, so you are not double booked. Sometimes it will feel like your fun side gig has turned into a full-time job. It turns out; it can be a pretty good and profitable full-time job. Here is a way to reduce your workload and reap the benefits of your successful rental business.


Channel managers are great tools for simplifying day to days tasks for a vacation rental property owner.
 

Channel Managers - A Rental Property Owner's Best Friend


So what is a channel manager, and why do I need one? We didn't have a clue when we started our modest rental business. It quickly became apparent that we needed a way to reduce the juggling act that was our manual reservation system. We did some research into available tools, and here is what we found.


A channel manager is the brains of your vacation rental business. It allows you to synchronize your bookings, rates, availability calendars, site listings and photos from one location. Using a channel manager reduces the manual labor required to manage your properties. You can use it for a single property or multiple units.


We shopped around and settled on Lodgify as our channel manager of choice. Their combination of features and reasonable price is hard to beat. We highly recommend their service to anyone who wants to improve their vacation rental business's ease and profitability.

 

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A Lesson Learned


Mistakes will happen in the STR business.  Just be sure to learn from them to improve your business.

Before we began using a channel manager with our short-term rental business, we would have to do all of the reservation management manually. These tasks proved quite a challenge as we had property listings on VRBO, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com.


The typically booking would go something like this. We used Instant Booking settings so that it was a done deal when we got notification of a rental. We would jump on the computer or our phones and update the booking calendar on the other three sites as quickly as possible, to avoid a potential double booking.


We employed this mad scramble process semi-successfully for several months until a booking came through on VRBO. I could tell from the dates that we had a problem. We already had a reservation for those dates through Airbnb. How could this have happened? I went into panic mode. I discovered that the default booking setting in VRBO is "Tentative," which allows other reservations to be made over those dates until updated to "Reserved."


We ended up offering the second booking party a great deal to make up for our mistake. We gave them an open high dollar Holiday weekend at a reduced rate for their trouble. It cost us several hundred dollars. Lesson learned; and time to invest in a channel manager.


Related Reading :Top 4 Amazing STR Listing Sites to Unlock a Rental Bonanza

 
 

Synchronize Your Bookings


So our lesson learned would have never happened. with a channel manager. The channel manager is a platform that exchanges all pertinent information between your listing sites. In this instance, Airbnb's original booking would have been transmitted to the channel manager, which would then update the other listing sites instantaneously. The possibility of a double booking has been eliminated.


Similarly, suppose the STR (short term rental) owner chooses to block some dates for personal use. In that case, this is quickly done through the channel manager. Update the master calendar in the channel manager, and all of the listing sites will be modified as well.

 

Set Your Rates

Another great benefit of using a channel manager is the time savings when updating your rental rates. Say you want to increase your rates for a popular holiday weekend. With a channel manager, you modify the rate calendar once, and the other listing sites will update automatically. In our case, this saves us from doing rate updates on four different listing sites.


You can also use the vacation rental channel manager to mark up base rates on the specific external sites to cover any fees or commission. This way, you collect your full rental rate without losing the commission fees from your bottom line.

 

Update Photos and Property Descriptions

This item will vary by the listing site. VRBO, for example, will pull in photos and property descriptions from your channel manager. Other sites, like Booking.com, will not. This feature comes in handy if you have taken some great new images and wish to get them online quickly without hassle.


It is also a plus when you make seasonal updates to your property description. Do the update one time and then be done with it, let the channel manager disperse the updates.

 

Centralized Calendar


Often my wife asks me if we have a reservation on a specific date. Without the channel manager, I would have to check four separate calendars to provide an answer. I simply pull up the app on my phone with the channel manager and check our master calendar. I will have a response within seconds, including the dates, guest information, and reservation amount.


You can also view your upcoming reservations in a flash, with a variety of calendar display options.

 

Increase Your Property Visibility


Manual tasks such as synchronizing calendars and updating multiple listing sites can take up to twenty hours a week of a property owner or manager's time. Automating these tasks allows the owner to utilize additional listing sites without adding tedious work.


The time saved allows your property to be listed in more places and thus seen by more potential guests. The additional revenue created will easily cover the cost of the channel manager as well.

 

Wrap Up - Vacation Rental Owner Strategies: You Need a Channel Manager


Manual tasks such as synchronizing calendars and updating multiple listing sites can take up to twenty hours a week of a property owner or manager's time. Automating these tasks allows the owner to utilize additional listing sites without adding tedious work.


The time saved allows your property to be listed in more places and thus seen by more potential guests. The additional revenue created will easily cover the cost of the channel manager as well.


Coming Soon - Full Lodgify Channel Manager Review