What is a Channel Manager and Why Do Tourism Operators Need it?


May 20, 2021

4 min read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

An effective online distribution strategy is integral for operators in the tour, activity, and transport industry. Partnering with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and other resellers opens up new sources of revenue for them. However, for a tour and transport operator, challenges are innumerable with the ever-developing distribution landscape.

Manually managing inventory is a near-impossible task for operators. The fear of overbooking and losing control over your inventory are other concerns associated with sales channel management. 

An online booking system equipped with a Channel Manager could resolve your concerns around managing sales channels.

What is a Channel Manager?

A channel manager is a tool within your res tech booking platform that helps you manage your sales channels. It enables you to automate your transactions with resellers.

For years, the hotel and accommodation management systems have been using the channel manager in the online marketplace. Hotels list their rooms and availability on online channels such as Expedia and manage their rates, availability, and reservations with the channel manager. It helps them connect to several online distribution channels at the same time.

The res tech booking platform has now adopted the same tool to ease your workload. Manually updating your booking status will be a thing of the past as the Channel Manager updates the system whenever there is a new booking or cancellation via a third-party seller. It facilitates live, real-time inventory management.

With the Channel Manager, you are in the driver’s seat.

The channel manager gives you control over your relationship with resellers. You will be in the driver’s seat as YOU define the rules for each connection. 

For instance, you can resell your tours and activities to leading distribution partners like GetYourGuide, Viator, Klook, Google, Musement and many others by enabling these channels within your Zaui system. 

Besides OTAs, you can cross-sell with other Zaui users through Zaui Connect

By forming local partnerships with Zaui users, Zaui Connect helps you leverage the power of the Zaui community. From cross-selling opportunities to building local networks, we have recently covered everything you need to know about Zaui Connect here

The reselling opportunities within your Zaui system or with OTAs can be hassle-free with a channel manager.

Whenever you enter into a partnership with any of these resellers, Zaui Channel Manager lets you decide activities and inventories available to them. If you want to sell only a limited inventory to one particular reseller and intend to open up more of it to another reseller, you can do that. 

You have the ability to define when activities can be sold and the cutoff times. Also, you can decide when a guest can book or make edits to their booking pre-departure.

The tool gives you better insights into sales channels’ performance. So, if you are not satisfied with the sales revenue coming from a particular sales channel, it’s your call whether to resell or not through that channel again.

For slower months, if you want to rely more on OTAs for distribution, change your terms with them accordingly on Channel Manager and adjust your sales channels. The channel manager lets you decide on activities offered on your sales channels at any time.

The image of an ebook about OTAs for tour and activity operators.

Channel Manager—Benefits for Transport and Tour Operators

Enhanced connectivity: It ensures faster connectivity with your resellers in real-time. API connectivity allows your system to talk to the reseller’s system without any hiccups.

No overbooking: When several resellers and OTAs are in the mix, overbooking can be an issue. However, the channel manager facilitates live, real-time inventory management. 

Your inventory will be updated whenever a booking is made. Also, you will be notified when bookings are made. Whether made on your website or a reseller’s website, the booking will be reflected on your channel manager in real-time. Not a single case of overbooking!

No manual work: With all reservations made via your online booking system, you are saved from a load of manual work—no more manual booking entry. Automated relationships can minimize email and phone booking requests from your online travel agents.  

It saves you time from manually updating prices and activity descriptions. And, of course, it takes the risk of human error out of the equation. You can get the data directly from what you have in the res tech system. Automation of manual reservations will make your life easy, and you can focus on your business and guests.

Automated inventory management in real-time: Allocating inventory pricing and availability to various sales channels will be carefree with the channel manager. With live, real-time inventory management, cutoff time is going to be shorter. You can forget the longer cutoff period that comes with the manual booking process and inventory tracking.

Effective channel management will also simplify the complexities associated with fluctuating pricing and commission. You don’t need to coordinate with your resellers through phone and emails or keep a separate spreadsheet or document for each reseller. With the channel manager, you get a single dashboard to manage all your sales channels! 

Expanded reach and visibility: The channel manager lets you promote your products and tours on as many sales channels as possible without any hassles. Zaui Channel Manager connects you to a growing network of online travel agencies and allows you to reach guests from all over the world.

Moreover, the reports let you evaluate which reseller channel performs the best and meets your sales goals. From there, you can use these business insights to redefine your relationship with the best and worst-performing resellers on your terms.

Zaui users, if you want to make the best use of the Zaui Channel manager, reach out to our Customer Success team.  

Looking for a better solution to manage all of your reseller connections? Connect with Zaui experts today to schedule a demo to understand how Zaui Channel Manager can help you automate your online distribution channels and reach more guests.

Learn About Channel Manager and Other Robust Features of Zaui Online Booking System!

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