What Is a Channel Manager for Hosts (And Do You Need One)?

By Nechama Rausman | June 01, 2022

As an Airbnb host, it’s likely you’ve heard the term, “channel manager,” but do you know why channel management is important for hosts and how it can help your short term rental business? While it’s clear channel managers are an essential tool for large-scale property managers to run and scale their business, what you may not realize is how they can benefit hosts working on a much smaller scale as well. 

So, what exactly is a channel manager and how does it help short-term rental hosts to run their business more efficiently? Read on to get your questions answered about why and how you can boost your Airbnb rental business with this essential tool. 

What Exactly is a Channel Manager?

A channel manager is a software that allows vacation rental hosts to manage their listings and booking reservations across multiple booking sites (including a direct booking website) and OTAs (online travel agents such as Airbnb, Booking.com or VRBO) on one integrated platform or app (in the case of Guesty For Hosts).

In other words, rather than going into each channel to manually set up and update your listing, calendar, prices etc., you can save tons of time and effort by doing everything from one centralized location. Not only does it return hours of your life back to you, but it also organizes and streamlines your management so you can be more on top of everything – from bookings to cleaning schedules – to reduce friction with guests and earn more five-star reviews.

If you are just starting out in the vacation rental industry, however, or your property is only listed as an Airbnb rental, you may question how this software would benefit you. So before we go deeper into the benefits of a channel manager, let’s go back to a more basic question: 

The calendar sync feature on the Guesty For Hosts app – all your bookings and available dates in one calendar.

Should I List My Short-Term Rental on Multiple Channels or Just Airbnb?

Well, the answer is plain and simple. Listing your property on multiple platforms allows you to increase your visibility and booking rate. The more potential guests that see your property, the more bookings you will get and the more revenue you will make from your short-term rental. 

The drawback for many Airbnb hosts, especially for those whose rental business happens to be a side gig, is that they don’t have so much time to invest in keeping on top of multiple platforms, constantly updating reservation calendars, and corresponding with guests (nevermind keeping on top of all the cleaning schedules, payments, reviews etc.…the list goes on and on). 

Furthermore, not only is manual listing management quite time-consuming, it can result in omissions, delays and mistakes that lead to double bookings and other issues that present bigger headaches and a loss of revenue. 

This is where a channel manager comes in. You can increase your visibility, get listed on multiple channels and manage correspondence, payment and so much more, all the while saving time in the process. This makes listing on multiple channels, to increase bookings and revenue, a no-brainer. 

So, What Are The Benefits of a Channel Manager for Airbnb Hosts? 

If you are working manually, more bookings bring more work. However, a channel manager allows you to book more and earn more revenue while working less. You are able to streamline your administrative tasks so you have more time to focus on your primary income, travel, family time or whatever you would rather be spending your time doing. 

Here are some of the benefits for Airbnb hosts of using a channel manager :

  • Enables you to automatically post your listings to multiple channels so you can gain exposure to a bigger audience and get more bookings. 
  • Avoids dreaded double bookings by synchronizing your calendar in real time. 
  • Allows for quick updates to pricing or description across all platforms. 
  • Essential for building a multi-channel distribution strategy.
  • Streamlines admin tasks (may vary depending on the platform, as detailed below). 

In other words, you get all of the benefits of multi-channel listings, without the added headache of organizing, managing and staying up to date on those channels!

The unified inbox feature on the Guesty For Hosts app – multi-channel messaging in one place.

How Does a Channel Manager Work? 

There are many channel managers out there which offer various host management tools, but here are some of the features you, as a short-term rental host with a small number of  properties, should look for:

  • Central Dashboard– manage and update rates, availability and policies and upload photos or other content on all connected channels from one central dashboard. 
  • Calendar Sync– real-time rate and availability updates across all connected channels. Avoid double bookings with instant calendar booking updates. 
  • Unified Inbox– access and send all messages from and to guests from all connected channels within one inbox and chat feature. 
  • Automated Messages– create templates and automatically send messages to guests at certain times throughout the booking process.
  • Auto Charge– accept direct payments and automatically charge guests. 
  • Integrations– many channel managers have integrations with other tools such as smart pricing tools or smart locks to further simplify and streamline your Airbnb management. 

In addition to these features, many property management systems, such as Guesty For Hosts, provide additional tools to help hosts beyond the channel management feature. These may include features such as a more robust automated messaging platform, a cleaning management tool, financial reporting or a direct booking website builder.

It’s important to note that when you are researching channel managers you may find solutions that offer way more features than what you, as a small host, would need to manage your properties. This is why at Guesty, we have two separate offerings. Guesty For Hosts is specifically suited to Airbnb hosts with 1-3 properties. Our app aims to be simple and user-friendly to provide only what we have experienced a smaller host needs to streamline their hosting business.  For hosts with more than 4 properties, Guesty For Pros offers a much more robust set of tools to help larger property managers and enterprises manage and scale their rental portfolios.

Owning short-term rentals can be a very profitable business, but it can also be a very time-consuming and detail-oriented business. This is why channel managers and platforms like Guesty For Hosts have been developed. They allow you to organize and manage all of your listings, whether it is one property or many, on all booking sites, from one single location. In the case of Guesty For Hosts, you can do it all at any time and any place, from the palm on your hand.

Guesty For Hosts user shares how the channel manager saves her time.

Are you ready to see how Guesty For Hosts’ channel manager and other features save you time and make your vacation rental hosting easier? Start your free 14-day trial today!

Start automating your business today!

Begin your 14 day free trial to see if Guesty For Hosts is right for you.
14 day free trial. No credit card required.