How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Channel Manager

Nina GlavićTourism Marketing
10 min read

The best channel managers connect OTA channels reliably and synchronize reservations in real-time. A high-quality channel manager will accurately display all OTA reservation changes, and occupancy statuses and save time. That way all interested guests will know which unit is available at any given moment.

But how to choose the best channel manager for your vacation rental?

11 Questions for Choosing the Best Channel Manager

Promoting vacation rentals on multiple OTAs for optimal occupancy is a widespread strategy. However, managing reservations from numerous sources requires time, manual updating, and schedules if you are not using channel manager software.

We listed questions that every property manager should ask to choose the best channel manager.

#1 How high is the channel manager price?

Channel manager providers usually charge in two ways: monthly or by transaction volume. At the same time, a free trial is essential. You should be able to try the selected channel manager before committing to cooperation, regardless of the price.

Check for additional commissions on OTA-generated bookings. Also, check if there is an additional charge for connecting a certain number of OTAs to the channel manager.

Knowing how much you are ready to set aside for a channel manager will make your choice more straightforward. Be sure to check the billing policy of all potential channel managers whose price is appropriate.

Rentlio offers a 10-day trial period to check if it suits your needs without contractual obligation.

#2 What is the onboarding like?

Quality channel managers offer an equally high-quality and elaborate onboarding process with additional materials.

The channel manager provider should have dedicated staff and documentation ready during onboarding. This helps you to get started and understand the chosen channel manager quickly and easily.

Regularly updated documentation is also a plus, as well as 1:1 onboarding. 1:1 onboarding with onboarding specialists can give you the confidence to use the channel manager unassisted. Note that onboarding is often charged additionally and could be one of the hidden costs.

The majority of Rentlio’s new users set up their properties by themselves. Rentlio Channel Manager is so simple that you can easily connect all your OTAs. Our documentation is available in Rentlio Help articles.

Rentlio offers both extensive and regularly updated documentation along with Onboarding Specialists for 1:1 onboarding.

#3 Is customer support reliable?

The channel manager must offer reliable and professional customer support. Rentlio Customer Support achieves top results year after year. We measure customer support success in the time it takes to respond to user queries. Our users also rate support agents after each conversation.

#4 Is the channel manager user-friendly?

A channel manager must be intuitive. It should be easy to use – for everyone, every generation.

On average, our users master the Rentlio dashboard very quickly with minimal intervention from our side. The setup is also easy when managing multiple properties, apartments, villas or holiday homes.

On average, you would only need a few hours for more than 6 apartments, which property managers especially appreciate. An added plus is the teams’ feature, where you determine the access and roles of each staff member.

#5 How many OTAs can I connect to the channel manager?

Connecting to multiple booking portals and promoting your apartments, villas, and holiday homes is always a good idea. It is expected to advertise on those OTA booking channels where your potential guests spend the most time. Before choosing a channel manager, check which channels you can connect to and which you need.

It is also helpful to check whether there are any restrictions on the number of connected channels.

We regularly update the list of channels you can connect using Rentlio Channel Manager. Also, we are always available for new suggestions.

Double bookings and overbooking are the biggest challenges of every vacation rental and property manager who manually manages their bookings. When a reservation arrives, changes to availability are just one thing you have to take care of. If you manage more than 5 accommodation units, keeping track of all updates and reservations is very demanding.

Will choosing a quality channel manager help you prevent overbooking?

Data between the channel manager and reservation channels are exchanged in seconds, significantly reducing the possibility of overbooking. Any change in price, availability, or restriction instantly updates all your related sales channels.

To achieve the maximum level of security, we have developed a nightly data sync. Rentlio night sync gives you extra protection so that reservations are not overlapping. While you sleep peacefully, the data from your Rentlio calendar “travels” to the OTAs and protects you from possible mismatches.

#6 Can I quickly update rates and set restrictions in the channel manager?

Channel manager updates defined prices and occupancy on all connected channels in real-time. This level of automation makes managing fast, precise and efficient, without differences in occupancy on different channels. Check how easy it is to change prices and how flexible the calendar is before choosing a channel manager.

Any price changes in the Rentlio calendar update prices on all connected channels in seconds. That allows you to manage revenue and rates from one place.

Increase revenue with seamless rate management, and integrate Rentlio with PriceLabs.

#7 Is the channel manager integrated with a property management system and a booking engine?

The preferred channel manager must be able to integrate with the appropriate property management system you use. Why?

You need a PMS system. This system allows you to view all reservations in one place.

PMS stands for Property Management System. It is the main hub where all your bookings from Booking, Airbnb, Expedia, or direct customers come together. This ensures that you are always aware of your occupancy status.

All this information must be properly exchanged with the channel manager.

When choosing a channel manager fully connected to the PMS system, you use one program to manage everything from one place. That way, you save countless hours and avoid manual errors.

Rentlio is a fully integrated property management system, booking engine, and channel manager.

#8 Is the channel manager available in the mobile app?

The possibility of using the channel manager via a mobile application is a must-have today. The mobile application will serve as an extension and management on the go. It fits in every pocket and allows you flexibility.

The Rentlio mobile application is also available for Android and IoS.

#9 How does the channel manager take care of data security?

The channel manager manages sensitive data, which needs a maximum security level. When choosing a channel manager provider, ask about PCI, DSS, and SCA and how GDPR is handled.

Rentlio stores all sensitive data in a Google Cloud database. The database is encrypted and compliant with GDPR and PCI regulations on data protection.

Every access to the database is recorded; your password is known only to you and no one else. Even if multiple people manage your property, everyone can use their email and password to access their Rentlio account. Finally, all related data is deleted if you delete your property from Rentlio.

#10 Is the channel manager recognizable on the market?

OTA booking channels have programs to promote their tech partners for the highest quality and best connection. This is one way you can evaluate a channel manager’s market recognition.

Preferred and Premier partners meet the highest technical standards. This ensures users can connect OTAs quickly and reliably.

Rentlio consistently attains the Airbnb Preferred Software Partner status. This is to demonstrate the quality of their channel manager and property management system. These services are designed for vacation rentals and property managers.

#11 Are the user reviews on using the channel manager positive?

Check the reviews, just like you would for any other product. You can find relevant channel manager reviews on sites like Capterra. It’s always helpful to find out what people think before considering a particular channel manager.

Why Rentlio is the Best Channel Manager

Do you manage multiple properties and think about the future of your business? Your technology partner and chosen channel manager should solve your ongoing challenges. Additionally, it should evolve according to your feedback and specific needs. This is even more important.

From the beginning, Rentlio has based its development on user feedback to offer every property manager precisely what they need. However, there are other reasons Rentlio is the best channel manager.

Complete 3-in-1 property management solution

Vacation rental owners and property managers often use one property management system and another channel manager. Property managers and their guests need correct information concerning the actual property occupancy. Integration between the channel manager and property management system is essential.

Without it, overbooking and unexpected costs can occur if mistakes are not noticed quickly.

Administration, reservation management, check-in and check-out, guest data, availability, and occupancy are stored in your PMS system. By integrating PMS and channel manager, you enable the exchange of data and their synchronization for managing reservations and occupancy.

All Rentlio features are integrated. When an OTA reservation arrives, it is immediately displayed in the Rentlio calendar. Using the drag&drop functionality, you can quickly modify the reservation while the availability synchronizes automatically.

Rentlio also supports multiple rate plans and restrictions management directly from the calendar. You make simple decisions like price increases and occupancy updates from one place – from Rentlio, instead of from each extranet separately.

Reliable support

New users often choose Rentlio over other channel manager systems. This is because many other channel manager providers have unreliable customer support.

Rentlio Customer Support is one of our business’s foundations, directly impacting customer satisfaction. Our support team’s response to inquiries is less than 4 minutes. The majority of our agents’ conversations are rated highly by users.

Rentlio Customer Support is one of our business’s foundations, directly impacting customer satisfaction.

Partner acknowledgments

We regularly monitor metrics such as the Net Promoter Score, which measures user satisfaction and loyalty. Our NPS score is 82 and puts Rentlio in the top product category.

We renew our Airbnb Preferred Software Partner status regularly. This is a special recognition of Rentlio Channel Manager as a useful tool for property managers. It helps them increase the number of bookings.

Don’t you believe it? Check 😉

The Impact of Choosing the Best Channel Manager

There are numerous channel manager providers available. However, landlords and property managers who manage apartments, rooms, holiday homes and villas need only one.

It is crucial to understand the channel manager’s connection to specific channels. How many channels are connected? Will the provider offer extra services?

What is customer support like? How user-friendly is the channel manager interface? Answering these questions can help you select the best option for you and your business.

All this must correspond to the price and cost you are willing to spend.

If you think an alternative to using a channel manager is acceptable, we can review the specific situations. These include manually distributing occupancy and prices for each OTA that advertises your accommodation. Additionally, there is the risk of overbooking and double bookings and incomplete occupancy of your units.

Choosing a quality channel manager is important. It will have a significant effect on the occupancy of your apartments. This includes the number of guests, reservations, and online sales.

Connecting sales channels and booking portals can significantly expand your guest base. This includes a wider geographical reach and increased revenue. Examples of these portals include Booking, Expedia, and Airbnb.

In theory, the more OTAs, the more potential guests you reach. In reality, your properties, apartments and villas should be promoted on online travel agencies used by your potential guests.

Combine a quality channel manager and a property management system to analyze your distribution strategy. This will help increase revenue and clearly define the most profitable OTAs. Accordingly, the optimal occupancy and revenue optimization caused by the channel manager will exceed the possible costs.

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Nina’s favourite colours are green, and unexpectedly – black. Forrest Gump is a movie that she will repeatedly watch, as if for the first time. As a true Customer Support Specialist, she perceives every challenge our customer has as her own, solving each with a smile 😊