What is a Vacation Rental Channel Manager & How it Helps

Patricia PetrinjakProduct Updates
8 min read

Do you have a channel manager? If not, how do you manage your sales channels and bookings from Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, and other booking portals? Are you a loyal buyer of notebooks?

Without a solution that transfers real-time booking data from various OTA sales channels, notebooks, and Excel are inevitable. Manually updating and changing occupancy limits your property and the time you could otherwise redirect toward your guests.

Delays in updating extranet information can have consequences. The room or suite may not be available when needed, or you may have to sell it at a lower price. This leads to reduced revenue and the risk of overbooking. If, for example, you forget and update the occupancy incorrectly for a day or two, unpleasant situations are inevitable.

You can’t rent an apartment that is already rented. Vacation rental owners and property managers often don’t notice mistakes until the last moment. This is when extra guests they thought were coming two days later knock on their door. The channel manager successfully solves such and similar problems.

What is a channel manager

Channel manager is software that automates updates to online bookings from OTA channels, such as Booking.com. These updates can include changes in availability, prices, or restrictions. Updates are done in real-time, automatically, and all data is stored in one place, in the calendar.

All that remains is to choose.

With Rentlio Channel Manager, avoid overbooking and easily synchronize your calendar with online booking channels. Reservations you receive from OTAs are visible in Rentlio and update the availability on other connected media.

You also manage prices from one place. Updating the price in Rentlio will update the price on all corresponding channels. Entering direct bookings in Rentlio also reduces availability through Rentlio Channel Manager on connected booking portals.

There is no limit to OTAs you can use to advertise your vacation rental. The data is the same across all extranets and viewable on one central calendar.

How the channel manager works

What exactly does a channel manager do, and how does it work? There are 3 critical aspects of a channel manager’s work: allocation, mapping, and updating.

Allocation is managing apartments, villas, holiday homes, or rooms according to current availability and your sales goals.

The channel manager creates a connection between different unit types, such as apartments, houses, villas, rooms, and beds. This ensures that the units are displayed consistently across all your booking channels. At the same time, these data are the same in the connected property management system.

The channel manager and property management system work together. The property management system is the core of your business.

Every new reservation arrives directly in your central calendar, your property management system, without manual interventions or checks.

Channel manager & other solutions

Channel manager is part of the property management system and desirable in combination with integrations and a booking engine.

Rentlio is a channel manager and property management system. It offers additional services that you can access through integrations. Rentlio is a complete vacation rental app for apartments, villas, and vacation homes. Rentlio Channel Manager is an essential part of achieving optimal business results.

Property management system + Channel manager

Property management systems, PMS systems, and reservation management programs are all terms for a centralized platform. This platform helps to manage reservations, pricing, billing, occupancy, revenue, and analytics.

The property management system and integrated channel manager give you access to data. This includes income from individual booking portals, analysis, and patterns.

This allows you to see when things are going well and when there may be issues. Data can tell you when to adjust rates when to end sales, and when to put restrictions in place. This will help you to maximize your revenue.

In addition, customize invoices, and easily track and make payments without limitation.

Channel manager + Booking engine

We know about booking commissions from OTAs but consider the Billboard effect. A certain number of guests will be happy to look for the possibility of booking directly. Even if they found your property on OTAs.

For cases like this, you don’t necessarily need a website (although it’s desirable), but you can integrate the Rentlio Booking Engine. Visually attractive, with specific personalization options, the Rentlio Booking Engine will enable you to receive direct reservations.

Plus, entering direct bookings in Rentlio will automatically reduce availability through the Rentlio channel manager on connected booking portals.

Visually attractive, with specific personalization options, the Rentlio Booking Engine will enable you to receive direct reservations.

Channel manager + integrations

Channel manager, in combination with integrations of your choice, is a powerful tool to optimize your vacation rental business. Choosing a cloud-based vacation rental application like Rentlio that supports many integrations and tools that can help you is crucial. Check out the full list of available tools to connect with Rentlio.

Channel manager benefits for vacation rentals and property managers

The channel manager saves time and effort.

The channel manager updates prices on each sales channel. It reduces the possibility of overbooking, as each occupied unit will be automatically removed from other channels where it is listed. That effectively eliminates the possibility of booking the same apartment or villa simultaneously. Automatically, without manual input or additional checks.

Avoid double bookings

By integrating the channel manager, you avoid overbooking and double bookings, which improves guest experience and enables higher occupancy.

It is necessary to clarify the types of connections the selected channel manager has with a specific sales channel.

Different channel managers usually offer channel linking with an iCal connection, which most booking OTA channels support. Channel managers who claim to be connected to over a hundred channels – mostly mean a one-way connection.

With a one-way iCal link, prices and other reservation information must be manually entered on each channel. Note, one-way synchronized channels usually do not update information instantly but periodically, so the possibility of overbooking still exists.

With a channel manager, a centralized calendar, and automatic real-time price updates mean, guests can only book available accommodation. It’s also the definition of a two-way connection.

Forget about double bookings caused by manual errors. Automate your booking and connect with hundreds of online distribution channels. The channel manager instantly updates every booking from the OTA or your property’s website.

Different prices for different OTAs

Channel Manager allows you to display available rooms and prices in real-time. Adjust prices as you wish. Evaluate OTA success, percentage of canceled reservations, and the commission.

In other words, you set the price according to your choice on the selected OTA channel. Save time and keep your costs competitive by updating the prices of rooms, apartments, beds, villas, or holiday homes. A 10-day free trial is available to try all the benefits of Rentlio Channel Manager.

Flexible price and availability changes

Channel manager and vacation rental application enable automatic updating availability, rate management, and restrictions. All changes are made in real-time. You view everything in the Rentlio calendar without individual logins to different extranets.

Set a specific price for specific dates, as a group or individually. Determine minimum stay, availability to particular dates, and accommodation units. The possibilities are truly limitless.

This is precisely what channel manager is – software to boost your business and reservations management.

Once you start automatically updating your occupancy and rates, you realize how much time you wasted on manual data entry.

Simplified communication

You often receive the same questions from your guests. Where to pick up the key, who will meet them, whether there is an organized airport transfer, etc. You don’t have to send such emails manually and individually.

In Rentlio, you can easily send personalized email templates. Automate communication, anticipate questions, and respond to guests. Rentlio email templates and SMS messages are designed to automate guest communication, saving time and improving your business.

For example, you can create email templates that send automatically. Send information on how to find you more easily 3 days before guests arrive. Personalize email messages and check our instructions on how to create email templates.

Reach more guests and get more bookings

By advertising your accommodation on several booking portals, you increase the number of guests interested in renting your vacation rental. In case of a reservation cancellation, the channel manager automatically updates the canceled unit as available. Simultaneously increasing the chances that someone will book it.


OTAs like Booking.com or Airbnb recognize property managers who use reliable channel managers. Such property managers are positioned higher in the searched properties list. Using a channel manager for OTA booking channels suggests your professional attitude towards work and guests, with less possibility of mistakes.

Channel Manager is a successful business foundation

Channel Manager is the foundation for booming revenue, sales, and reservation management. It saves time and eliminates human errors. Besides, guests can’t book something they can’t find 😉

Almost half of the online reservations are made through online portals, and the numbers continue to grow. Connecting with as many online booking portals as possible is vital for attracting reservations – and guests.

Spot the most profitable sales channels and know the exact occupancy at all times. Maximize the number of reservations and revenue. Choose a complete vacation rental application with a reliable channel manager.

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Although she would love to read all day, Patricia enjoys writing for Rentlio. Constantly trying to adapt to the Dalmatian way of life, you can find her walking her two dogs and/or reading on most evenings 📚