At PriceLabs, we have hosts/managers who only list on Airbnb (which is one of the popular short term rental distribution "channels") and use our integration there, but also those who list their properties on multiple channels (think Booking.com, TripAdvisor, HomeAway/VRBO, etc.) and their own websites.
One of the frequent questions we get from hosts who are diversifying to other channels is about how they can get prices from PriceLabs to be updated to all the different channels.
And this is where a Property Management System (PMS) or Channel Manager (CM) comes in! If you haven't heard those terms before, this post is going to be SUPER useful.
Think of the PMS as a centralized calendar for your property (they do a LOT more - you can find details on their own websites that we've provided links to at the end). A channel manager acts as a link between your centralized calendar and all the different channels. This is beneficial in many different ways:
- It avoids double bookings from different channels if you have instant book (or equivalent) turned on.
- They ensure that prices and min-night settings are synced across all the channels. In most cases, they also allow you to set channel specific markups to account for the commissions so your net income stays the same regardless of where a booking comes from.
- Many PMSs also allow you to host your own website/booking engine, where you can get direct bookings without paying any commission to the channels.
Note that some PMSs have their own channel manager. And also that some channel managers don't need a PMS to host the centralized calendar.
The biggest benefit to come out of this is that now you can list and get bookings from many channels, which usually results in higher occupancy because you're reaching a wider audience. Other than these benefits, they also let you streamline a lot of processes (centralized/automated guest communication, advanced reporting, etc.).
For hosts who want PriceLabs prices to be updated to all the different channels they use, this is how it works (picture at the top of this article explains this as well):
- We update prices and min-night settings to the centralized PMS/Channel Manager calendar,
- The PMS/Channel Manager then updates these to all the different channels. Note that currently HomeAway doesn't allow price updates through a PMS unless you have at least 5 properties (the other channels don't have such a restriction as far as we know).
Some of the popular PMSs/Channel Mangers that our customers use are:
- Rentals United (Channel Manager)
- Streamline VRS
- Estar Booking
- Track HS
We're constantly doing new integrations, and will be adding to this list soon. If you don't see a PMS you currently use here, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.