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Channel Management

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Change Log

2019

Third Party or "Middle" Channel Managers

Our Channel Management feature is extremely powerful and can greatly simplify your channel advertising. Learn how it works by reading our Channel Management Overview article.

Some of our older users know that it took awhile for our Channel Management to get off the ground.  This is because our channel integration code is built entirely in-house.  It took awhile to get the channels (eg. HomeAway, Airbnb) to come to the table, agree to partner with us and authorize our systems to connect.  We then had to follow an extensive process of development, testing and certification.

During that time, we had many requests by users to support third-party or "middle" channel managers.  These are companies like Siteminder, RentalsUnited, BookingPal and so on.

However, we made a conscious decision to not support or integrate with any of these third-party channel managers and here is why:

Knowing what's really going on (ie. who to blame)

One of the common complaints with third-party channel managers is that it's hard to know "whose fault it is" when something goes wrong and your rates or property data isn't correct compared with what is in your PMS.  The channel will point at the channel manager and the channel manager will point at at the channel, and both of them will point at you when talking behind your back.  It's hard enough to watch all the details - which are vast - without introducing another level of indirection.

With our own code, we directly control and are responsible for the integration with each channel. We can tell you and the channel directly what is being pushed and pulled at any time.  Our support agent and engineers can figure things out quickly and directly.

Speed and reliability

OwnerRez is known for its trademark power and reliability across all of our features - something we are very proud of.  Our page load times are very fast and we go out of our way to engineer speed and reliability in everything we do.  We do everything we can to cut out extra wait times.

Third-party channel managers have their own entirely-separate systems that everything flows through.  No matter how fast and reliable OwnerRez is, we would have to wait on the the third-party to actually update the channel or send updates back (eg. new bookings, new reviews, etc).  That makes us uncomfortable.  To put it lightly, most online software systems are not engineered well in terms of speed and reliability.  OwnerRez was founded by software engineers who know all to well how poorly most software systems are built.

Even if a particular third-party channel manager was built really well, it would still add time delays in the hand-off that happened going from the channel to the manager to OwnerRez and back to the channel, and this would be the case for every push and pull across the system for property content, rates, rules, bookings, everything.

Cost

Channel managers are extremely expensive. Some charge 3-5% of the gross booking amount on top of the already large commissions that each channel charges. Others charge $50-100 per month per listing.

As vacation rental owners ourselves, we know how steep of a price that is. They justify it by saying, "just build it into your rates", but that means your booking volumes go down.

Building direct integrations takes longer but lets us price on a simple per-property flat rate.  Our fee for channel management is one of the cheapest in the industry while also providing one of the fastest and most-reliable services around.

Technical limits

Some channels require a minimum of 5 properties to access any API integration, and that requirement is in place for the third-party channel managers too.

However, here at OwnerRez we've developed the Channel Bridge tool to bypass that limit.  Channel Bridge gives users a way to pull detailed booking, financial and guest information from the channel back into OwnerRez.

To be clear, we are still limited by the channels technical limits when it comes to API integration.  Channel Bridge does not circumvent that entirely, but it does provide options where you would have had nothing otherwise.  There are no third-party channel managers, anywhere, that have a tool like Channel Bridge.

All the other OTAs don't matter

The one main advantage that third-party managers will advertise is that they integrate with "hundreds" of channels. It is true that OwnerRez does not have as many built-in API integrations as some of the third-party managers, and we probably never will.

However, most OTAs don't matter in the long run. Read why the promise of being on "hundreds" of channels rings hollow. At OwnerRez, we design and build our features, including our many partnerships and integrations, from the standpoint of where there is the most value for our users. Priceline and Hotwire are not going to send you bookings - don't waste your time and money by trying to put your properties there.