Tips for Channel Manager activation

Suppose you have put your rooms up for sale on several online booking portals (OTA) and your website. In that case, you'll quickly realize that updating them by hand one by one is a big job, and any delay in synchronizing availability exposes you to the risk of overbooking. That's why you need a Channel manager!

Below are some introductory articles on this topic:

☞ Docs: What is an OTA?
☞ Docs: What is a Channel Manager?

ZaK native Channel Manager allows you to connect with portals with more significant commercial feedback.  In this way, you can manage your online sales (OTA and Website) from the same platform from which, for example, you can change rooms to your reservations or issue invoices for stays... that is from your PMS!  Zak is, therefore, an all-in-one platform that allows you to manage your business at 360°!

This article explains the preliminary steps for connecting the channels and provides some essential warnings.


NB: WuBook is not responsible for your subscription to the OTA website. Before configuring a channel, you need to open an account on the OTA portal.Preparing your products.

NB: If your profile on OTA is already connected through another Channel Manager, you must disconnect the previous Channel Manager before connecting with Zak.

NB: Before activating a channel, remember to configure the password for credit cards. Otherwise, Zak will not record the CC of reservations entering from the OTAs.

☞ Docs: How to configure Password for Credit Cards

Setting up your Products


To speed up the connection to your OTAs, we suggest you create your Products and Rates on Zak first. In this way, as soon as you download rooms and rates from the portal you want to connect, you will be immediately ready to configure the channel without moving to other pages.

Products are the commercial version of your room categories: by default, each room category has its corresponding Product. However, each category contains different Products with specific prices and restrictions according to the occupancy or the chosen parameters.

To define your products, you must access the following section

↳ Link: Auth Factory >  Zak > Products > Products

☞ Docs: Products

To define the Rates you need to access the following section:

↳ Link: Auth Factory < Zak > Products > Rates

☞ Docs: Rates

The Standard rate is available by default. You can then create additional Rates according to your needs, and define prices according to offered services and cancellation policies.


General settings


In the OnLine > Channels page you can find the "Configuration" box where you can set the global settings of your ZaK Channel Manager.

You can currently enable or disable the automatic physical camera assignment. If enabled, when a reservation enters, ZaK automatically assigns it to a physical room through an algorithm that respects the occupancy and optimizes the room distribution.

NB: this setting does not apply to Super-Products, which are made up of physical chambers, which are then immediately assigned when a customer books a Super-Product.

You can also choose to automatically assign a room setup to reservations entering via OTA and set a rounding price mode.


☞ Docs: Physical rooms

☞ Docs: Super Products


Updates


When you configure a channel, ZaK will update the OTA

The OTA data (availability, prices, restrictions) will be overwritten entirely by ZaK's data. By the time you configure the Channel Manager channels on ZaK, you must have already entered all reservations with future stays (for ZaK to calculate availability correctly), set prices, closing periods, minimum stay, etc..


Inserting reservations


As ZaK is a PMS, availability does not need to be configured but is automatically calculated based on:

  • number of physical rooms
  • booked stays
  • closures

For Zak to calculate the availability correctly, first, you have to enter all reservations with a check-in date in the future.

To do this you can, optionally:

- manually enter all your existing reservations on ZaK;

- close on the Planner the affected rooms on the booked dates.


☞ Docs: Room closures

☞ Docs: New reservation

Booking.com is generally the website that generates more reservations than any other. Moreover, this OTA, unlike all the others (except Airbnb), allows the Channel manager to download already existing reservations for future stays.
You can manually enter reservations, excluding the ones coming from Booking.com (which can be downloaded as soon as the channel is activated).

To proceed in this way it is RECOMMENDED to activate the Booking.com channel first.


To safely proceed with Channel Manager activation, follow these simple instructions:


1. Verify that you have no other active channels on the same OTA account

Having two channels that update data on the same OTA website generates errors. In case you were using another channel manager, remember to disconnect the channel on your old PMS before activating the connection from ZaK. If you were using WooDoo, you have to disconnect the channel on the Woodoo side.

☞ Docs: How to disconnect a ZaK channel: suspend and remove

2. Define your sale consistently

We recommended creating the same room categories (with similar names) in all the OTAs you sell on. On Booking.com, you have: (Double, Triple, and Suite), but on Expedia, you have: (Double, Double sea view, Quadruple, Family). This inevitably leads to management complications.

The same applies to rates: it is advisable to have the same rates on the various OTAs (where possible).

Before activating the channels, create your room categories on ZaK. Enter on ZaK manually all reservations for future stays (possibly excluding those coming from Booking.com if you activate the channel to Booking.com first).


  • If you sell your rooms on Booking.com:

If you have not yet configured prices and restrictions on ZaK and you're selling on Booking.com, we recommend to configure it as the first channel. When associating room categories, you can import data (prices and restrictions) and download reservations from the portal. 

In this way, you will have on ZaK the same configuration of prices and restrictions that you have already defined on Booking.com, and all your bookings will be on ZaK ( the ones that you entered and the ones that you eventually downloaded from Booking.com.



  • If you DON'T sell your rooms on Booking.com:

Before activating each channel, please make sure to set up properly restrictions and prices.  In this way as soon as you activate a channel, the OTA connected will receive an update that will overwrite the data correctly.


3. Final check


During the configuration process of a channel, you may leave out some details. Although the technology is tested and reliable, after completing the procedure, we recommend to access the website's extranet and check your prices and restrictions (on different dates chosen at random).


Checks must take place on the private area of the portal, and not on the public booking pages: in case of misalignments between private and public data on the portals, please contact the OTA.



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