Non-Partner Reservations (Reservations from Non-Partner OTAs)
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RoverPass Channel Manager

What is it? What is the benefit? How does it work? Detailing what you need to know to get started.

What is it?:  A channel manager syncs your inventory across multiple platforms and OTAs (online travel agencies such as airbnb). By way of syncing your inventory, a channel manager syncs and controls most rate information as well (to make sure that you only have to update the bulk of that information once in RoverPass as opposed to in each individual platform).  

The channel manager syndicates inventory and pricing information, but does not completely transfer all information (payments, photos, descriptions, etc).  This is to make sure that the channel manager is as reliable and fast as possible.

As each platform (RoverPass, airbnb, VRBO, booking.com, etc) has their own technology, owner and customer portals, ways of facilitating payments, policies, and even customer bases, it is standard practice for a channel manager only to sync the information necessary to properly update inventory and rates. Otherwise, the push of data back and forth would be way too slow, messy, confusing, and create an impossible situation to navigate!

 

What is the benefit?:  The channel manager updates your inventory, allows you to be on multiple platforms at once without concern for double bookings, and makes sure that you don't have to manually sync reservations between all of your platforms / channels / OTA's (Online Travel Agencies).  It is an awesome tool that results in more reservations, time saved, and a better customer experience!

 

How does it work?: 

  • You will need to set up a listing on any of the supported channels that you want connected (VRBO, airbnb, booking.com, or Expedia)
  • Once you set up the listing, you will get in touch with RoverPass to help you connect your above OTA's to your RoverPass account through the channel manager
    • Please note, it is important that your OTA listings are completely set up before connecting to the channel manager to ensure that complete connection can occur. 
    • Common confusion: A channel manager does not create your OTA listings for you.  It simply syncs inventory and basic rate information between them after they have been fully set up.  Photos, Rules, Descriptions, etc (anything outside of basic rate and inventory/availability information) will need to be updated and maintained by you in your individual accounts (airbnb, booking.com, etc).
  • Once connected, availability and rate information will be pushed out to your OTA's from RoverPass and future bookings from OTAs will pull in to block off your RoverPass calendar.  This ensures that customers can book you on multiple sites without you having to manually manage all platforms or create double bookings.  The sync of availability happens quickly but may take up to 2 minutes to either destination from the channel manager (industry standard). 
    • (Please note: connecting to the OTA will not automatically sync to RoverPass reservations taken on the OTA before connection.  You should check that your inventory matches one to one right before going live with the channel manager).
  • You will be able to see any reservations that come from another channel / OTA (booking.com, VRBO, etc) as an Inventory Hold on your RoverPass Calendar (a block with a name on your RoverPass calendar), in the Inventory Holds list (future only), and in the Inventory Holds Report (past and future). The information will be limited because the job of the channel manager is not to completely recreate the reservation as if it had been created on RoverPass. Instead (as mentioned above), the channel manager updates your inventory, allows you to be on multiple platforms at once without concern for double bookings, and makes sure that you don't have to manually sync reservations between all of your platforms / channels / OTAs.

FAQ:

  • When I connect to the channel manager, will all of the reservations that I have already taken on my OTAs be automatically synced to RoverPass?
    • No, the channel manager is designed to update inventory from the moment it is connected and into the future.  This means that you need to make sure that you manually add to RoverPass any reservations taken on an OTA before activation of the channel manager.  
    • This also means that in the event of a modification / cancellation, you will need to manually cancel the manually created reservation in RoverPass as it will not have a "key" (added when the channel manager creates the reservation) that will allow the channel manager to locate it.
    • *airbnb and booking.com have designed a feature to help pull future reservations through the channel manager.  However, you should still verify on the day of activation that inventory matches and all future reservations have been accounted for.
  • Can I purchase the Channel Manager and use it for channels other than VRBO, airbnb, booking.com, or Expedia?
    • No.  At this time, only VRBO, airbnb, booking.com, and Expedia are supported.  However, exposure through expedia offers extra exposure to Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Wotif and more within this group! 
  • I see you also work with BookOutdoors, Spot2Nite, and Hipcamp.  Can I purchase the Channel Manager to link with the listings I already have with those OTAs?
    • BookOutdoors, Spot2Nite, and Hipcamp are considered partner OTAs and managed differently than non-partner OTAs.  Use of the Channel Manager (for each partner channel) is included with the marketplace agreement to be on the Partner OTAs.
    • Purchasing the Channel Manager is only required when you want to link a non-partner OTA (Expedia, airbnb, booking.com, or VRBO).  The Channel Manager as a product is only sold for connection to Expedia, airbnb, booking.com, or VRBO.
  • What happens when a guest makes a reservation in an Online Travel Agency?
    • You will receive a notification from the OTA, but you will not need to update your RoverPass calendar. Your RoverPass calendar will
      automatically update with an Inventory Hold for that booking.
  • What happens when a guest makes a reservation in RoverPass?
    • The Channel Manager will block off availability in your connected OTAs so that no one else can book that site / unit.
  • What happens if I block a specific site in the RoverPass calendar?
    • The Channel Manager will block off the corresponding site in your OTAs.
  • What should I do if I want to make an entire listing in an OTA unavailable for certain dates?
    • You should create a block in the RoverPass calendar for those dates. The information will automatically update in the OTA.
  • What happens if I make a site in RoverPass unavailable online?
    • The corresponding site in your OTAs will be made unavailable as well.
    • **Please note: As the simple click to disable a site triggers so much data to be sent to the Channel Manger and OTAs, we ask that you disable sites connected to the Channel Manager sparingly.  If you intend to rarely have a site enabled, please ask us to remove it from your channel manager all together.
  • I received a booking by phone/email; how do I ensure these dates are not available in the OTA?
    • Create the reservation in the RoverPass calendar. This will automatically block the corresponding site/dates in the OTA.
  • Can I offer different availability in some OTAs, but not others (ie, I only want to offer availability for the next month through airbnb, but I want to offer availability for the next year through RoverPass and my other OTAs)?
    • No.  The channel manager maintains inventory / availability evenly across all platforms. 
  • Can I offer different rates in some OTAs, but not others (ie, I want to charge more on one platform than another)?
    • When it comes to base rates: No.  The channel manager maintains base rates evenly across all platforms. You cannot charge $50/night in one platform and $75/night in another.
    • However, you can use tools outside of base rates to accomplish this.  Explore add-ons to see if you can meet your goal:
      • If you want to charge more in RoverPass, you might try adding a "Required add-on".
      • If you want to charge more in your OTAs, you might look at their selections of add-ons and extra fees.
  • Why doesn't the reservation from my OTA (booking.com, airbnb, etc) show on my Dashboard or in my reservations list?: 
    • A reservation from an OTA is not a real RoverPass reservation.  It is a hold on inventory to give you basic information about a guest reservation while ensuring that you do not get double booked.  Any desired information beyond what is offered in the RoverPass "Inventory Holds" report should be obtained by logging into the source OTA itself.
  • Why don't I receive as much information for an OTA reservation as I do for a RoverPass reservation?
    • The information will be limited because the job of the channel manager is not to completely recreate the reservation as if it had been created on RoverPass.  The channel manager focuses only on updating inventory and basic rate information.
    • Any desired information beyond what is offered in RoverPass will need to be located by logging into your source OTA account directly.
  • How do I get payment for reservations coming from OTAs?
    • Payment is processed through the OTA that sent the reservation.  You can receive payment by logging into the source OTA that the reservation was booked on.
  • How do I or my guest cancel/refund a reservation that was booked on an OTA?
    • You can cancel/refund a reservation by logging into the source OTA the reservation was booked on or by referring your guest directly to the source OTA they booked on.  You cannot cancel/refund these directly through RoverPass as the reservation/payment was never processed through RoverPass.
  • Can I change the site for the reservation?
    • Yes, you certainly can!  You'll notice the process from the RoverPass Reservation Calendar is the same as it would be to move a Real RoverPass Reservation.  
    • *It is recommended that you make all changes in the OTA itself, but you can change the site on your calendar if necessary.  For all other changes (as mentioned above), refer your guest directly to the source OTA they booked on.
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  • Can I use the Channel Manager with an OTAs dynamic pricing?
    • No.  The channel manager maintains base rates evenly across all platforms.  
  • Can I use RoverPass' dynamic pricing with the Channel Manager?
    • No.  The channel manager maintains base rates evenly across all platforms.  
  • The photos / rules / descriptions / questions asked to guests / cancellation policies / payment rules on my OTAs need to be adjusted, how do I do that?
    • To adjust this information, you will log into each OTA you have and update it there directly.  The channel manager updates only inventory and basic rate information.
  • What specifically does the channel manager automatically update from RoverPass to my OTAs (airbnb, booking.com, etc)? (Please note, once hooked to the channel manager, you will need to update these items through RoverPass... you will not have the option to update them in your OTAs)
    • Nightly Rate
    • Minimum Night Stay
    • Availability 
      • Reservation
      • Block
      • Disabling a site
      • Operation Schedule
      • Inventory Holds
      • Blackout/Unavailable Dates
  • What doesn't the channel manager update/ what do I need to update in my OTAs (airbnb, booking.com, etc)?
    • Anything outside of the information listed above.  This includes but is not limited to:
      • Tax Rate
      • Extra People Fees (and count)
      • Maximum Night Stay
      • Pet Fees (and count)
      • Add ons
      • Deposits
      • Photos
      • Description
      • Cancellation Policy
      • System-wide Reservations on/off