Can hotels connect to Booking.com (or other OTAs) without channel managers? If so, how?
I read (hopefully correctly) that you need to go through a channel manager to connect to booking.com but when I looked at the hotel base of a popular channel managers (e.g. Siteminder 30,000 properties and who also connect to booking.com) I'm struggling to understand how the rest of Booking.com's hotels connect. Any help / advise would be very much appreciated. 30,000 is a small number compared with the number of hotels advertised on booking.com. Please excuse my naivety as I'm new to this.
Sorry I didn't reply sooner and thank you for your detailed answer which has helped explain the differential between numbers of deployed channel management products versus numbers of hotels presented within the larger OTAs.
Booking.com, as well as most major OTAs, has its own web interface, an extranet. Basically, the extranet is a dashboard for managing a property. There you can add photos of your property, provide rates, define policies, configure payments, etc.
But there’s a problem with using an extranet. If you want to list your property at multiple OTAs like Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, and more, you have to manually update room availability in each separate extranet belonging to different OTAs.
That’s why some hotels - those that want to distribute their properties via many channels at once - use channel managers. These systems have their own dashboards and automatically update room availability and property details across all connected OTAs. So, hotel owners can operate using channel manager software only.
But since there are many small property owners that are fine with managing their rooms manually in a handful of OTAs, they stick with extranets. It’s likely that the majority of hoteliers listing their properties at Booking.com are doing so.