What is the difference between a PMS, a Channel Manager, and an Online Travel Agency (Channel)?


This article will describe how myallocator (Cloudbeds Channel Manager) integrates with your various systems such your OTA channels, and if connected, to a PMS (Property Management System).

System Roles Overview

Online Travel Agencies (Channels)

The easiest system to understand is the Online Travel Agency (OTA), otherwise known as a "Channel".  

These channels are where you have listed your property for sale, and where many of your guests search for and book your property.  Great examples of these OTA channels are:

  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • Hostelworld
  • Tripadvisor
  • AirBnb

Channel Roles

Your channels fulfill many roles, and here are the most common ones:

  • Listing your property for sale on their website
  • Providing a method for your guests to book accommodations at your property
  • Sending your guest bookings to the appropriate system (such as a connected channel manager, directly to your email, to a Property Management System, etc.)
  • Fulfilling their part of the contract you signed when listing your property with the channel
Channel Managers (myallocator)

A Channel Manager is a system that broadcasts your property inventory to multiple channels, and keeps all of the information in "sync" between the channels.  This way, when a booking is made at one channel, the inventory is reduced across all of your channels.  This "sync" allows you to market all of your rooms to every connected channel, while at the same time helps to prevent overbookings.  

The Channel Manager maximizes your opportunity for revenue, and reduces your risk of overbookings to a bare minimum.

As your channel manager, myallocator is responsible for fulfilling the following roles:

  • Sending Rates to your OTA's
  • Sending Availability to your OTA's (including restrictions such as Closed to Arrival, etc).
  • Receiving Bookings from your OTA's
  • Reducing Availability counts when a booking is made and broadcasting your updated inventory to all of your connected channels
  • Receiving inventory (Rate* and Availability) updates from a PMS system, if connected to one, and then broadcasting those updates to your connected channels

Find out more about the role of Channel Managers for OTA Management.

 Property Management Systems (PMS)

A Property Management System (abbreviated as PMS) is a robust and powerful system that helps you manage multiple aspects of your property.  While each PMS is different, most PMS systems perform the following functions:

  • Stores Availability and Rates* for all of your accommodations in a calendar format, allowing you to see your open rooms and Guest bookings at a single glance
  • Provides an easy to see and utilize method for room/bed assignments
  • Takes in reservations from your connected source(s) and populates those reservations into the calendar, thus updating your Availability in their system
  • When connected to a channel manager, the PMS sends Availability (and usually Rate) information to the channel manager.  The channel manager then sends the inventory updates to your connected channels.

The above functions are basic and apply to almost every PMS.  Many PMS systems also introduce other functionality, such as:

  • Online interface for direct website bookings
  • Housekeeping optimization
  • Amenities
  • Reporting
  • Payment Gateways
  • And many, many more

For more information on which PMS systems can integrate with myallocator, and to determine which PMS system may be best for your property, visit: https://www.myallocator.com/pms-connections/

System Functions

One of the most common misconceptions about property management is determining which system controls which function.  Here is a quick breakdown:

Data Flow Visualization

Here is a quick visualization to help you understand the Data Flow between each system

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to Enter the Data when using a PMS?

If you are using a PMS, it's important to remember that myallocator is simply "mirroring" the information in your PMS, and sending that information to the channels.  

You must enter all the following data into the PMS (do not enter into myallocator, as the PMS will simply overwrite it):

While most PMS systems send (control) rates in myallocator, there are a few PMS systems that do not.  As mentioned above, always consult with your PMS system when connecting to myallocator.  They will instruct you on where to enter rates (either in the PMS, or in myallocator).

What's next after entering the data?

If you haven't received myallocator instructions from your PMS, contact your PMS support team immediately before taking any further steps.

If you use a PMS (such as Wix Hotels, Loventis, Bananadesk, Checkfront, Resnexus, myfrontdesk, Arawak, BnB Manager, Dashbell, Hostel Office, etc.) STOP!

Consult with your PMS before setting up your myallocator account.  Each PMS system is different, and they will provide you with their specific setup instructions.  

For PMS acquisition, check our Partners page to see which PMS systems we work with here: https://www.myallocator.com/pms-connections/

Have more questions? Contact Support