A Channel Manager is a software for managing online distribution channels. It is accessible from the web and does not require any type of installation (login HERE).
An Online Distribution Channel is a web portal where travelers see the prices and availabilities of accommodation facilities in which they want to stay (hotels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, etc) choosing by location and / or type.
On the web there are various types and some of the best known examples are booking.com, airbnb, expedia, etc. These distribution channels require the accommodation to pay a commission on the bookings received (which can reach up to 20% of the total).
The accommodation enrolls on the portals and create their own accounts. With their credentials, they access to the private section of the portal (extranet) and enter all the information related to their rooms or apartments: prices, availability, pictures, description, discounts, etc.
Each web site has its own extranet, in which every property logs in to create or update their information, and they handle their bookings from that channel.
Whenever the property receives a new reservation, you must enter to all of the extranet portals on which it is registered and update availability. This is essential to avoid receiving more bookings than the actual availability (overbooking).
A Channel Manager allows you to manage all of your bookings and information (prices, availability, pictures, discounts, etc) from a single calendar, automatically synchronizing all web portals on which the property is registered.
No more having to enter to all the extranets, since will only need to update and control all of your distribution channels directly from the Channel Manager.