Most properties, especially those managed by full-time property managers are more often than not listed in more than one online travel agency. This is mostly to ensure that the property is accessible to more than one target audience, therefore, increasing your chances of getting a booking.
While it seems to be a good idea to have multiple OTA listings for the same property, it is important to ensure that the same property or unit is not booked multiple times for the same date. To do that the calendars of all the OTA must be linked to each other. This article guides you to sync calendars from Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com to each other.
At the initial stages, manual syncing via Excel spreadsheets might seem like a good idea but as the heading suggests, you can only try. This is mostly because information gets outdated soon and as a full-time property manager, you will most probably not have the time to manually update spreadsheets. Attempting to manually synchronize bookings could soon be the same as not having any synchronizations as it is only natural to give up soon resulting in a mess in calendars and bookings, resulting in risking an overall negative customer experience
Calendars can easily be synced through the iCal calendar sync functionality. Set up connections between the three vacation rental sites and enjoy peace of mind.
An iCal connection is a tool used to synchronize multiple calendars together. You can use it to sync multiple calendars to the same property in one space effectively keeping properties from being overbooked or having multiple bookings for the same dates.
For example, when you connect your Airbnb and Booking.com calendars and a guest makes a booking on Airbnb for a particular date, those dates automatically become unavailable on Booking.com. If the booking was made via Booking.com the dates get blocked out on Airbnb.
Follow the steps below to access the link in your Airbnb host dashboard:
Note: you will also find the “Import Calendar” option just above the “Export Calendar” option. This is where you will paste in the iCal links from VRBO and Booking.com when you find them
The Booking.com iCal link can be found when you log in to its extranet. Follow the steps below to get to your property’s unique iCal link on Booking.com.
Note: you will also find the “Import Calendar” option just above the “Export Calendar” option. This is where you will paste in the iCal links from other calendars
Another point to note is that Booking.com automatically disables calendar sync if you have a channel manager connected
The steps listed out below will help you find the iCal link on the VRBO property dashboard:
Note: you will also find the “Import Calendar” option just above the “Export Calendar” option. This is where you will paste in the iCal links from other calendars.
Now that you have the iCal links to your property in all three booking engines simply follow the instructions below to sync their calendars
Paste Airbnb iCal link in VRBO “Import Calendar”
Paste VRBO iCal link in Airbnb “Import Calendar”
Paste Booking.com iCal link in Airbnb “Import Calendar”
Congratulations you now have the calendars of all three booking engines synced to each other reducing the chances of having your property being overbooked.
The downside of syncing calendars this way is that the API used to sync your calendars does not update in real-time. You might find that you have to refresh the calendars for each property every time a booking is made for the booking to get updated in other calendars. You might also have to risk delays from 30 minutes up to 2 hours for calendars to get updated. These delays are built in to prevent too many requests from being made in short periods of time.
While this delay may be okay during some periods a lot can happen during these delays especially during peak seasons with the chances of more people looking to book your property. The solution is to use vacation rental software that offers communication.
The most effective method to synchronize various booking engine calendars is to use vacation rental management software such as Hostaway. As a channel manager, our software allows multi-calendar synchronizations and allows you to list through both mainstream and niche OTAs allowing your property to be on top of search results to your target audience.
If your property has a hotel-style, multi-unit setup, we offer multi-unit support while giving you the option of combining multiple units into one big unit to maximize revenues, and renting out individual units when you're not fully booked.
If you would like to experience how we help property managers grow their businesses at Hostaway, talk to our sales team or request a free demo.