To avoid unfavorable circumstances like double bookings or avoidable vacancies, it is crucial for property managers to maintain a centralized, highly organized and up-to-date booking calendar for their vacation rentals.
Why do I need a centralized booking calendar?
Each of the channels you list your properties on will most likely have its own calendar. Your Airbnb calendar will reflect all of the reservations made on Airbnb, while your Booking.com calendar will display all of the reservations made through Booking.com.
The problem with individual calendars for every channel is that they don’t account for reservations made elsewhere. Since your Airbnb calendar won’t block off dates that have been booked through another channel, guests will be able to book those dates and you may end up with two or more parties expecting to stay at your property at the same time. At that point, you’ll have to cancel on some of your guests, which damages not only your reputation among the traveling community, but your standing with the OTA itself.
A centralized calendar that registers all of your reservations no matter where they were made allows you to prevent such mishaps.
Another benefit of a centralizing booking calendar is its ability to give you a birds-eye view of all your past, current and upcoming reservations in all your listings across all your channels. You can scan the calendar for any notable gaps in occupancy and make adjustments to your prices or minimum night requirements for those dates to encourage bookings for that specific period. You can also check in on specific listings to see how they’re performing in terms of occupancy.
Quick access to a calendar exhibiting your availability will also enable you to easily make over-the-phone or in-person reservations for customers who prefer to book that way.
What is the best online booking calendar?
Given all of the above, the best online booking calendar will be one that can integrate with your primary property management software so that it can automatically input your reservations across all your listings across all of your channels. This will spare you the arduous task of manually updating your calendar to ensure it reflects all existing reservations no matter how they were made.
Not only should your online booking calendar have access to all of your reservation information, it should be able to push that information to your individual channel calendars so that any and all reservations are blocked off on each platform’s calendar no matter how those reservations were made.
For example: Your calendar will see that you have a reservation for December 20th through 28th that was made through Booking.com. It will register those dates as unavailable on your calendars on Airbnb, HomeAway and your personal booking website to ensure those dates do not get double booked.
An ideal online booking calendar will also enable you to filter your view so you view only specific listings or reservations made through specific channels. It will allow you to easily search for available dates and listings based on custom criteria.
How do I add a booking calendar to my website?
There are several ways to add an online booking system to your website, including a booking calendar. You can link to an external booking system, use a plugin, embed an external website page into your own site, integrate through an API or write your own code. The simplest way, however, might be to create a site using your property management software’s site builder, since this will already have the technology necessary to accept and process bookings and update your centralized calendar accordingly.