How to share calendar information
Sharing Calendar Information – Gold and Agent accounts onlyMost holiday home owners prefer to take bookings directly on their own website as it minimises commissions that would otherwise have to be paid to 3rd party portals. It also helps to keep the cost of the rental down as no guest premiums need to be added. That said, we do have many owners who use a combination of their own website along with various 3rd party portals to generate business.
Here at Bookalet, we recognise the need for owners to share calendar information amongst the different sites used to generate and manage these bookings. The last thing we want is for you to experience the complications of sorting out double bookings!
We use the industry standard iCal (.ics) file to share this information. We both export the Bookalet calendar to other portals who accept the iCal file and we also import iCal files from the portals that provide such information.
To export calendar information from Bookalet:
First login to the bookalet system and navigate to Channel management.
You will see a number of the most popular portals listed. Simply click on the portal you wish to export your calendar to. In this case, we will use Airbnb as an example.
You will first need to click on the red bar to enable this channel. Once done it turns green and an URL will be displayed for the location of the .ics file for each property in your account. You will need to copy this URL and add it to your Airbnb account. Instructions on how to do this are above the green bar. (Please be aware that from time to time the portals change the layout of their pages but instructions were correct at the time of going to press.)
Please note that the calendars do not synchronise immediately. Airbnb will run a routine every hour or so, so it might take this length of time before your Airbnb calendar is updated.
To import a calendar into Bookalet:
Many of our owners use bookalet as their master calendar/booking system. So, as well as exporting any bookings taken through the Bookalet system, there is also a need to import calendar/booking information from bookings taken elsewhere.
The Bookalet system imports the iCal file as a new booking in the Bookalet system. We import as much information as we can about the booking which has been provided in the iCal file. Different portals provide differing amounts of information. We typically import arrival date, departure date and the customer’s name.
Click on Import and then select Airbnb. Click on the red bar to activate the channel:
We now have to do the opposite to what we did during the export process. Instead of providing a .ics file, we have to get one from the Airbnb site and then add it to the Bookalet site. Instructions on how to find the .ics file can be found above the green bar. (Please be aware that from time to time the portals change the layout of their pages but they were correct at the time of going to press.).
Once added, press the save button. Your calendar will now sync the next time the update routine is run. We run the routine every 20 minutes on the Bookalet site.
You will notice any bookings imported via the Channel manager will have a little icon on the right hand side of the active bookings page to indicate where the booking came from.
You can then edit the booking to put in as much detail as you want. For example, once the booking has been completed and you get paid by Airbnb, you can then edit the rental value so you have a full record.
It is worth noting that if you are using multiple portals, just link each one with Bookalet. Don't link between portals such as Airbnb with HolidayLetting or Homeaway. Otherwise you run the risk of getting a booking with Airbnb which updates the Homeaway calendar which in turn updates the Bookalet system. It would then import the booking as a booking from Homeaway rather than Airbnb. You just end up with confusion!