A recent change to Airbnb's iCal exports may cause operational headaches for some short-term rental managers and software providers. We break down what changed, who is impacted, and what you can do to fix it.
In an email to hosts, Airbnb explained their decision to remove guest information (such as the guests name, number & email) and reservation details (including listing name, check in/out dates, number of nights and reservation codes) from their iCal calendar sync descriptions as part of their “ongoing efforts to minimize exposure of guest information.” As a result, Airbnb iCal exports will be less detailed, but still include the following actionable information:
- A booking "Status" (ie. Reserved)
- Date range
- Last 4 digits of the guest phone number
- And a link to the Airbnb reservation
Due to these changes, some hosts will need to make adjustments to their day-to-day operations, and the technology they're using to manage their business.
What is the impact?
If a rental manager, or their software partner, utilized any guest or reservation information from the iCal sync, they may no longer be able to rely on Airbnb iCal alone for some operations they currently perform.
There are many popular tools using iCal to sync reservation information and therefore could be impacted. The list includes smart locks, PMS and channel management systems, third-party service providers, or anyone using a calendar like Google Calendar to manage operations (and use the information like the guest name or confirmation code). Some of the operations that could be affected include:
- Check-in and check-out management
- Ability to manage listings and bookings in one place
- Automated messages and guest communications
- Cleaning and maintenance automation and management
What is the solution?
- Manage everything through Airbnb - Hosts can decide to manage all of their Airbnb bookings and inquiries directly on Airbnb.
But that can be overly-burdensom on businesses with many listings across many channels who are feeling the effects because their PMS or 3rd-party channel manager uses an iCal-based integration.
- Consider upgrading software or changing providers - We recommend upgrading to software with direct integrations to Airbnb and other listing sites and avoiding challenges like this altogether.
What are direct integrations, and why do they matter?
It’s clear that small changes by listing sites can have significant unintended consequences for how short-term rentals manage operations. This is why it’s worth investing in built-in channel management software that offers direct integrations to channel listing sites.
- Direct integrations offer full-featured connections to listing sites like Airbnb, and allow you to populate your listing content (description, photos, rates, fees, etc.) from your property information, as well as receive and manage bookings and inquiries.
- With systems like MyVR, which offers an all-in-one property management and channel management software solution - you can manage everything from one centralized dashboard.
- You receive full access to all the features and functionality you have in your Airbnb account directly from your centralized MyVR dashboard.
- And in this particular case, you would be able to import the full set of reservation data into your account, including renter contact information and historical reservations.
- As an example of the power direct connections offer, MyVR customers using our built-in channel manager will not be impacted by this change at all!