If you’re managing a vacation rental property and want to grow your side hustle into a professional short-term rental business, there are some steps you’ll need to take to successfully scale.
The more properties you manage across multiple listings, the more necessity there is for you to automate certain processes, so that nothing falls through the cracks. One example of where you should have automation in place is your booking calendar.
Imagine there’s a traveler viewing one of your vacation rental listings on Vrbo while another traveler is viewing the same property on Airbnb. What sort of mechanism do you have in place, to ensure that both travelers don’t book the same property for the same date? And what happens if you’re juggling five or six or twenty properties across a variety of channels?
Some property managers use this dilemma as a reason to not expand onto new channels, but the truth is that the more channels you’re on, the more revenue you'll bring in.
There are three ways to manage your reservation calendar: manually, via iCal calendar syncing and a centralized calendar with property management software. As we'll explain, you should never use manual syncing and should be cautious when using iCal to sync your calendars.
The dangers of manual syncing
When syncing your channels by hand, you are not only creating a lot of work for yourself, but you’re also opening your business up to a number of potential problems.
Without automated calendar syncing, you have to go into each channel's calendar after a booking has been confirmed, and mark off those dates. This is a hassle and will result in errors that will hurt your business and its ranking position in listing channels - not to mention, your reputation.
If you would rather not adjust your booking calendar each time you have a new guest confirmation, there are two options: you can sync your calendars with iCalendar or you can find property management software (PMS) that will automatically centralize your calendar into one.
Let’s look at those other two options.
How to sync your Airbnb reservation calendar through iCal
Some property managers choose to sync iCalendar - or iCal for short, a basic, default calendar application that is used to sync and store scheduling information - with their Airbnb account, but this application wasn't built for short-term rental operations and is highly discouraged.
iCal's limited functionality is an inherent risk to your business, namely it exponentially increases your chances of double bookings and limits your business's data collection. While iCal may be a great app for your personal day-to-day, it should be avoided when money - and your company's reputation - is on the line.
With that being said, if you need to sync your Airbnb calendar, you can do so by following these steps:
- In your Airbnb account, select Availability settings in your calendar view.
- Then, select the Import Calendar option under Sync Calendars.
- Copy the website URL for the calendar you want to input and paste it into the Calendar Address (URL) field.
- Then name your calendar and then click Import Calendar.
Not only can this process be clunky, but it puts your business at risk in many ways. Whether you are on one channel or five, you should proceed with caution if using iCal for your short-term rental business.
Centralize your reservation calendar with direct connections
When you’re looking at how to centralize your Airbnb calendar the best option is to use property management software with direct connections that manages this task for you.
Direct connections unite your Airbnb listings with your property management software without manual calendar syncing or an error-prone channel manager in the middle. Direct connections allow property managers to run their business at maximum efficiency, with full control over their properties and without fear of double bookings or inaccurate data exchange.
With direct connections to Airbnb and the four other major channels, MyVR is the most robust property management software on the market, complete with direct connections to Airbnb and the four other major listing sites, meaning you never have to worry about double bookings again.
Within MyVR, as you add your properties to channels in your MyVR dashboard, MyVR automatically consolidates each channel’s calendar into one, centralized reservation calendar - ensuring that your properties are never double booked.