If you advertise your holiday home on multiple websites, you will have to keep track of availability on all these sites to avoid double bookings and disappointment.
On Gites, a calendar synchronisation is possible via an iCal url. Most major platforms work with this functionality and there are plugins and Apps that you can use to add it to your private website.
How does it work
We will not bore you with the details, but the data of a specific calendar will be transfered by the website to a web address (url) in a certain format that can be read by another website that supports the same functionality. You can import those iCal URLs (iCal web addresses) into Gites. It is of course also necessary to export the Gites iCal URL for the calendar of your advertisement to the other platform, so that two-way communication occurs between the calendars. By default, automatic synchronisation takes place twice a day. You can manually force a synchronisation yourself if you wish.
An iCal URL of an ad on Gites looks something like this;
This iCal URL for your advertisement(s) can be found on the availability page behind the External Calendars button. This link is unique to the ad. Nobody can do anything with this link, it only works if you stick it on another platform that supports this functionality in the appropriate place.
An iCal URL of an advertisement on AirBnB for example looks something like this:
This link is unique for an advertisement on AirBnB and it only works if you stick it in Gites in the appropriate place. You can give the link a name so that you know which ad is meant on which platform.
What are the advantages?
The benefits are clarity, convenience and service. For Gites it is very important that the availability is always right. Nothing is more frustrating for a visitor than to take the trouble to book, reserve or to ask a question about a holiday rental with availability to discover that it is not actually available. This understandably and irrevocably leads to loosing that client to another website. Surveys show that improper availability is one of the biggest annoyances for visitors and gives Gites, and the holiday homes on Gites, a bad name. On the other hand, we also understand that, keeping a calendar is not the first thing you think about when your family decides to reserve or if you have processed a reservation through your own website. But sometimes the calendar comes up on Gites and you only notice that is isn't up to date when someone wants to book that period. Now, thanks to iCal synchronisation, this can be avoided. You can keep track of availability in one place and the iCal synchronisation takes care of the rest.
Which platforms support iCal
As would be expected, all the platforms of the HomeAway family (VRBO, Homelidays, Abritel, OwnersDirect, etc.), Natuurhuisje, Micazu, AirBnB, Booking and many others. You can also synchronise with different calendars. There are plug-ins for WordPress available for calendars that support an iCal exchange. It is best to do some research on the other platforms where you advertise to see how and where they offer this functionality. Without a doubt it is very similar to how we have applied it, you do not have to reinvent the wheel every time.
What does it cost?
You don't 'pay' extra for this service, you just need to invest a bit of time in setting up your calendars initially. We had considered allowing an external party to synchronise calendars, but the costs per ad can be as high as 100€ per year per ad. By popular request, we have decided instead to invest in developing this functionality ourselves and making it part of the Gites service package.
Availability on your own website