Vacation Rental Management for busy people!

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Availability calendars - updated automatically

Today there are usually 3 to 5 places that most owners want to keep their availability information to to date:

  1. HomeAway listing sites (as they are popular and keeping them up-to-date affects ranking)
  2. Their own website - preferably embedded
  3. Their management system - where the reservations are recorded
  4. On their PC or Desktop calendar for quick reference (Google or MS Outlook, for example)
  5. On their mobile device (PDA, Smartphone) such as the Apple iPhone or Google Droid

So how do you keep them all the same?

For 1 and 2, if you already have a HomeAway site subscription then many people use the that calendar - putting a link on their own website to it - or embedding it in their own site with an IFRAME. The more often the HomeAway calendar is updated the higher the Rank your property will have so there is incentive to do this.

For 3, some systems allow a one-off synchronization with HomeAway and after that you need to keep HomeAway up-to-date manually. A few Management systems will keep the HomeAway calendars up-to-date for you based upon changes in your reservations.

For 4 and 5 there are manual ways to import CSV (comma separated values) files into the calendars - but you have re-do that each time there's a change. These calendars do support automatic updates from a website URL that provides calendar data in the iCal standard format - if you can produce your calendar in that format then you can get your calendars onto these devices automatically. HomeAway provides this for those with a subscription.

Using a HomeAway calendar for your own website's Availability Calendar

Pros

  1. This is easy to do - a simple link or embedded with an IFRAME
  2. Other Listing sites may allow links to this calendar (supplied by their main competitor!)

Cons

  1. You need to have a subscription
  2. A link takes people away from your website (embed it instead)
  3. The calendar format is not customizable to make it fit in with your own site if you want to embed it
  4. It's owned by a single (very large) Listing site and iss not independent

When using a vacation rental management system

Vacation rental management systems typically consider themselves to be the golden reference for availability - they have to do that to avoid double-bookings. This means that all other calendars need to change when reservations in that system change. This usually means doing it by hand at HomeAway and wherever else you have one, unless your management system can update it automatically for you.

Pros

  1. You are independent of any one Advertiser - you can drop any of them without having to re-think how you display availability on your own website
  2. You can store more information about your reservation
  3. You get the benefits of other management system features

Cons

  1. You may still need to update the other calendars that you have or care about by hand.

The Solution - VRSync

How about a low-cost solution to all of this:

  1. Fully independent, open to share with any Listing site, designed for this purpose.
  2. A customizable calendar that you can embed in your own website and make it look like it belongs there. For multiple properties, show them all at once with the multi-view option.
  3. Automatic synchronization to and from HomeAway and other sites - add reservation from any source and keep the others up-to-date automatically.
  4. Synchronize to or from another calendar sources using the standard iCAL format
  5. Regular synchronization to HomeAway calendars even if your reservations have not changed - this keeps your HomeAway site Rank higher.
  6. Immediate calendar updates when your availability changes (when changed in your MyVRZone account).
  7. Supported synchronizations:
      Updated listing sites
      These sites can be synchronized both ways automatically:
    1. HomeAway.com
    2. VRBO.com
    3. VacationRentals.com
    4. HomeAway.co.uk (formerly Holiday-Rentals.co.uk)
    5. HomeAway.com.au
    6. Fewo-direkt.de // HomeAway.de
    7. FlipKey.com
    8. HolidayLettings.co.uk (since Feb 2014, subscription listings only)
      Sites that can take an iCAL feed/url can be updated, for example
    1. AirBnB
    2. FlipKey
    3. Many more
      Use MyVRZone's iCAL feed/url, for Personal and Mobile Calendars:
    1. Your own website
    2. Google Calendars
    3. MS Outlook Calendars
    4. Windows Calendar
    5. iPod, iPhone, iPad
    6. Android
    7. BlackBerry
    8. ... and many others
      Other updates
    1. All MyVRZone Partner Listing Sites
    2. Any number of MyVRZone calendars used by your own website

This centralization and synchronization is what the MyVRZone online vacation rental management software was originally designed to do and you can use it now for a small cost - check out the the calendar examples and the knowledgebase for help on how to set up synchronization and customize them.

See these pages for information on getting your availability displayed on your Google, Outlook or other iCal-compatible calendars.