Managing your calendars over multiple OTAs is easier than you might think, unless you have instant book. I know the OTAs prefer listing to be instant book, but it is suggested to not enable instant book. This way you will have more control of the bookings. The best way to do keep from double booking is to choose one OTA calendar as your main calendar and import it into the other OTA platforms. It really is that easy. It can be challenging if you are in a busy or area, and the calendars don’t sync up fast enough. In all of the years I’ve been doing this, there was one or maybe two times when I actually had requests / inquires for same dates from different platforms. So it could happen, but if it is discovered right away then there is no hardship to either potential guest.
In addition to the online calendars I use old-fashioned pencil and paper calendars. I like to visually see the reservations written on paper with guest names, notes about why they are coming to town, if they have any special needs, and if they are bringing their dog. It is just quick and easy. I then actually copy these and share with my cleaners. I have to admit that I really like the paper. I have a paper calendar for each of my properties. I can see all of my reservations at glance.
If you want a digital calendar you can transfer these dates to a Google calendar and color code for rental. You can then see the reservations on your phone or computer. This is helpful for when you get inquires. Be sure to block dates needed for turnovers if your property takes more than five hours to turnover. I do this with a larger home that sleeps fifteen because it is impossible to do a thorough turnover it in five hours. Therefore, I block out the day before and the day after a booked reservation.
Managing reservations on a software platform is ideal for owners with multiple properties and for owners with websites that want direct bookings. I went this route when I added a fourth rental, and chose Owner Reservations (OwnerRez).
After over a decade of managing rental calendars manually it was a bit of learning curve using API to integrate my listings from Airbnb, HomeAway, and Booking. But once I did all of the work I felt liberated. This platform allows you to see all of your reservations in one place on your mobile device and your laptop and it happens automatically.
You can also share it with your partner, and share calendars with your cleaners. This is especially great for me because I handle the reservations, manage the listings, maintain our website, and communicate with guests and cleaners; and my husband handles the financial side and state taxes. My husband can now go into the booking calendar and see all of the bookings, what platform (or book direct), the amount, and the dates without asking me any questions. It is fantastic!
There is a monthly fee for this service. I have found the fee to be very reasonable and so worth it. It have funneled all of our listing information through OwnerRez so that all our listings on every OTA are synced. I have had no double bookings. I am glued to my phone so that is the best way to stay abreast of inquiries so that double bookings won’t happen.
Owner Reservations is just one of many providers that offer this service. I went with them because many owners in Facebook groups were pleased with the service. I found the customer service amazing when I was setting up my listings. Every question I emailed or put on the forum were answered thoroughly and quickly.
Which ever way you go either Analog or Digital or a mix of both be sure to respond to inquires and reservations quickly and keep the OTA calendars up to date and synching.