Our Channel Management feature is extremely powerful and can greatly simplify your channel advertising. Learn how it works by reading our Channel Management Overview article.
While our API integrations are the most powerful part of our Channel Management, not all users can use them. In some cases, you may have too few properties to qualify, or you may not be ready to connect via API.
Regardless of whether you end up going API or not, you need to make sure, upfront, that your calendars are syncing between OwnerRez and the channels. One of the worst problems you can have, when managing your vacation rentals, is getting double bookings. This tends to be the result of calendars not properly syncing.
Before diving into the rest of these docs, take a minute to watch the following video. This overview video will show you how iCal syncing works and how to configure it for common channels.
To sync calendars, you need to configure both a calendar import and a calendar export for every property and channel that you list on. So if you have two properties, listed on two channels, you will have a total of four calendar imports in OwnerRez, and you'll need to configure calendar exports four times on the channel sites.
- How calendar import/export works
- Configuring calendar imports
- Configuring calendar exports
- Channel-specific guides for configuring calendar imports/exports
Virtually all vacation rental channels - whether national brands (eg. Vrbo, Airbnb) or local/regional listing sites - support iCal-based calendar syncing. Most channels refer to this as "calendar import" and "calendar export" to denote that you are importing/exporting data between systems and not syncing at an API or partner level. If you look at Vrbo or Airbnb's calendar settings, both call it exactly that: "calendar import/export".
OwnerRez fully supports this iCal-based calendar importing and exporting process. And not only do we support it, but we offer a much more powerful import/export engine than the channels do and have built a number of features that smartly correct for common channel problems.
Calendar import/export works like this...
Both sides - OwnerRez and the channel - provide a link called "calendar export" for the other side to check on a regular basis (multiple times per day). The act of checking the other side's calendar is called "calendar import". Both sides are doing both things at the same time - providing the export link, and simultaneously importing the other side's calendar on a regular basis.
The calendar export link returns a list of blocked-off dates for a single property that is accurate for what that side is currently showing. The list of dates is published in a standard format (iCal) that both sides understand how to read.
When the calendar export link shows date changes from the last time it was checked, the system knows that something was changed - either new dates were blocked, existing dates were changed or dates were removed (ie. canceled). The side that is checking the link now needs to update its own calendar to match the changes.
Since both sides - OwnerRez and the channel - are both following this same process, that means that when OwnerRez has a change, the channel will update its calendar to match, and when the channel has a change, OwnerRez will update its calendar to match. That way, both calendars should look the same all the time.
For more details about the frequency, limits and caveats of how it works, please see our Common Issues & Questions support article for calendar import/export.
To configure a calendar import, go to Settings > Channels > Calendar Import/Export. Under the Import tab, click Import Calendar to add a new calendar import, and enter the Calendar Export URL from the listing site.
The Listing Site field will fill in automatically if the URL you enter is a known/common one. If it doesn't fill in, make sure to select the Listing Site yourself. If it's a listing site that isn't in the list, go to Settings > Custom Sources and create it, then come back and select that source in the list of listing sites. That way, you can track every new booking by the right channel correctly, even for custom ones.
By default, most of the settings on the page will be configured as they should be. Don't change them unless you are confident in what you are changing. Exception: If possible, choose "Bookings Only" for Import Events. The channels can create "ghost" bookings as guests start, but don't finish, the booking process (abandoned shopping carts). The "Bookings Only" option prevents those from mistakenly blocking your calendar.
Make sure to click the Save button at the bottom to finish.
When you create the import for the first time, it'll do an initial pull of items from the calendar, then update automatically from that point forward. You can view the last status in the log under the Sync Actions.
If you need to change a setting after creating the import, you can do that at any time by coming back to the same area, clicking into the calendar import, clicking the Change button and making your changes, and saving.
If you have combination properties where you want to block off one property when the other is booked, use our Mutual Blocking feature. Do not create a calendar import from another OwnerRez property within the same account.
If you have other questions about calendar imports, please see our Common Issues & Questions support article for calendar import/export.
To configure calendar exports, go to Settings > Channels > Calendar Import/Export. Under the Export tab, you'll see a list of your OwnerRez properties, and a unique URL next to each one.
These are the links that you need to provide to the channel so that the channel side stays in sync. On the channel side, you will create a "calendar import" and then fill in this export link from OwnerRez.
If you open one of these export links in a browser, you'll notice that it shows a large blob of text. That text is the iCal-formatted data that the channel will parse to determine if there are OwnerRez changes that need to be matched on the channel side.
If you have questions about the calendar export link or how it can be used, please see our Common Issues & Questions support doc.
We have created a number of walk-through guides that show how to configure calendar import/export for the most common channels. These will show you where to find and enter the export URLs for each channel.