OwnerRez is designed to be your "hub" for all information about your bookings. No matter what the source of a booking, the first step is to make sure that booking ends up in OwnerRez.
💡 Special Note about Blocking Time
We generally advise that blocking time be done only in OwnerRez. This is because some of the listing sites use "blocks" for bookings that have not yet completed - as in, the guest is still working their way through that site's booking process.
Of course, as we all know, people often don't finish the process of making an online purchase, and abandon their shopping cart midway through. So we definitely do not want this kind of false block to be imported into OwnerRez, and then propagated out to your other calendars, possibly preventing someone else from booking that time for real.
For this reason, we advise that calendar imports into OwnerRez be configured, where possible, to ignore blocks. This means that only actual real bookings will be imported into OwnerRez, which is usually what you want.
It does make testing your calendar imports a little harder, though, because you have to create a real booking. This isn't bad, though, because it allows you to test the entire process - maybe there's some text or other that isn't quite right.
For many listing sites, the calendar is imported into OwnerRez using the iCal calendar import. For others, the calendar is synchronized using an API integration. Either way, the calendar testing process is the same.
So, to test and make sure that your calendar is importing correctly after you've set it up, you need to make a booking as a guest.
- In a different browser, go to the listing site that you are trying to test. Make sure that you are not logged in under the account that owns your property listings. You will probably be required to log in to place a booking; you might want to create a different account using a different email address for testing purposes.
- Search for the property you are wanting to test.
- Make a booking with yourself for your property.
- This needs to be a real booking, so it's going to block off time for awhile (that's the whole point). So you want to pick a date range that is very unlikely to actually get booked in the near future.
- Depending on the channel and how you are configured, you may be able to give yourself a super special discounted rate. Do so if you can.
- It may also be possible to "make the booking" and not actually pay for it right away. Do this if possible.
Now, sit back a bit and wait for things to happen.
- You should receive confirmation emails from the channel - both as the guest, and as the host. Do these show the information you expect? Are the charges what you thought you'd see?
- Go look at the calendar for your property on the listing site you are testing. Are the dates you booked now blocked off? They certainly ought to be, since you booked on that site - but you never know, and if they aren't, then you can't expect them to appear in OwnerRez either.
- Go look at the calendar for your property on the main OwnerRez booking display. Are the dates you booked now blocked off? It's likely that very little information about the actual booking is available (e.g. no guest name or contact information), especially if you are using iCal calendar connections - this is normal. But at minimum, there should be a block visible in your calendar to prevent anyone else from booking those dates.
- If you have configured emails to be sent to your cleaning staff, did they get an email announcing the new booking?
If your OwnerRez calendar shows the dates properly blocked - congratulations! You've proven that the calendar import from this channel into OwnerRez is working for that property.
Before you cancel your test booking, if you have other listing channels that you are exporting your OwnerRez calendar to, this is a good opportunity to test those connections as well.
If you are using Mutual Blocking, don't forget to check the properties that should automatically be blocked when other properties are booked!
When you do cancel your test booking, you should do that as the guest, not as the host, so it doesn't hurt your rating with the listing site. Do not cancel the booking in OwnerRez!
Once you've canceled, you have another opportunity to test things in reverse:
- Did the dates properly open up on your calendars?
- Did you get all the cancellation emails you'd expect to receive, as both guest and host?
- If you have configured emails to be sent to your cleaning staff, did they get notification of the cancellation too?