The are three main reasons to use iCals:
- You currently list properties on multiple channels and intend to connect through a full API sync. Some API connections setups take minutes while others take hours or days. This is due to each channel (Airbnb, HomeAway, etc) all designing their APIs differently. Importing/exporting iCals serves as protection from double-bookings before completing a full sync. You don't have to do this step if your calendar is synced through another means while you work on the full sync setups.
- You don't meet the minimum number of listings required by HomeAway and TripAdvisor to connect through a full API sync. iCals enable you to list properties, sync calendars, and receive bookings through these channels.
- You want to import existing reservations into your Hostfully calendar. Airbnb is the only channel that allows Hostfully to pull in existing reservations when connected through the full API sync. The other channels will only bring in new reservations moving forward. In order to import existing reservations from another channel or another Property Management Platform, you can do a one-time iCal import.
Note: If you have API integration turned on for a property, you don't need the iCal since it will create problems and delay the transfer of information.
Here's How By Step Instructions:
1- Import your iCals from other channels:
Log-in to your account on the other channel's website, then locate where they allow you to export a property's iCal (typically in an Availability or Calendar section). Once located, copy the property-specific URL
Log in to the Hostfully Property Management Platform (PMP)
Click the drop-down arrow to the right of your Agency Name. Go to Agency Settings > Calendar tools
Click the Calendar Import and Synchronization tab
Find the 3 stacked drop-down arrows and Select Property (use the name of the property matching the iCal you copied), Select Provider (use the name of the Channel you copied it from), and under iCal paste the link that's unique/specific to the selected property
IMPORTANT: If you want the calendar to stay synchronized (instead of doing a one-time import), check the box for Keep calendar automatically synchronized and click Import.
Within minutes the reservations will be viewable on your Hostfully Dashboard and Calendar.
Hostfully's color-coded Calendar allows you to hover over the reservations to see which channel they're from.
2- Export your iCals to other channels.
To ensure two-way iCal sync your bookings from Hostfully also need to be passed onto the other channels.
In Hostfully, go to the drop-down to the right of your Agency Name > Calendar Tools.
Click the Calendar Export tab.
Check both boxes under the property to ensure that you Include tentative reservations and Include bookings made outside of Hostfully. Then, copy the property-specific URL.
Login to the other channel's website, find the section where you import property iCals and paste the property-specific URL.
Removing an iCal Sync
If you want to remove the sync (perhaps you entered the incorrect link) you can follow the below:
If you clicked the box to "keep calendar automatically synchronized", you can navigate to Calendar Tools and see if the link is there. If it is there, you can click stop sync, which will remove all bookings from the calendar.
If you did a one-time iCal import, meaning, you did not check the box to "keep calendar automatically synchronized", then you will need to manually delete each booking.
Note: Sometimes, there is a delay between your platform and PMP with iCal synchronization. To push an update, you can select Calendar tools, choose your property and the platform you want then press Sync button.