The are three main reasons to use iCals:
You currently list properties on multiple channels and intend to connect through full API sync. Some API connections setups take minutes while others take hours or days. This is due to each channel (Airbnb, Vrbo, etc) all designing their APIs differently. Importing/exporting iCals serves as protection from double bookings before completing 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 Vrbo and TripAdvisor to connect through 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.
If you have API integration turned on for a property on one platform, you don't need the iCal for that same platform since it will create problems and delay the transfer of information. Ex: If you have API integration turned on for a property on Airbnb, you don't need the iCal sync for that property with Airbnb. ( but you can still have iCal sync with other channels such as VRBO, TripAdvisor, etc...)
Reservations imported by iCal may be prone to template trigger errors, so you will need to send custom templates (for example, Welcome email, Check-in instructions...) manually in Inbox or by your email.
Step 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 Calendar tools > 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.
Other Providers: You may want to sync via iCal with other sites than Vrbo, Airbnb, Booking.com, or Trip Advisor. You will choose the option for "Other Provider".
It is extremely important the iCal link you enter in Hostfully for this other site only provides blocks and reservations made on that site. The iCal can’t contain blocks or reservations already on the Hostfully calendar that were sent to the other site via an iCal export. It will cause what we call a “circle of death” and lead to many issues.
Please check with the support team for the other site you are using to ensure the iCal link you paste into Hostfully only sends blocks or reservations made on that specific site and nothing else.
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 the Sync button.
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.
Log in to the other channel's website, find the section where you import property iCals, and paste the property-specific URL.
3. Removing an iCal Sync
Note: upon removal of iCal sync
For one-time import of the iCal, the iCal blocks would stay, and you will need to manually delete each booking.
For continuous sync, ALL of the iCal blocks are removed from the calendar.
Please let us know if you have any questions/suggestions regarding this topic via the bottom right chat button, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org