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Displaying availability online

 
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:51 pm    Post subject: Displaying availability online Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

First off, I'd like to gauge people's views on displaying availability calendars. As I see it there are various pros and cons:

Pros

1) it saves on dealing with enquiries for times when you are already booked

2) if bookings are good, it 'spells out' to people that they need to plan ahead if they want to stay with you

3) it looks good if you are booked up as it's clear that what you're offering is clearly in demand

Cons

1) if you have lots of availability, it perhaps doesn't look good (a bit like a restaurant with nobody sitting in it!)

2) people who see that 'their' week is already taken won't contact you, and you miss out on the opportunity of a) talking them into another week potentially, or b) gathering their data for another time (if they agree to it, of course)

I'm sure I've not covered everything here but I'd welcome any further comments.

Secondly, I'd be interested in hearing recommendations on the availability calendars that are out there.

In my case, I'm looking for a calendar for just one property (for now) in the UK, and I would be looking at Friday changeover dates in season, and Mondays and Fridays out of season. (Christmas / New Year could obviously be different, depending on when it falls.) I'm also curious to know whether anyone is using Google Calendar to display availability.

What would you recommend for my needs?
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you will probably find a few old threads on this subject Laughing In fact you've summarised them quite well already.

To me Google Calendar looks a bit tacky, but I'm not meaning to be rude to anyone who uses it., (and it may be possible to make it look better than some of the examples I have seen)

I like Dateblocker (www.dateblocker.com). It's free and easy to use and it's colours and display are quite customisable. It will even automagically update some other calendars fro you.
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Cinera



Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Posts: 26
Location: Languedoc Roussillon

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:40 pm    Post subject: Calendar Reply with quote

Hi

I use www.bookingcalendar.info on my website this is also free and easy to use.
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MyVRZone



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Disney Area, Florida

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you'd like a free customizable calendar for your website that will automatically update the HomeAway group's HomeAwayConnect (formerly rentors.org) calendar then you can try MyVRZone.com

If your central availability data is at myvrzone then it will update HomeAwayConnect on demand and at least once a day to make sure that your listing rank gets the benefit of a recent update - even if you have not changed your dates.

See: www.myvrzone.com/blog/synchronizing-availability-calendars

Neil
www.myvrzone.com
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 6095
Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neil, does your system work with HomeAway UK (Holiday Rentals)?

Can it handle multiple properties on the same listing (i.e. one property with 5 listings)?

MG
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MyVRZone



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Disney Area, Florida

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mountain Goat wrote:
Neil, does your system work with HomeAway UK (Holiday Rentals)?

Can it handle multiple properties on the same listing (i.e. one property with 5 listings)?

MG


Not 100% sure if Holiday Rentals would already be supported as I don't list with them. Do you use the HomeAwayConnect (HAC) calendar to update availability? If you do then it will work. If not then let me know how it's done (PM me) and I will take a look at it. VacationRentals.com is part of HomeAway but still has a separate login - this could be similar.

Multiple properties are indeed supported and actually need to be on the same HAC listing account as there's space for one set of login info.

Cheers,
Neil
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 6095
Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't think we use HAC.

I'm short of time today, but you'll need to find out if it can be used for HR (UK) as the majority of us are with the UK outfit rather than the US. This query has come up before.

MG
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks - I'll take a look at these links.

I haven't seen any Google Calendar examples yet but I liked the thought of being able to merge the rental calendar with my own calendar, and stuff like that. Handy if Santa thinks I've been good enough for an iPhone... Wink
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it would be unkind of me to point any out, but the ones I have seen look just like, well, a Google calendar, rather than a "proper" rental calendar.

I'm not sure whether my reaction is just a paradigm thing and that the punters don't actualy care. Any other opinions?
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect you are right, Windy. I haven't seen examples yet but I'm sure I could unearth some. Although the ability to merge the calendar with personal stuff would be handy, if it's not going to look right then I'll just have to opt for something else.
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MyVRZone



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Disney Area, Florida

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mountain Goat wrote:
No, I don't think we use HAC.

I'm short of time today, but you'll need to find out if it can be used for HR (UK) as the majority of us are with the UK outfit rather than the US. This query has come up before.

MG


I don't have an account with Holiday Rentals so I can't see how they do it right now. If anyone wants to have the HR calendar updated automatically (daily) then contact me privately and I will get this to work.

Cheers,
Neil
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DrRichard



Joined: 11 Jun 2008
Posts: 175
Location: San Diego, California

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say I'm slightly on the fence with this one but would probably lean on the side of integrating an availability calendar. It helps your visitors to know more about you and your property, and in general that's a good thing to do. I don't think I mind missing inquiries for dates that are booked - if someone asks you for those dates you're probably going to say no anyway so they will probably move on elsewhere. It's possible though that you could keep them in your pocket for a different date or a referral to another owner...

One thing I would say is that it's important that your calendar looks good within your site and integrates with the style and the colours. That's the downside of Google Calendar - it looks a bit 'bolted on' to me.

Another thing to think about is when do you set a date as unavailable? On a lead, or a provisional booking, or when you've received the cheque? Just something to think about!
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MyVRZone



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Disney Area, Florida

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:18 am    Post subject: Reservations on your google/outlook calendar (owners view) Reply with quote

FYI I've just posted about automatically getting reservation info into your personal calendars (eg Google, Outlook) on another thread at:
http://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11845&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

Cheers,
Neil
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