Every short-term rental property manager fears double bookings. They’re embarrassing for you and wildly inconvenient for your guests. Whether your guests show up to find another family in “their” rental or you realize it beforehand and cancel a trip at the last minute, the gaffe isn’t likely to inspire confidence in your guests.
Not only is it unprofessional, and you lose booking commissions, but it can damage your reputation if they start posting their grievances on social media. Plus, even if you can rebook the guest elsewhere, it’s tough to salvage such a situation, and they’ll likely never book through the brand again. You want to inspire guests to leave you stellar reviews, not complaints.
Yet, double bookings happen so frequently that Booking.com says it’s common in 25% of first-year short-term rentals. The problem is the lack of a synchronized calendar and property managers who manage bookings manually across multiple listing channels.
A double booking is when two separate parties book a room or short-term rental for the same period. If you don’t have a synchronized calendar integration, you can see how easy it can be to double book.
For example, if your calendar isn’t updated immediately when a property is booked, it will continue to show availability enabling someone else to reserve the space within the same booking window. Another example is if your calendar isn’t synched across channels, a guest can book on one channel while another potential guest books it on another, creating a double booking.
Search windows are shorter these days. People are making decisions quickly, on impulse, and at the last minute. Expedia’s Q2 2022 Traveler Insights report shows a 15% increase quarter over quarter in searches within a 61-90 day window. A secure vacation rental channel manager is the only way to manage multiple calendar listings efficiently.
There are several reasons why the dreaded double booking might occur. The three most common reasons are:
If you’re like most property managers, you list your short-term rental in multiple locations for maximum visibility. This makes sense because different guests may prefer Airbnb over Booking.com or vice versa. However, without integrated property management software, it’s then your responsibility to manually check listings throughout to ensure availability is updated across the board. Even if you’re able to do this and are in the process of updating availability, it only takes a second for someone to book a rental on another site.
As each listing channel has its calendar, property managers have to ensure they’ve set them up correctly, and integrate them with other calendars. Some property managers are meticulous at synchronizing their Google calendars. Others choose short-term rental software with a multi-calendar function to ensure synchronization. Such property management software ensures calendars are kept up-to-date with technology.
Maybe you forget to update a calendar or set up a listing wrong. Or, maybe you’re busy fielding other requests, and something slips through the cracks. It can be really easy to make a mistake when you’re managing multiple things. So, why not automate this process? Rely instead on accurate purpose-made software and make double bookings a thing of the past.
Having one centralized calendar for all channels allows you to see at a glance which properties are reserved, who’s paid, who’s completed identity verification, and where you have availability. Sync seamlessly across Airbnb, booking.com, Vrbo, and Google (yes, Google is in the vacation rental game now).
With a channel management platform, you can instantly change a listing across all distribution travel markets. This ensures availability is the same across the board minimizing the risk of double bookings. What’s more, property managers can easily adjust other aspects such as listing pricing based on local events, demand, and the season for maximized profitability.
Property managers who manually update their calendars are vulnerable to double bookings because of errors and lack of synchronicity.
Double bookings of short-term rental properties are costly, time-consuming, and worst of all, damaging to a brand's reputation. Luckily, tech software has been purpose-built to support property managers in this process. With an automated, centralized, and synced calendar you can provide a reliable service that benefits both your business and your guests.
Uplisting is a short-term rental property and channel management software built specifically for helping managers scale their businesses. Our all-in-one system helps you grow your short-term rental revenue and streamline your business.
We’ve built an all-in-one property, channel management and automation tool to help property managers scale seamlessly.