Many OTAs (Online Travel Agency) such as Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia among others, generates an iCal to store reservation information and availability of the property. In Chekin we use that information to create reservations automatically.
iCal is a file format for storing calendar information, it's short for iCalendar. The iCal are generated as a web link, you can recognize an iCal by the typical file extensions at the end of the link: “.ical” “.ics” “.ifb” or “.icalendar”.
On Vacation Rental software the iCal is used to store information about the reservation dates.
Related article:Finding Your iCal Link
Information Contained on the iCal
Only reservations with the information that exists on the iCal can be created. There are some minor variations between OTAs and PMS but they all share the same basic data:
UID: Unique identifier
Summary: If confirmed, blocked or unavailable.
Description: some iCals provide extra information about the reservation, for example Airbnb add the link to the reservation in your Airbnb account as a shortcut.
Here's an example of the information provided.
As you can see iCal don't contains the number of guests for the reservation or any other relevant information.
Important: since the number of guests is not included on the iCals, we use 1 by default when creating new reservations.
Automatic Reservations Import
After you connect an iCal to any property, the system reads the available information in the calendar and create reservations based on the calendar data.
Only reservations that have a check-in date on "today's" date and onwards are created on Chekin.
Reservations with past check-in dates won't be created.
How the iCal Synchronization works?
When you connect the iCal for the first time all reservations contained on the file are created. After that, the iCal is synchronized every 30 min to check for new reservation data.
When the synchronization happens, it checks all reservation data and to prevent creating duplicate reservations it check for check-in and chek-out date,
If there's already a reservation created in your Chekin account with the same dates on the iCal, the reservation won't be created.
If the dates doesn't match with the existing reservation, then the reservation will be created in Chekin.
If a reservation's check-in or check-out date is edited on the external source (for example Airbnb):
The existing reservation won't be updated.
A new reservation will be created with the new dates.
You'll need to deleted the previous reservation if you don't want to keep it.
To keep your reservations updated without creating new one, we suggest you to connect your Chekin account to a PMS Integration.
With a PMS integrations, the reservations are directly linked to Chekin, so when updating a reservation on the PMS, the existing reservation on Chekin will be also updated without creating a new one. Inthis link, you can see the list of available integrations.