Using Online Accommodation Availability Calendars...

...Is Easier Than You Think

One of the first questions that guests invariably want answered when they're looking for a holiday accommodation is "Are the dates I want available?". If your accommodation's availability is not immediately viewable online, some potential guests will take the time to send you an enquiry while the majority will not, thus costing you many potential bookings. If you don't have one already, an interactive, online availability calendar can quickly let your guests know whether the dates they're looking for are available or not. Availability calendars can also give your website a professional touch. Some of the more interactive calendars allow guests to enquire with you directly through the calendar's interface.
Using Online Accommodation Availability Calendars

Incorporating An Availability Calendar Into Your Own Website

Don't worry. Getting your own online availability calendar doesn't require you to hire an expensive programmer; there are plenty of free, ready-to-go calendars that you can quickly and easy incorporate into your own site. Getting a calendar up and running on your own site is quite often simply a matter of choosing a few options and then cutting and pasting. What's more, is that if you use a calendar provided by a property listing website that you currently list on, such as Stayz or Roamfree, the enquiry details are already in the system when it comes time to convert the enquiry into a booking — saving you even more time! The following instructions outline how to incorporate calendars from two of the more popular property listing websites onto your own website:

Stayz's Remote Calendar

  1. Log into Stayz Admin and go to My Account.
  2. Under Property Tools, select Remote Calendar.
  3. Stayz offers their calendar as a Pop-Up window only. Select and copy the HTML code they provide and paste it on your own website. The code will appear as a link which, when clicked, will launch your interactive calendar as a Pop-Up window. Stayz does not currently charge for any bookings taken through this calendar from your own website. Make sure to republish your website once you're finished putting in your calendar code.
  4. Tip: You can change the link text "Online Reservation - Click Here" to anything you want!

TakeABreak's Own-site Calendar

  1. Log into TakeABreak Admin and go to Listings.
  2. Under Account, select Own-site Calendar.
  3. Select which of your properties this calendar will apply to.
  4. Select the type of link or display behaviour you would like your calendar to have. Your choices are: Pop up, Direct link, Inline and Frameset.
  5. Select any additional information you'd like displayed such as Rates, Deals or Last Minute Deals.
  6. TakeABreak gives you the option of applying a three character reference code to enquiries generated from this calendar. By default this is set to "WEB". I've set my reference code to "OWN" to avoid any confusion since technically all enquiries from any site are coming from the "web".
  7. If you've chosen Pop up or Direct link, you can set the link text to anything you want. By default, it is set to "Click here for availability".
  8. The final option given is to set the background colour for your calendar. This is done using a hexadecimal colour code. TakeABreak offers help on choosing the right code to match your website.
  9. When you're finished setting your options, click the Generate button to get your customised calendar code.
  10. Copy the HTML code and paste it into your own website. TakeABreak currently charges 2% of bookings taken through their calendar on your own website. Republish your website to make the calendar code active.

There are plenty more online availability calendars offered on the internet; some are free, some are not. The calendars will vary in functionality and add-on features. Some calendars include guest tracking databases as well which is a handy one-stop shop for storing past and future guests' details. Do a search and compare the different types to find one that matches your needs, style and price range. Go to our Resources page for a collection of online availability calendars that you can use on your own site.

Having an availability calendar incorporated into your own holiday property website can be a great, and easy, addition to your website. Why not set yours up today, get interactive with your guests and boost your bookings?

Good luck!

Christopher Van Eenoo
Australian Holiday Property Marketing Online © 2008 - 2015

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