Calendar sync issue between AirBnB and BDC caused double booking and great anxiety to me :-(

For the past 14 months I have been successfully keeping my AirBnB and BDC calendars in sync. Since prior to Covid19 pretty much all my bookings were on AirBnB I only did one way - AirBnB -> BDC. If a BDC booking came in, I would just go to the AirBnB calendar and block out those dates.

For some reason, since our country has moved to a much lower level for Covid19 so travel etc. is now fairly unrestricted, BDC bookings have picked up significantly while AirBnB has dropped. Anyway it’s all business so I didn’t care apart from the much higher charges BDC has if you ask them to collect the booking fees.

Then I got an email from BDC to say my calendar was blocked from October 2020 onwards (because when I set it up a year ago, I really consider having it open for over a year) and I should open it up. So I did until March next year.

Then got a 5 day booking on BDC in October which I thought was great. But to my dismay it overlapped a booking on AirBnB! I contacted the BDC guest and ask them to cancel (waiving all fees of course) but they were not happy since they have purchased non-refundable air tickets based on having accommodation available and could not find another place in the same location accommodating 4. I did a quick check on AirBnB, found a suitable place, sent them the link and they booked it. (As an aside maybe I should ask that AirBnB host for a commission :slight_smile: ). So that was a relief.

Anyway complained to BDC about the calendar sync issue. They were not that helpful and it was not easy to understand what the CSR was saying (English clearly a second language). I think they told me to keep the calendars in sync manually which sort of defeats the entire purpose of having that feature.

In BDC I have the URL for the iCAL link AirBnB publishes loaded but in the sync section of BDC ist just shows in the process of sync’ing - and that’s been like that for a day now. This is not a AirBnB issue of course but it’s still really annoying.

I think from now on I am not going to rely on automatic calendar sync but just do it manually to be sure. Very annoying.

I would blame Airbnb… they keep changing things on the site. After a similar disaster, I am now all manual updates, because I don’t trust any of them!

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Good on you! Way to take care of the guest!

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There are a number of channel managers available. Most have small monthly fees. A few appear to be free like

We have not used any so far, as we have one stay. To date, iCal has worked for us. However, we’ll look more into it when we re-open and intend to take far more direct bookings.

I’d recommend to always always always do things manually and keep paper records too.

I don’t use BDC but in addition to Airbnb I have bookings from my own website plus repeat and referral guests (two apartments). With Airbnb at any rate, I can change the calendar manually and it takes just a couple of minutes, if that.

I’ve never been double booked and never had ‘great anxiety’. Truly, it’s worth the few minutes it takes to avoid getting stressed. :slight_smile:

Freetobook is not a free channel manager. It’s actually a very expensive channel manager because it charges per booking! Check out this spreadsheet of short term rental software I put together. It has all the pricing and features of the most popular channel managers.


@wootwoot1234, There are hosts and then there are rock stars … you are the latter!

If I could, I would like your post 10 times - fantastic work!

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I’ve now waited 2 days for the calendar to synchronize and it’s still in process so I’ve given up. Since I only have two places I advertise my apartment I’m just going to keep the calendars synchronised manually.

I have to manually block as well as my two platforms only synch one way now… I am assuming BDc is

Yes. Plus, I keep my paper records in a fireproof safe. Overkill, I’m sure!

This last weekend, I had an AirBnB guest show up for a room that already had a BDC guest in it. There are two entities at fault with this event: AirBnB and myself. Learned a hard lesson, but ultimately AirBnB needs to correct this and let the guest know it is their fault and not our venue.

I did not realize this issue because as a fairly new employee my owner could not prepare me for every single situation, but I have been here for four months and never seen this happen.

AirBNB takes almost two hours sometimes to show up on our Lodgify calendar. During that time any other guests can make a reservation through a different platform and it shows up IMMEDIATELY! An AirBnB guest made a reservation for X cottage but before it showed up on the calendar a BDC guest made a reservation for the same cottage arriving the day before the AirBnB guest.

It was stressful and embarassing as everything is so automated that I had no idea to even check for this issue. So now, even though every other platform does it’s job correctly, I now have to go in and check every AirBnB reservation as soon as it is made and watch the calendar to make sure another guest isn’t swooping it before it shows up on the calendar. When I contacted AirBnB they acted all surprised. My owner of course felt bad that he had not warned me of the possibility and said that it has happened at least a half dozen times to him since he took over the Inn two years ago.

Let me add that the guest that had to go elsewhere was pissed and basically told me it was really easy to blame AirBnB when “obviously” it was our fault. I am now taking screenshots side by side of new AirBnB reservations and my calendar. Today 1 hour and 55 minutes for the latest one. I also was going to all of the platforms and seeing if that cottage was available. It was.

I have contacted Lodgify also just to see if a fix is in the works between them and AirBnB. Unfortunately, since the reservation was not technically canceled the guest could have reviewed us. AirBnB finally removed it about 36 hours later. Phew! Dodged the bullet that should never have been meant for us to begin with.

Sorry, its down to you.

If you’re on IB with Airbnb, and also on BDC then there is no excuse for a double booking.

Both platforms allow an XML/API connection with any decent channel manager, and this in itself makes a double booking nigh on impossible.

It sounds like you are reliant on the free iCal connection.

If your current channel manager allows more than one platform to book, and it is the channel manager, not Airbnb, then I’d suggest looking around for a more efficient solution.


Your post was flagged? Really? Why would that be? I thought this was useful and made a copy.

You may want to look at the configuration in Lodgify. Perhaps Air is setup incorrectly with “mere iCal” - instead of the real-time API? Maybe something else like “time zones”?

It bears investigation, since the others are working correctly. In theory, any channel manager with a proper API, etc will have near-instant updates with all booking platforms. But, tech is rarely as simple or perfect as we would like it to be.

It was flagged by accident.

As the original poster my issue was one step before yours! When I checked the BDC booking and found it overlapped Airbnb that’s when I had to take action. As I mentioned previously I was able to resolve this.

While the iCal calendar synchronization is now working I’m not putting my faith into this technology.
This is because it doesn’t appear to update immediately. From now on every time I get a BDC booking I will manually block out the Airbnb calendar hopefully within 30 minutes. Then if someone books Airbnb Even though iCal synchronization is working I will go to BDC and block out those dates. I only found out about the double booking when I got the BDC booking and went into my spreadsheet that tracks income to see that those dates had already been logged to Airbnb :persevere:

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Those are some good tips! I will definitely check those things!!! Thank you!

iCAL is not a reliable solution to sync the calendar. I have given up on it after so many overbookings. If you’re managing more than five Airbnb units, I would suggest considering using a channel manager.

Channel manager syncs availability, price, and import the guest reservations to your PMS (if you’re using any).

These are some of the channel managers that I know:

  • hosttools
  • smoobu
  • iGMS
  • softinn
  • freetobook
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@JeeShen_Lee Thanks for sharing.

Using iCal, I only have ONE property, syncing stopped and Airbnb support is SO bad, I was just ready to shoot myself after 52 minutes on the phone with someone who sounded young, but appeared to have advanced Alzheimers and could not grasp the difference between importing and exporting.

I’ll likely never use instant booking again.

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