Airbnb and freetobook

Airbnb connecting to hotelsIn an open letter this week to boutique hotel and B&B owners, Airbnb have just announced that going forward they want to ensure that small business owners have access to their community of travelers. Airbnb has always been a favourite of thousands of freetobook customers; over the years a large number have registered with Airbnb and use it as a great source of bookings. It’s good news that small hotels, bed and breakfasts and unique properties are now officially recognised and welcome to the Airbnb site.

Freetobook has always been a supporter of unique, independent, interesting and diverse accommodation; these are values we share with Airbnb, so its no surprise to us that so many of our customers enjoy bookings from them. Together we celebrate and support diversity, uniqueness and personal hospitality; after all, despite our size we too are a family business passionate about our customers and what you do.

There is another reason we support Airbnb for our customers. Over the past years the big OTAs have gotAirbnb API connection bigger, they continue to grow, and their commissions are cripplingly high to so many small businesses. Compared to the OTAs Airbnb has a far lower commission to accommodation owners, which gives you a welcome choice.

At freetobook we support diversity of bookings, encouraging our customers not to have all their eggs in one basket and to be over reliant on one big OTA. Airbnb is a competitor of the large OTAs and therefore an additional independent source of bookings that can help make the booking environment healthier with more players.

Thousands of freetobook customers already list on Aribnb and update their availability using our iCal feature. We are in discussions to enrich the functionality of our connection with Airbnb and help our customers get even more out of the Airbnb connection. Further news of this will be announced in the future.

Now that they are expanding their customer base to include boutique hotels and B&Bs, Airbnb are looking for new properties to list. If you’re interested in lower commission and diversifying your booking sources, check out Airbnbs list of standards to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your property. Airbnb are selective about the properties they include so you should read their creteria before registering (see 1 below)

If you are interested in becoming an Airbnb customer (or already are one) you can link your availability from your freetobook diary (you can only do this after you have an Airbnb listing).

Just to recap:

  1. First you need an Airbnb account, check Airbnb criteria here
  2. If you fit their requirments then request an account as a professional listing “hotel”.
  3. After requesting an account Airbnb will check if you meet their criteria and approve or reject your request.
  4. Once you have an Airbnb account you can update your availability using freetobook iCal

iCal Airbnb Wimdu FlipKey HouseTrip

iCal for Airbnb updates
Airbnb iCal Synchronizer

iCal is a standard format for calendars, it can be used to share date information. Some big companies like Airbnb, Wimdu, FlipKey and others use iCal to receive simple availability data. They use iCal because it is easy and very simple. Because it is a very basic format of data it is also limited.

We have created a way for you to export your availability in iCal format to these big sales systems. So if you already have an account with Airbnb, FlipKey or company that allows iCal import you can register for our iCal service and use freetobook to export your open/closed dates.

synchronise via iCal calendars
Freetobook iCal updater

Because of the simplicity of iCal there are limitations. While you can synchronize open/closed dates you cannot give rates, minimum stays or other data. Another important limitation is the data only goes one way freetobook will give you an availability feed for export but we do not import any data from them. This means Wimdu, FlipKey and other sales bookings need to be added to freetobook to keep your diary up to date.

Freetobook has also created a separate iCal feed for all your bookings. This is a private feed which you can use in your iPhone or other mobile device to keep up with your bookings on the go. Because iCal is a standard format for calendar data there are many ways to view your bookings on different calendars.

Freetobook offers both of these iCal services for our customers you can find them in the TAB”Plus” if you already have a freetobook account. If not why not get one today and start enjoying some of the many fantastic booking solutions provided by freetobook.

Click to find out more about our iCal synchronization

Click to find out more about freetobook channel manager

Freetobook is a Internet Booking Engine with many added services and connections to the world’s biggest sales systems like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld and many others : find out more about freetobook on our home page.