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  3. Connecting with OTAs using iCals

General iCal information

All you need to know about using iCals

Anytime collaborates with many Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and booking systems through iCal. iCals are used to send reservations from one system to the other so that availability is kept in sync across multiple platforms. Anytime has a long list of 2 way iCal connections(Anytime sends bookings to the third party and we import theirs back to Anytime); if there is a channel we don’t yet have an iCal connection with, do let us know the details and we will be happy to explore the channel.

Booking Data: 

Very little booking information is passed through the iCal between systems, generally most systems just provide the Booking reference number and the dates to book out. We use the limited data to help create a booking within Anytime using the rates within your Anytime account. Just be aware that there is always a time delay between the booking being made and the booking showing on the other system. Most systems are now reading iCals every 15-30 minutes. We recommend that you keep a close eye on your bookings to ensure that the calendars are in sync. 


Applying iCals:

To find your Exporting iCal within Anytime, go to Configuration >Unit> select unit> ical Calendars> copy link and paste into the other OTA system. You will see on this page that you will also place your importing ical feed from the other system.  

Please note if you are a new Anytime customer without any bookings and want to give your exporting ical to another system, you will need to create a booking/blockoff on each unit to activate the iCal URL. This can be cancelled off the unit straight away.

Cancelling bookings:

If you are requested to cancel a booking it is vital that you cancel it in the originating system. If you cancel a booking in the OTA system, you will need to replicate this in Anytime. If it is a direct booking, then cancelling it in Anytime will then feed through to the OTA systems. 

1st April 2022 Update:
A tick box is now available on the iCal page to opt in to cancellations and amendments through iCal. Once ticked only OTA bookings from that time on will have the coding to auto cancel or amend. For amended bookings, the original booking reference and all existing booking data with it will be cancelled, and a new booking will be inserted with the new dates.
Any new account onboarded after this date will have this feature already ticked and active.

Block offs:

Create a block off in Anytime and this will feed through to the other systems. If it’s possible for Anytime to distinguish between a booking and a block off from the information in an ical then we will import the booking and filter out the block offs. This isn’t always possible, as in the case of Booking.com, where we will import all items in the ical because they do not provide any distinguishing information in their icals.
In most cases however, the ability to import bookings only is useful for you as it means you can block off availability on the OTA side and so limit availability there without it affecting availability on Anytime.

Please note: Online travel agents (OTAs) only read bookings and block-offs. Therefore, if you want to stop availability for certain periods, make sure you have a rate band in place and then block off the period. If you have any further questions, please contact the support team.