How to Prevent Double Booking on Google Calendar For Vacation Rentals

Prevent double bookings on Google Calendar with these simple steps that will keep your calendar updated.

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Dealing with double bookings is every vacation rental manager’s worst nightmare. 

It not only means missing out on a booking (and cash), but it also gives your business a bad reputation. Guests might think twice about booking again if they’ve been turned away once, and you can’t blame them. 

To avoid these headaches, prevention is key—and we’re here to help.

Today, we’ll walk you through how to prevent double bookings on Google Calendar step by step. We’ll also share some tips to make sure all your calendars stay in sync, so you don’t have to worry about double bookings ever again.

Prevent Double Booking on Google Calendar: Step-by-Step

Here are a couple of steps that can help you keep your calendar updated and clear of double bookings. 

Step 1: Create a Calendar for Each Rental

To make sure you keep track of your bookings without any mix-ups, start by setting up a separate calendar for each of your rental properties in Google Calendar. 

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Google Calendar
  2. Click on the “+” next to “Other calendars” and select “Create new calendar”
  3. Name it after your property, like “Beach House in California”, and click “Create calendar”

Step 2: Connect Booking Platforms

Integrating your booking platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo with Google Calendar is a game-changer. It means all your bookings will sync up automatically, saving you from the headache of manually updating multiple calendars. 

You can sync these platforms with calendar links (also known as iCal) by following these steps:

For Airbnb

  1. Go to your Airbnb dashboard and get the calendar link
  2. In Google Calendar, click the “+” next to “Other calendars” and choose “From URL”
  3. Paste the Airbnb calendar link and click “Add calendar”

You can head to our guide on importing and exporting Airbnb links to find out how to get your property’s unique link. 

For Vrbo

  1. Log in to Vrbo and copy the calendar link
  2. Follow the same steps as with Airbnb to add it to Google Calendar

If you don’t know how to get Vrbo iCal, we’ve also covered how to sync the Vrbo calendar.

Step 3: Change the Settings for Automatically Adding Invitations

Another way to prevent double booking is to make a small adjustment to your Google Calendar settings. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to your Google Calendar settings
  2. Locate the “Automatically add invitations” option, which is typically set to “Yes” by default
  3. Change it to “Auto-accept invites that do not conflict”

You see, this setting might be causing your scheduling conflicts because it allows overlapping events. By switching it off, Google Calendar will only accept invitations if there are no conflicts.

That’s all there is to it! With this simple change, your calendar will now prevent double bookings automatically. Anyone trying to schedule over an existing event will have to select a different time. 

Step 4: Block Dates Manually

You also have the option to manually block the dates in Google Calendar. You can do this for both personal plans and direct bookings.

This is super simple, and here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Open Google Calendar
  2. Click on the date you want to block
  3. Create Event
  4. Name the event, set the start and end date as the same day, and mark it as “All day”
  5. Save the changes

Step 5: Turn on Notifications

Set up notifications in Google Calendar to receive alerts about new bookings and changes. 

Just follow these simple steps if you want to turn them on:

  1. Open Google Calendar
  2. Click the gear icon and choose “Settings”
  3. Navigate to “Event settings”
  4. Customize notification settings and timing how it suits you
  5. Save your changes

How to Fix Double Booking

If you already have double bookings, don’t despair. There’s a solution to that as well, and here it is:

  1. Decide which of the two bookings you’ll change or adjust
  2. Reach out to the guests ASAP, explain the situation, and talk about possible solutions, like changing the dates
  3. Update the calendar

How to Keep Your Calendars in Sync

If you don’t want to stress about double bookings, you should sync all your calendars. That means, connecting all your calendars on platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. 

This way, when a guest books a date on one platform, it’s automatically blocked off on all the others. It makes things simpler and prevents any mix-ups.

There are three options for syncing calendars, so let’s take a closer look.

Manually Updating Your Calendars

The most evident option to handle this is by updating all your calendars manually whenever you get a new booking. But, you’ll soon find out it eats up a lot of time. 

How to Sync Your Airbnb and Vrbo Calendars

Another hiccup comes if you’re using Airbnb’s Instant Book feature, which automatically confirms bookings. As your bookings stack up, it gets tougher to keep all your calendars in sync and avoid double bookings. 

So, while this method might do for single-property rentals where you handle bookings yourself, it’s definitely the most time-consuming route.

Using iCal Sync

You can also sync your calendars with iCalendar (iCal) links. 

All well-known calendar apps, including Google Calendar, Apple’s Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook, use this format, along with major listing sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and others.

You’ll need to set up a two-way sync between the platforms which means exporting and importing the calendars into each other.

If you decide to go with this option, our tutorials can help you with that process:

Using a Vacation Rental Channel Manager

Another option that can make syncing easier for you is using a vacation rental channel manager. This tool simplifies short-term rental management by automating and centralizing tasks, and it instantly syncs your bookings across all connected platforms. 

If you want to learn more about these platforms and what they can do for you, take a look at our list of the best vacation rental channel managers. We’ve covered some of the most popular solutions, such as:

Compare the best vacation rental software platforms with our free spreadsheet.

View the spreadsheet

Conclusion

In just a few easy steps, you can keep your Google Calendar clear of double bookings. 

First, make sure you have a separate calendar for each property. 

Then, turn on notifications so you’re alerted to new bookings. 

If you want to avoid manually adding booked dates, connect your Google Calendar to your booking platforms.

Already using a vacation rental manager? Even better. 

Just link your Google Calendar and platforms to it, and let it take care of everything else.

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