More and more vacation rental listing sites are encouraging owners to enable instant booking to attract more guests.  With Homeaway’s latest Best Match requirements, it’s one of the quickest ways to push your home up the rankings in search results. Over at Airbnb, it’s a similar story.

Trying to simultaneously coordinate your availability on different sites is a time-consuming and stress-inducing process. And instant booking only increases the potential frustrations. But as with most elements of the vacation rental industry, technology can make things easier!

Using iCal to Manage Your Calendar

Keith Breon, Vacasa’s Manager of Global Channel Partnerships, shared how independent owners can keep all their different calendars under control. He noted owners should absolutely have instant booking enabled if they want to get their home to the top of the list.

“You can use the iCal function to make managing your calendars easier,” says Keith. iCal is a file format for online calendars (using extension “.ics”) that allows you to share your calendar with others. But in this case, it simply allows your calendars on separate listing sites to talk to each other.

“You should be importing/exporting the availability via iCal URLs from the listings on all of the sites you use. You can also set up Google calendar to block out dates on all of the listings at once by exporting the iCal for the calendar to each listing.

If you want to see all of your calendars at once, it’s easiest to import the calendars via iCal to your Google calendar.”

This all may sound complicated, but we’re going to take you through the calendar import and export steps for HomeAway/VRBO, Airbnb, and Google so you can easily get your calendars in order. Once you’ve imported your iCal URLs from one site to another, both calendars will update automatically in the future.

Let’s start with HomeAway/VRBO

How to import an external calendar into HomeAway:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click Calendar.
  3. Select the correct property.
  4. Click the Import/Export Calendar icon (next to the “+” in the top right).
  5. Click Import Calendar.
  6. Give the calendar a name.
  7. Select a color to represent the calendar.
  8. Enter the calendar URL (this is found when you ‘export’ a calendar in an application or another site).
  9. Select whether the calendar will block availability. (In order to block availability, the event must span at least one night.)
  10. Click Import Calendar.

To export your HomeAway/VRBO calendar for another listing site, follow the same process, but choose “Export Calendar” in step 5.

HomeAway says your calendar may take up to 24 hours to update with new data from the imported calendars every time a change is made, but in practice it usually only takes about an hour. The process is the same for both sites.

Setting Up Airbnb Calendar Sync

How to import a calendar into Airbnb:

  1. Go to Manage Listings on
  2. Find the listing you’d like to edit and click Manage Listing.
  3. Above your listing preview, click Availability.
  4. Click Availability Settings in the top-right corner of your calendar view.
  5. Under Sync Calendars, select Import calendar.
  6. Paste your calendar’s URL in the Calendar address (URL) field.
  7. Name your calendar.
  8. Click Import calendar.

If you edit availability on a calendar that syncs with your calendar on Airbnb (i.e., if you get a booking on HomeAway/VRBO), it will take a few hours for those changes to be visible to guests viewing your listing.

How to export an Airbnb Calendar:

  1. Go to Manage Listings on
  2. Find the listing you’d like to edit and click Manage listing.
  3. Above your listing preview, click Availability.
  4. Under Sync Calendars, select Export calendar.
  5. Copy and paste the Airbnb calendar link into your iCal applications.

Importing Your Listing Site Calendars into Google Calendar

If you’d like to see these calendars all together along with your own personal events, you can sync both exported calendars to a Google Calendar.

How to import other calendars into Google:

  1. Open Google Calendar on a computer. (You can only import from a computer, not a phone or tablet.)
  2. In the top right, click Settings.
  3. Open the Calendars tab.
  4. Click Import calendar between the “My calendars” and “Other Calendars” sections.
  5. Click Choose File and select the file you exported. The file should end in “ics” or “csv”
  6. Choose which calendar to add the imported events to. By default, events will be imported into your primary calendar.
  7. Click Import.
  8. If you’re using a ZIP file, find it on your computer and open it. You’ll see ICS files for each of your calendars. Take the individual files out of the ZIP file, and import each ICS file individually.

In addition to your reservations, it’s a good idea to import iCals for local events and holidays to keep an eye out for opportunities to bump your rates and take in the most revenue from the increased demand. You can find and subscribe to special iCals for holidays and location specific events at iCal Share.

How to Manage Your Calendar With Instant Bookings Enabled
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Author: Evan Miler

Evan produces content for Vacasa in Portland, OR. He works closely with Vacasa's industry experts to produce helpful information for vacation rental homeowners. Outside of writing, Evan enjoys travel, backpacking, and Oregon's many breweries.