In this article you will see a brief overview of how iCal or API channel connections work. You can also find brief explanations of each of these terms and what the advantages and disadvantages are between these two technologies.
iCal - Definition and risks
iCal stands for Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar). iCals are real time data feeds that allow you to synchronize calendars between each other. You may have come across these when trying to import events (blocked dates) from your Google Calendar to your iCloud Calendar for example. It is not a technology that is exclusive to hospitality applications, nor was it developed specifically for this purpose.
- There is a big chance of overbooking.
Even though it offers an easy way of pulling events (whether this is a blocked date or an actual booking) from another system, the block does not happen instantly as there is no ‘push’ of the event. Remote calendars are only updated whenever the OTA ‘pulls’ an update, and this could be as rarely as once a day. Thus, there is an ample risk for overbookings to occur.
- There is no way to update prices using an iCal connection.
API - Definitions and benefits
API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface. It refers to the language that different apps use to talk to each other. These enable real-time connections and flow of pretty much any type of data. In the context of the synchronization of calendars across websites used to advertise vacation rentals, this helps reduce overbookings.
- Instant updates, as soon as the change occurs - which vastly reduces the window of time during which a double booking could occur.
- Pricing updates - this means that you can centrally manage your prices through API connection. For example, you find out that a major event has just been announced for your town and you would like to hike the rates. This way, you can quickly and efficiently ensure that your up-to-date prices have been pushed to all websites in the shortest time possible so that you can maximise your income for those days while guests head to their devices to book their stays.