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Keeping your booking calendar up-to-date on sites like Airbnb and HomeAway lets guests know when your vacation home is available. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools on any booking platform: By keeping your Airbnb calendar updated every month, for example, you could boost booking rates by 70 percent. But how far ahead should you open your schedule? As it turns out, the earlier, the better.

Open Your Booking Calendar as Early as Possible

Open your calendar sooner rather than later, so you don’t miss out on bookings. Statistics show that guests like to book ahead, so presenting your reservation availability as soon as you know it, could attract more travelers. At the close of each summer season, 33 percent of travel inquiries are for the following summer, a number that jumps to 66 percent by mid-September.

If you plan to rent out your home year round, opening your calendar proves lucrative. However, if your property is a second home, you’ll want to block off dates – for when you or family and friends stay, for example – before you post your schedule.

Airbnb and HomeAway love when you keep your calendar up-to-date. Their search algorithms prioritize listings with updated prices and dates.

If You’re Thinking About Canceling, Don’t

Don’t open your calendar unless you’re sure you want to rent out your property for those dates. Airbnb imposes strict penalties on hosts that cancel, and you could jeopardize your standing on the platform. If you ditch a reservation more than seven days before a guest is due to check in, expect a $50 charge. (Airbnb waives this fee if it’s the first time you’ve canceled within a six-month period). If you cancel within seven days of a reservation, you’ll incur a hefty $100 fee. Your calendar will be blocked, too, and you won’t be able to accept new reservations for those canceled dates. Oh, and kiss your shiny Superhost badge goodbye – for a whole year. If you’re still working toward your badge, you’ll loose the option to be assessed when the next review period comes around. “Cancellations disrupt guests’ plans and impact confidence in the Airbnb community,” says Airbnb on their website.

HomeAway and VRBO don’t impose any penalties for cancellations. Still, abandoning a reservation is considered bad practice and could impact your ranking on these platforms. Guests just don’t like it: In a recent study, 67 percent of travelers voted “cancellations,” alongside flight delays, as the No. 1 cause of travel stress.

Opening your calendar as early as possible could increase your reservation rate, resulting in more guests and more cash. Just don’t cancel! Abandoning a booking comes with consequences: charges, negative reviews, and the removal of privileges.

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