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Manual Reservations and Blocked Calendar Dates
24 Jul

Manual Reservations and Blocked Calendar Dates 24 Jul

Blocked and reservation calendar settings

There has been some questions in the V.R host community regarding how to format the names of manually created reservations and blocked dates on your calendar.  We felt this would be a good opportunity to put together a blog post to discuss some of the best practices when setting up your calendar, specifically when it comes to manually creating reservations and blocked date ranges.  Before we get into that, let's review purpose behind each and the expected functionality (i.e. how those features should work based on how we built them).  

When editing your calendar, one of the options you have is to manually create reservations.  The purpose behind this is to allow hosts the ability to add guest reservations to their Vacation.Rentals calendar that may not have been booked through the Vacation.Rentals site or are not currently setup at the source of the ical feed (if you feed your calendar schedule from an external source using ical).  This provides an increased amount of flexibility with managing your reservations and keeping your calendar updated. 

Blocked Dates:  
Blocked dates are different from reservations in that they do not allow a guest to check-in or check-out on the respective start/end dates of the blocked date range.  The purpose of using a blocked date is when you have a range of dates that are completely unavailable for booking and do not want to allow guests to check-in or check-out on either the start or end date.  Some typical use cases for blocked dates are when a location is undergoing remodeling or closed for a period of time.  

What's the difference between the two?  
Here's a simple overview of what reservations and blocked dates are intended to do on Vacation.Rentals:  

What a manual Reservation does:  
-  Reservations allow for preceeding/following reservations to CHECK-IN on the last date of the date range and/or CHECK-OUT on the first date of the date range.  Basically allowing for two back to back reservations with overalapping check-in/check-out dates. If you'd like restrict guests from creating new reservations with check-in/check-out dates that overlap your manual reservation, then a BLOCKED date would be a better approach.  

What a Blocked date does: 
-  Blocked dates restrict any guests from creating reservations that checkin/checkout on either the start or end date of the blocked date range. If you'd like to allow guests to create rservations that check-in on the end date of a date range or check-out on the start date of a date range (i.e. back to back), then it'd be better to use a manual Reservation instead.  

Naming Reservation & Blocked date ranges: 
When creating names for your manual reservations and blocked date ranges, we require hosts to use unique names for each date range.  Part of why we do this is due to architectural reasons within our codebase.  But more importantly, this helps hosts to quickly identify either reservations or blocked dates from within the calendar overview tabs.  For example in the case of a reservation, every reservation is treated as a unique entity with different details whether it be the dates, number of guests, or nightly rate.  Allowing hosts to use generic & repeated names for reservation opens the door for confusion later on as you add more reservations.  

For example if you have a guest that has booked multiple reservations throughout the year - it's important to be able to quickly identify those reservations by name.  Something generic like:  "John Smith Reservation" doesn't tell you much as a host.  On the other hand, a name like:  "John Smith - Conf: 18373" where "Conf: 18373" is the confirmation code, you are now able to quickly reference specific reservations based on the name.  Same usage logic would apply to naming your blocked dates as well. 

Additionally, as we add new features to our calendar this approach allows us to easily scale our existing code when it comes to things like calendar search functionality, adding new features to import/exporting calendars, etc.  

Now, we understand some users may not have as active of a schedule to require unique names.  In those cases, we recommend simply appending the date range to your blocked/reservation names.  For example:  'Blocked: 7/1/18 - 7/3/18`.  This approach keeps your calendar information clear, concise and easy to read as your schedule builds over the year.  

Of course we're always open to user feedback, so feel free to use the comment section below and share your feedback on how we can offer a better user experience for all our users on Vacation.Rentals.  


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