ICal

How is availability shown on this website?

This website runs an availability system which is able to interface with many booking systems including calendars like google calendar and iCalendar.

Our website is compatible with any booking system which provides iCal feeds.  ICal is an industry standard method of recording availability.  We only require “Read-only” iCal feeds, which can’t be used to place bookings, and this makes them even simpler.   ICal feeds are provided for free by many booking systems with a small annual charge from others.  At the bottom of this page is a growing list of booking systems and their current status with regard to the provision of iCal feeds.  Check back as we are updating this page all the time.

Hostels and Bunkhouses who have iCal feeds in place on our site are automatically updated on our Peak Availability promotions.  They are also shown in Green/Red according to their availability when a user conducts a search for a specific date.

Accommodation without iCal feeds are displayed on availability searches with a “Check Availability” button and can an add themselves to the Peak Availability promotions using Natters.

How are bookings placed?

All bookings from our website continue to go via the booking link you have provided us with (often to a page on your website or your own page on your booking system’s site).  So even with iCal links in place there is no indication that the bookings has come via our website.  Meaning no commission and no extra work.

What does an iCal feed look like?

ICal feeds look like links (for example)  https://secured.sirvoy.com/ical/5e5f2378-9ad9-4562-bad9-d8afff1a5d51

There will be an iCal feed for each bookable unit in your accommodation.  So if you only take sole-use bookings then only one iCal link is required.  If you let by the room there will be a feed for each room.  If you let by the bed, the room feed should remain available until the last bed in the dorm is booked (your booking system should handle all of this for you).   You may also have an iCal feed for separate buildings or perhaps one for whole hostel bookings.  Once you have found your iCal feeds (no mater how many there are) copy the links and send them to us by email.

Below are instructions for how to find iCal links on various booking systems.  If you are the first hostel to look for iCal link on your booking system, we would love to know anything you learn.  So we can add it to this page to help others.

Which booking system is best?

We will update the table below as time goes on, in order to advise which booking systems work best for hostels and bunkhouses. This will become a major feature of this page, together with reviews of the systems from the hostels & bunkhouses who use them.

For those who do not currently keep availability online elsewhere we will soon provide our own simple availability system which you can maintain on your Natter App. Our system will not take bookings, so if you require online booking you should choose from one of the recommended booking systems shown below. Note that Google/iCalendars also only maintain availability.

 

Booking Systems

Beds 24
Bookalet 24
Book World
Bookster
Camp Manager
Cloudbeds
Dorm Project
Easy Bookings
Eviivo
Free to book
Google Calendar
Guestlink
HI Hostel Extranet
iCalendar
Hostel Snap by Hostel Management
Little Hotelier by Siteminder
Siteminder
Sirvoy

 

 

Beds24 (recommended)

Beds24 provide free iCal links.  Ask support if you cannot find them once logged in.

 

 

Bookalet (recommended)

Booklalet provide iCal links with their Gold and Agent packages.  They are offering a 20% reduction for the upgrade from Lite to Gold package for accommodation owners in the Independent Hostels network.  As of March 2020 Lite costs £115 and Gold £159 (pa plus VAT).  To claim your discount contact Harry Sayers at support@bookalet.co.uk

To extract iCal feeds from bookalet, log in and look out for the Independent Hostels channel.

 

 

Book World or dorm project  (recommended) 

Book World (also known as Dorm Project) provides free iCal links. Contact Dean on dean.book.world@gmail.com to ask him to provide us with you iCal information.

 

 

Bookster (recommended)

Free iCal feeds are available

 

 

Camp Manager (recommended)

Andrew Norris at Camp Manager  is happy to provide us with iCal  links if you use the Camp Manager booking system and email him to confirm you are happy for us to have iCal links showing your accommodation availability.  Andrew’s email address is support@campmanager.com

 

 

Cloudbeds / Myallocator  (recommended)    Review

Cloubeds provide free iCal feeds.  Here are instructions for getting them.

 

 

Dorm Project.  See Book World  (recommended) 

Book World (also known as Dorm project) provide  free iCal links. Contact Dean on dean.book.world@gmail.com to ask him to provide us with you iCal information.

 

 

EasyBookings  (recommended)

Contact Mark on info@easy-bookings.co.uk  to add your accommodation to the list he is extracting iCal links for.

 

 

Eviivo (recommended)

Eviivo provides free iCal links as part of all their packages.

Here are instructions on how to obtain the iCal feeds to send to us:-

  1. Login and from Menu bar select Settings (on right).
  2. There is a drop down, Select Rooms.   This takes you to a box listing your rooms.
  3. In top left there is a  menu with 2 options ( Room Types or  Rooms)   Select Room.
  4. For each room:-
    eviivo icals

    1. On right hand side after edit pencil and dustbin there are 3 dots.
    2. Click on dots and select iCal
    3. Click Enable iCal
    4. Click Save
    5. Go back and copy iCal
  5. Paste iCal link for each room into an email and send to us.

 

 

Freetobook  (recommended)

Freetobook are able to provide iCal links for an annual fee of £39+Vat.  This will give you full compatibility with all the availability systems on our website no matter which options you use within freetobook.

As an alternative we are able to extract your availability information at no cost, as long as you don’t use the “Minimum Number of Nights”  or the  “Closed to Arrival/Departure” functions when setting up your availability.   If you use either of these options on freetobook and we extract your availability using the free system, these nights will always be shown as Fully Booked on our website.

If you don’t use these functions and wish to use this free system please log into your freetobook account and switch the Independent Hostels UK switch to green on the page below found by taking the options:  Plus > Your Ads

freetobook api switch
 


If you have purchased the iCal option with freetobook please copy and paste into an email the iCal links for all your bookable accommodation units (eg rooms) including an iCal for the Whole Hostel option if you have it.
 
freetobook api switch
 

 

Google Calendar (recommended – availability only)

You can use a calendar to record availability, but not take bookings.  Google Calendars provide free secret iCal feeds.  There is no need to make the calendar public.

If you operate your accommodation for sole use only, then only one calendar is required.  If you let various units you will need to set up a calendar for each unit and send us an iCal link from each one.

You can record any information you like on the calendars, including the names of guests and any special requirements. We will not access this extra information and it will remain private.

Here are the instructions to enable you to find the ‘secret’ Google Calendar iCal feed to send to us.

Here’s how to find the feeds:

  1. Login into your Google Calendar (I expect you do this all the time to update the bookings)
  2.  On the MyCalandar list hover over the calendar you use to store availability and click the three vertical dots (see below where I am hovering over “Adverts etc”)

google calander

  1. Choose Settings and Sharing
  2. Chose Integrate Calendar and look for Secret Address in iCal Format
  3. Copy the link below this heading into a message and email and send it to us.
  4.  If you keep more than one calendar (for different buildings or rooms perhaps), go through the process above for each of the calendars and send an iCal link for each one.

 
 

Guestlink (recommended)

Free iCal feeds are available

 
 

HI Hostel extranet

If you are a HI Hostel its worth talking to your HI Intranet support  about obtaining iCal feeds.

ICal feeds are available from Myallocator and some HI Hostels have a Myallocator account.   However because the connection between HI Hostels and  Myallocator is not iCal,  HI Hostels  are not able to retrieve iCal feeds from Myallocator.  Perhaps they can do so directly on their HI Hostels extranet.

 

 

iCloud Calendar  (recommended – availability only)

You can use a calendar to record availability, but not take bookings.   ICloud allows you to share your calendar information. For each calendar it provides a web address for connecting with other compatible applications (an iCal feed).  Private Calendars can only be shared with other iCloud users but public calendars provide a unique address for use by any app, which is the method outlined here. Note that although they are called public calendars, only people you give the address to can view your calendar, not everyone.

If you operate your accommodation for sole use only, then only one calendar is required.  If you let various units you will need to set up a calendar for each unit and send us an iCal link from each one.

You can record any information you like on the calendars, including the names of guests and any special requirements. We will not access this extra information and it will remain private.

Here’s the instructions to enable you to find the iCal links to send to us

  1. Log in to your iCloud account (opens new window)
  2. Go to the iCloud Calendar app
  3. Choose the calendar containing your client appointments from the list on the left (click the circular settings icon next to the name)
  4. From the Share Calendar menu choose Public Calendar
  5. Select the URL, copy and paste it in an email.

 

 
 

Hostel Snap, by  Hostel Management  (recommended)

Hostel Snap are currently adding the facility for iCal links and these should be available shortly.

 

 
 

Little Hotelier and Siteminder   (not recommended)

Little Hotelier do not provide an option of iCal links at the moment.  If you use this booking system get in touch with Michael Edinger at michael.edinger@siteminder.com and ask if these is a possibility this function could be added in the future.

 

 
 

Siteminder   (not recommended)

Little Hotelier run by Siteminder  do not provide an option of iCal links at the moment.  If you use this booking system get in touch with Michael Edinger at michael.edinger@siteminder.com and ask if these is a possibility this function could be added in the future.

 

 

Sirvoy   (recommended)

Sirvoy provide iCal links.   First log into your Sirvoy account.

  1. Go to Settings -> Channels -> iCal and click “Edit”.
  2. Find the room for which you want to share availability information and click “Generate export URL”.
  3. Copy the URL displayed and email it to stay@independenthostels.co.uk

Here are more details on the Sirvoy site.

 
 

Super Control (recommended)

Super Control provide free iCal links.  Here are instructions on how to find them.
 
 
 

Comparing booking systems

This values presented here are a snapshot taken in spring 2020. All prices are subject to change and exclusive of VAT.

Booking SystemAnnual Cost
iCal
commission/booking
Own or IHUK site
Channel Managment
commission/booking
On top of OTA fees
Processing
Payments
freetobook£0y
£39pa
0%£1 (max of £49/month)£89pa plus
20p+1.4% per booking
including merchant services
Book.World
dormproject
£840y0%?
Cloudbeds£1188y0%?
Eviivo£210y0%0%50p per booking
using your own merchant services.

Plus £60pa and 0.45-0.85% per booking including merchant services.
.