New Vacation Rental Booking Tools: Vacation Rental Availability Calendar and Vacation Rental Booking Widget at GRUPZ.com

Based on my experiences in building a dedicated direct booking site for our own vacation rental (described in great detail in this Medium article), I built a new web app called grupz.com to help other vacation rental owners build and manage their own direct vacation rental booking channels.

I recently introduced the first two services under the GRUPZ brand — vacation rental availability calendars and a vacation rental inquiry/booking widget.

GRUPZ Availability Calendar Widgets

One of the GRUPZ Vacation Rental Availability Calendars

These are vacation rental availability calendars you can embed on any website. They connect to iCal calendars from Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, Google Calendar and any iCalendar URL — and can sync to any number of iCal URLs. Get started for free, simple monthly subscription. Exposes no private data. They’re extensively stylable so you can match them to any site design, and they come in several different size variations.

Unlike various “free” vacation rental calendar solutions, these are not adware or upgrade-ware. It’s just a straightforward solution to the problem of how to display a vacation rental’s availability from either a single master calendar, or the more modern approach today of syncing from multiple iCalendar sources (such as your VRBO and your Airbnb calendar).

And they’re not just for vacation rentals: They’re great for embedding a simple daily/monthly view of any iCal URL’s events.

[Edit 10/4/2018:] We just added many new options including new pricing plan options. A single embedded vacation rental calendar subscription is just $5/month. But we added an annual (yearly) subscription that saves you 20% and a monthly tiered-pricing option for vacation rental owners and managers who have multiple properties (pricing is $5 for the first property, $4 for the 2nd and 3rd, and $3/month for properties beyond that).

Some new calendar styling options have been added and more are on the way!

GRUPZ Vacation Rental Booking Widget

GRUPZ Embeddable Vacation Rental Booking Widget

This “big brother” of the calendar widget, the GRUPZ Vacation Rental Booking Widget displays your rental’s availability and lets you take direct inquiries on any website. When someone inquires, you get an instant alert via both email and an SMS text to your mobile phone.

Just like the calendar solution, the availability displayed can be synchronized to any number of iCal calendars from Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, Google Calendar… any iCalendar URL.

It’s free to test, easy to setup, and available via a simple monthly subscription that can be cancelled at any time. (And, BTW, a subscription to the vacation rental booking tool includes access to the calendars, so you use both on your site(s) as you wish.)

In concept, it’s like having your own private “Airbnb” booking page — without the branding, without exposing private information about your existing bookings, and without having to develop such a thing yourself! (Oh, and it’s a lot cooler to have an integrated inquiry widget than having musty old email forms on your otherwise lovely vacation rental booking site.)

The widget can optionally provide price quotes or estimates, has a mobile-friendly design, offers advanced availability settings, and can sync with any calendar — Airbnb, VRBO/HomeAway, Google Calendar or any other iCalendar URL. This booking tool is also now extensively stylable to match the colors of your own direct booking site.

While the capabilities are very sophisticated, setup is very quick and easy: A “Getting Started” video overview can be found here:

Video: Getting Started with the GRUPZ Embedded Vacation Rental Booking Widget

I hope you’ll check these out and feel free to ask me your questions and leave feedback here in the comments. What other types of vacation rental owner tools would you like to have access to? I’m always interested to hear the thoughts of other short-term rental owners!

I’m continually working on new features for both of these services (as well as some new ones) and am happy to provide new capabilities requested by our users.

In addition to checking these out on the GRUPZ site, you can also learn more about them on ProductHunt:

GRUPZ VR Calendars on ProductHunt
GRUPZ VR Booking Widget on ProductHunt