Airbnb API - Benefits of Airbnb API Connection vs iCal

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 are the advantages and disadvantages are between these two technologies.

iCal - Definition and risks

iCal stands for Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar). iCal connections details:

  • Real time data feeds that allow you to synchronize calendars between each other
  • It is not a technology that is exclusive to hospitality applications, nor was it developed specifically for this purpose.

Main risks:

  • High chances of overbooking.
    It offers an easy way of pulling events (blocked dates or actual bookings) from another system, but the block does not happen instantly as there is no ‘push’ of the event.
    Remote calendars are only updated whenever the OTA ‘pulls’ a new update, and this could happen as rarely as once a day. Thus, there is an ample risk for overbookings to occur.
  • Prices (rates) are not updated in iCal connections.

API - Definitions and benefits

API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface. An API connection offers:

  • Real-time connections
  • Flow several types of data, meaning that, more features are supported
  • Reduces risk of overbookings


  1. Instant updates between the systems- reduces the window of time during which a double booking could occur.
  2. Pricing updates - manage your prices (rates) through the API connection.
    You can quickly and efficiently ensure that your up-to-date prices have been pushed to all websites in the shortest time possible. It can can maximize your income for those days while guests head to their devices to book their stays.

Airbnb has API connection to Cloudbeds PMS. Check the following articles to understand better the differences if you haven't switched to API yet:

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