In the design of a website, for a vacations rental, the availability calendar has to be an essential component, because it lets us to view at a glance the periods for which a property is available or not. In this way, we can avoid receiving booking requests, for periods already reserved.
The availability calendar, has to be integrated with the search box of a property, to avoid that a period already booked could be requested. Thus, we will avoid receiving enquiries that we can not attend, nor create false expectations for our guests.
In addition to the search box, it may also be interesting to add an access to the availability calendar in our website, where the availability of the next months is displayed, showing at least a two or three months range. In this case, it should be allowed to navigate and consult the calendar towards the future, but never to the past.
Regarding the format of the availability calendar, the clearest and most intuitive way is to play with colours. Showing days occupied in a tonality of red and the available ones, in a greenish tone.
Where the availability calendar also plays a central role, it is in the management of the booking engine, since it is the stating point for many queries. Not only should allow us to easily check the availability of our vacation rental in any period, both future and past, but also it must be interactive and should let us, to access the details of a reservation.
In short, the availability calendar is a necessary component for a holiday rental website, which will distinguish it from other types of websites. And at the same time, it gives vacation property managers the ability to keep their rental business organized.