Latest posts by Sara Tilly (see all)
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In this blog post, we’re going to discuss how using Excel to manage a tour business is a bad idea. Basically, managing travel bookings with Excel is actually a disadvantage.
Also, we’re going to mention the benefits of using online booking software.
Booking Management with Excel
When it comes to running a tour business, having the right data at the right time is crucial.
Being able to track your travel resources, manage your bookings, sales, and activities, enables you to create a quality business strategy.
A lot of activity providers, as well as tour operators and small travel agencies, rely on Excel when it comes to travel accounting entries.
Just because you got used to something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s productive.
And yes, you might have gotten really good at it, but if you can embrace a tool that will save you time and which you can use to better manage your bookings, why not use it?
Travel Booking: Excel Spreadsheet for Travel Agency
There are various travel Excel spreadsheets out there on the Internet.
The thing is, you have to download the template for each action you want to perform. For example, there’s a travel itinerary template for travel agencies or the Excel bookings calendar.
Templates are an absolute nightmare to manage and update.
And if you can’t update your data, then you’re not dealing with precise data.
If you’re still so stubborn to use Excel without looking into other options, you can use a third-party software to make your life easier when it comes to Excel, such as Thinkcell and other, but even that’s far-fetched.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot can be done in Excel business-wise, however it lacks basic business personalization. It also fails miserably when it comes to accuracy.
Did you know that 90% of Excel spreadsheets have serious errors? Using Excel to manage a tour business is never a good idea for such complex tasks such as managing travel bookings.
People easily make mistakes and tiny errors that snowball over time. Especially because one can easily get lost in all those tables and formulas. Templates do help, but they don’t solve a lot of problems tour businesses face.
How to maintain travel agency accounting?
Again, one way to manage your numbers is to use one of the travel agency Excel templates downloaded from the Internet.
That means you’re responsible for administrating several spreadsheets. Way too many numbers, names, deals, bookings, invoices, etc. all scattered on your desktop in multiple .xlsx files. That’s a chaos waiting to happen.
Why Avoid Using Excel to Manage a Tour Business?
Don’t forget that running a tour business is not just about accounting.
Unfortunately, with a few Excel spreadsheets, you can’t perform miracles no matter how skilled you are. In addition to this, you are wasting time doing everything manually.
Do you seriously believe that it’s a good idea to spend hours on end jotting down quotes, tailor-made itineraries, commissions, and calendars in Excel?
Why make your daily tasks more complicated than they already are? Automate your tour business.
Running a travel agency is more than handling half a dozen Excel spreadsheets.
Using Excel to manage a tour business can be replaced by various quality online booking software on today’s market.
What Does Online Booking Software Offer That’s Missing in Excel?
Erm… this should be a pretty straightforward answer—everything!
If you need to present certain data for a weekly meeting, Excel is enough. If you plan on running a travel agency and using Excel to manage your business, good luck with that.
Implementing an online booking software makes running a tour business stress-free in its entirety.
Automate tedious tasks
When you have more tours and activities to work with every day, you need to automate as many tasks as you can. Or at least, make those tasks less time-consuming.
For instance, while creating an activity, you can attach the documents and brochures you want to be sent via email to all clients who booked the tour. Or automatically generate invoices and receipts.
Manage your bookings and activities
If you manage your bookings online through a booking system, you can create, manage, overview, and edit your bookings and tours at any time. With just a few clicks. You can monitor the status of all your tours and activities.
It’s a time-saver, offers flexibility, and improved compliance and accuracy. Manage deposits, generate coupons and promo codes. Your travel agency can’t handle these types of requests with an Excel spreadsheet.
With the right booking software, you can gather statistics and real-time data to better manage your resources and revenue. Reporting and analytics features come in handy when you don’t want to miss out on valuable data regarding bookings, revenue, transactions, and promotions.
Stay GDPR Compliant
With the new European regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that’s about to be enforced on May 25th, travel agencies, tour operators, and activity providers have a lot on their plates.
GDPR will change the way you run your tour business, especially if you’re using Excel spreadsheets for travel booking management.
To stay compliant you will have to follow the guidelines for the collecting and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union. You can’t do this properly if you don’t have an online booking software.
How can you prevent data breaches, identity thefts, and avoiding any misuse and exploitation of consumer data if you have everything stored in Excel files?
Get Paid Faster
With an online booking system, your clients can book a certain tour, as well as pay for it in advance.
For example, you can ask your clients to leave a deposit or make a full payment in advance. Also, that’s a great way to prevent no-shows.
Offers 24/7 Availability
Travelers mostly research destinations and book their trips outside working hours. And most travel businesses work from 9 to 5… You see the problem?
With a “book online” button, your clients can book your tours and activities any time of the day. The “book now” button can be easily implemented on your website.
Bookings Report and Sales Analysis
For the love of God, ditch the Excel spreadsheets and use a proper online booking software to gather statistics and real-time data, as well as better manage your resources and revenue.
Reporting and analytics features come in handy when you don’t want to miss out on valuable data regarding bookings, revenue, transactions, and promotions.
What type of online booking software do you need?
Nowadays, having an online booking system is an absolute must if you ever want to have the competitive edge.
Your travel agents should be able to use the tool without any sophisticated technical expertise. And, while the cost of implementing a booking system doesn’t come cheap, there are, of course, less expensive options out there. The only thing you need to really concern yourself is which system best fits your business needs.
However, keep in mind that there are no flat free systems other than a few open sources.
Check out other online booking software features that can help you transform your travel business:
Orioly is a SaaS booking and distribution software built for tour operators, activity providers, and small travel agencies.
Our online booking solution takes away the headache of having to deal with administrative tasks all day long. It allows you to focus on priorities—efficient sales.
Orioly is GDPR Compliant
With our recent application update, we rolled out features that help tour operators and small travel agencies stay compliant while using our booking software.
Here are the following novelties:
- Consent management
- Storing client information