What Software Do I Need to Organize Group Trips – Guide For “Non-Techie” Trip Leaders
Use this guide to choose the best software for organizing group trips if managing emails, spreadsheets, and PDFs is turning into a hassle.
When you organize 5+ group trips a year, managing emails, spreadsheets, and PDFs becomes a hassle, and you know you need automations. Choosing the right software to help you prepare and organize group trips is an uneasy task, and here is a list of criteria you may consider.
Your company is different, why shouldn't your technology?
When it comes to software, there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. Some platforms help you spread the word by publishing your tours in a variety of online marketplaces, others are focused on helping you create personalized itineraries for individuals by partnering with a network of suppliers.
If you have your own audience and/or professional networks you won't find those work quite right for you. They aren't designed for you and they charge more than they are worth. Don't overpay if what you need is a trip CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Get the software that focuses on gathering documents, communicating to travelers, visualizing the adventure you are planning, and taking care of cash flows.
Using an Online Booking Platform and Marketplace (like Retreat.guru, WeTravel or even Eventbrite) for building your distribution channel can work if no-one knows your brand yet and you want them to send you customers (for a commission). But once you find your travel niche, you need to find the trip-planning software that is designed for your product. It should help you streamline the process and scale with minimum extra cost, so you make more money as you grow, not less.
What does that include?
--> Smooth Registration-to-Booking transition
--> Pleasant onboarding processes & document exchange
--> Optional add-ons and customized itineraries
--> Flexible arrival dates
--> Sharing customers' preferences with ground partners
At YouLi we aim to involve multiple automation tools and features to save time preparing travelers, co-planners and coordinators for the journey, and if several travel designers are involved, you can white-label your trip or use a co-branding option.
Payment getaways and hidden restrictions
Processing payments for bookings online can be expensive. Look for the solution that will:
- Allow multiple payment methods besides just credit card (such as EFT, checks, bank transfers, Venmo, etc. )
- Specialize in the travel industry (client’s payment may be blocked on some gateways because travel is a high-fraud industry)
- Accept credit cards with the lowest fees (different gateways offer different fees in different currencies)
- Allow you to charge in different currencies for each trip
What about SEO - Search Engine Optimization?
A big part of planning a group trip is understanding your travelers, and where they come from when they hit your website.
- Google Analytics will help you understand where you are acquiring customers from (Social, Direct, Search, etc)
- Google Search Console tells you how you are ranking and how many clicks you are getting from Organic Search (SEO)
- Google Data Studio creates great visual reporting from the data generated by the first 2
Generating the traffic to your site is crucial, and every business will have their own marketing strategy to drive those clicks.
It is up to your trip booking software to seamlessly integrate trip pages into your website to convert those clicks into bookings. Make sure your travel platform embeds into your website, so an itinerary update on your booking platform does not involve a day of copy-pasting to your website as well. Here is an example of an itinerary trip embed:
Branding / White-label
If you create unique extraordinary experiences, it is your name your clients will remember. Make sure you invest in the software that puts YOUR brand first, not the other way around – your logo, your name in the address link, your name on the booking email (not TripAdvisor or Tour Radar). In traveltech, "your-brand-first" is called a white-labelled platform. When doing your research, visit the company showcase to see what other clients have created with the software.
Many platforms offer a long list of features, but more doesn’t mean better if you don't know how to master them. For example, did you know that Excel once had a flight simulator hidden inside it? Neat to know, but not very helpful since most of us barely use all the spreadsheet features in Excel!!!
If you are a solo entrepreneur with no development skills or even the manager of a non-technical team, you need find an easy to use travel management software that makes it headache-free to create online versions of your products. You'll be spending a lot of time using the software you choose. So pick one that you enjoy and find easy to learn all the features it has to offer.
"YouLi is a simple, effective platform that has really helped me manage my Sicily Food Tour easily and without headaches. The support team is super helpful & responsive & they've gone above and beyond to help whenever I've needed. Plus they have heaps of easy-to-follow tutorials to guide you through. Highly recommend! " - Flavourhood Tours
Your business grows, so do your business needs. Invest in technology that grows with you. When shopping for the right software, check out the latest releases: what features were recently added and what’s “in the cooking”.
Questions and issues are a part of reality for any SaaS (Software as a Service) product, that’s why support is critical for a successful partnership. Try to find out company policy for escalating troubleshooting tickets in advance to help you make a purchase decision. Companies that believe in their products will offer a Free Trial so you can know what their support looks like in real life.
At the same time, keep an eye out for newly developed features. It is a sign that the company is actively testing and working on improvements, you can then expect new integrations and valuable service additions to be based on your input.
Platforms that haven't changed much recently are unlikely to respond to your feedback anytime soon.
YouLi's team releases new features every two weeks and takes pride in implementing clients’ requests with impressive efficiency. That’s what makes us the “Best Software for Organizing Group Trips”!
To summarize, keep customer experience in mind when making a decision about the software to bring on board, and if you need an expert opinion to evaluate your business tech need, get a quick consult to get the answers you need to succeed 👇