8 things your itinerary builder software should have
Whether you’re just about to launch your new travel business, have finally grown out of using Word and Excel to craft itineraries, or simply need a change from your current software provider, this blog is designed to help you steer your ship in the right direction.
With thousands of software solutions on offer, deciding where to even begin can feel like an impossible task. So, instead of feeling encumbered by the seemingly limitless possibilities available, we recommend starting your search with a better understanding of what’s important when it comes to itinerary builder software.\
There’s nothing more frustrating than investing hours trialing and setting up what you thought was the best tour operator software solution for your business, only to find that you outgrow it in a year’s time. Whether it’s the ability to manage bookings, the option to manage more complex itemised pricing, or something else, the itinerary builder software you select should have functionality that suits you both now, and in the future as your needs expand.
A good rule of thumb is to write down your medium to long term business goals. Where do you envisage your company in 1 to 5 years’ time? How many staff will you have? What sort of itineraries will you craft? Having this information front of mind during your itinerary builder software search will help ensure the platform you settle on has scalability in mind.
Your website is your digital shop front, it’s how your prospective customers find you and get inspired about the experiences that you could design for them. What better way to leverage this fact than by showcasing a collection of your example itineraries on your website.
When searching for your new itinerary builder software, keep in mind the marketing potential that your beautiful online itineraries have. Whether it’s a shareable itinerary link that you can add to your website or an actual integration with your website provider that you can take advantage of; there are a number of ways itinerary builder software can help you attract new business.
Research states that increased stress directly results in lost time from work, reduced levels of engagement and decreased productivity. Creating and fostering an environment where your employees can enjoy their work without a high level of stress will boost employee well-being and enhance productivity. Ensuring the itinerary builder that they use each day, facilitates their work rather than creating obstacles is a simple and effective way to do this. Ultimately, this means that your tour operator business has happy, motivated employees who have the tools they need to sell more tailor-made travel, what could be better?
A day in the life of a tour operator is filled with itinerary creation, supplier management and customer communication (amongst a multitude of other tasks, of course). As such, the itinerary builder software that you use can either make your day hassle-free and enjoyable or struggle-filled and frustrating. No one wants to use a tool every day that they dread, so choosing one with an intuitive design that you and your team understand and enjoy is paramount.
Competition in the travel industry is rife, the number of tour operators and travel agencies that exist in the UK alone is growing by 12% year on year. This added supply exists to meet the equally impressive influx in travellers.
As the industry continues to swell, the need to have a strong brand presence has become critical. Tour operators without a clear identity are less likely to attract loyal customers, are considered less credible, convert lower-value customers, and are less desirable when it comes to employing talent.
Adopting itinerary builder software that allows you and your team to produce high quality, design-driven proposals and itineraries will bolster the experience your customers receive from the moment they first interact with your tour operator business.
It’s important to remember that the concept of brand is no longer limited to traditional visual identifiers such as a logo, colour palette and font. Your tour operator brand is both how your company manifests visually, but most importantly how it translates in the minds of your target customers. Are you a budget-friendly tour operator, or an exclusive luxury tour operator; both options have a clear target market so making sure your brand identity is obvious to the right people (your desired customers) is crucial to growing your sales.
Consider the elements of your tour operator brand that you want your customers to associate you with. If it’s excellent communication, choose software which fosters connectivity between you and your travellers. If you wish to associate your travel business with simplicity, select itinerary builder software that allows travellers to seamlessly review, accept, pay, and enjoy the itinerary creation experience alongside their travel designer.
In this day and age, a printed Microsoft Word itinerary simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Giving your customers a mobile optimised, interactive itinerary brings their complete travel experience into the 21st century. It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a ‘must have’.
Satisfied customers are your most loyal assets; more likely to refer others, and travel with your tour operator business again. Additionally, a customer referred from a previous customer has a 37% higher customer retention rate. Happy customers really are worth their weight in gold.
The best tour operator software solution for your business is one that is more than a great piece of technology; it’s one that not only helps you craft itineraries with ease but also comes with years of collective industry experience.
Partnering with a software provider that has first-hand experience managing a business like yours means they are more likely to understand the nuances of tailor-made itinerary creation and travel in general. The tools and resources they create for you to use are likely to be inspired by their experience and the support they can offer you will far surpass basic technical support.
The average traveller visits 38 travel websites prior to departing, and although some travellers will prefer the hands-off approach, chances are that many of your customers will want to contribute to the itinerary creation process.
The best itinerary builder for your business should be one that allows you and your customers to share and collaborate during the itinerary creation process, and one that also makes communication simple once a trip has commenced.
For most tour operators, tailor-made itinerary creation isn’t done in a bubble. It’s a highly collaborative art form that typically involves many people. As well as the primary travel designer, there are often colleagues, Destination Management Companies (DMC’s), specialty suppliers, ground handlers and concierges who all play an important part in curating the perfect tailor-made itinerary.
Collaborating with other businesses is sometimes a chore in itself, involving countless emails back and forth, numerous edits when dates get changed and a general feeling of chaos until the itinerary is all finalised. Tourwriter offer’s an online solution for itinerary building to combat the often tedious process of B2B collaboration. In the itinerary builder, travel designers can invite other business contributors to collaborate on all or part of the itinerary. Not only do solutions like these speed up the travel design process, but they also foster better working relationships between your employees and your business partners.
Finding the right itinerary builder software for your business can seem like a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve figured out what you need for your business, following these simple steps that we have outlined will ensure that you’ll be able to find success with your chosen software solution.
Found your new itinerary builder software? Read our tips on how to ensure you incorporate it into your business the right way
Need something a little more comprehensive than an itinerary builder? Learn how to find tour operator software for your business.