From Spreadsheets to Streamlined Operations: The Journey to Efficient Tourism Management with Software

Let's start with spreadsheets...

As a multi day tourism operator, managing your business with spreadsheets may have served you well in the past, but as your business grows and becomes more complex, you may find that spreadsheets are no longer able to keep up with the demands of your operations.

The limitations of spreadsheets can lead to inefficiencies, errors, duplication, and cause unnecessary stress to staff and can impact on the customer experience. Ultimately this can limit the growth of your business. The good news is that there is a solution, and that is to transition from spreadsheets to fit for purpose tourism management software. The purpose of this article is to show how shifting from spreadsheets will streamline your operations, increase your productivity and give your staff time back that can be spent on other areas of your business like enhancing the customer experience.

Spreadsheets serve a purpose... but the purpose might be for you to serve them.

For many businesses spreadsheets are cost effective eg 'FREE', relatively easy to use, and a versatile means of managing data for diverse aspects of their business. There are something like 750 million people who use Microsoft Excel, so they play a significant role in many businesses. They are used for tracking finance, managing inventory, tracking data and generally don’t need a great deal of technical knowledge to set up, although the more complex the business needs are the more technical expertise is required to build formulas and to facilitate the relationships between data.

While spreadsheets are relatively easy to use at a basic level they can become very complex. A multi day tourism operator who facilitates customers and providers, resource management and scheduling over multiple days and multiple activities has complex data sets and management requirements. Often one spreadsheet is born, then another and so on. This means the company needs to employ someone with expert skills to manage these complex spreadsheets, this of course removes the cost efficiency benefit. Or the business founder (often the builder of the spreadsheet) or a staff member will be stuck maintaining these spreadsheets. The business can go into a spin if this 'champion of spreadsheets' leaves the organisation.

Spreadsheets are susceptible to errors and their data integrity is only as good as the designer and inputter. If errors are made in formulas they can be very difficult to detect.

Spreadsheets can be easily shared, copied and sent via emails etc which adds to the risk of data being lost or stolen. But likely the biggest security issue is overwriting one spreadsheet with another version of the same one. This can be very costly and inconvenient to repair, and often not retrievable.

Streamlining your operations with ‘fit for purpose’ tourism management software.

Here’s some software 101....

It’s important to understand that there are many different software solutions – thousands of them in fact. But there are 3 main types for you to consider...

Custom built Software

You pay someone to build you a solution. While you will get something 'fit for purpose', to get something that manages all the complexity of a multi day tourism operator will cost a lot e.g $100k + for a basic system. This will take some time to build, you will have the issue and costs of maintaining the solution, as well as keeping it up to date just for your business.

Off the shelf Software – Generic

Designed to perform a wide range of tasks for a wide range of users. Cheaper than custom built software but trying to match it to a specific industry like ‘multi-day tourism’ can lead to gaps in functionality and productivity – this results in having to fill the gaps with more apps, spreadsheets etc.

Fit for Purpose – SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS is cloud based software, so no need to install hardware or maintain software. SaaS is normally a subscription based pricing model with monthly or annual fees for access. As an example Odyssey is a SaaS product – that means we (the supplier) maintain and update the software – so you don’t have to.

Fit for purpose SaaS is designed for a specific industry or tech function – for example Odyssey is designed to meet the needs of Active Multi-Day Tourism Operations. Fit for purpose software is tailored and optimised for a particular set of tasks. This enables software developers like us to focus on more advanced features and functions that are specific to this sector eg multi day active tourism. And this is where the real efficiencies are most evident compared to generic software.

And spreadsheets, they kind of end up in the archives pile to be fair.

Let's look at one of the key efficiencies to gain with software...

If you copy 'n' paste - your business has room to improve through automation


One of the key benefits is that software can automate many tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually, freeing up time for operators to focus on other important tasks.

Automation can save operators time and money in several ways:

  • Reduced manual data entry: Automated systems can handle tasks such as online customer booking information and communications, trip and resource scheduling, reducing the time and resources required for manual data entry.

  • Improved efficiency: Automated systems can streamline processes, reducing the time and effort required to complete tasks, such as creating itineraries (do you copy & paste each time to build an itinerary?), preparing customer quotes, or replicating the same trip (do you recreate the same trip over and over again).

  • Reduced errors: Automated systems can reduce human error and improve accuracy in tasks such as customer billing and payment processing, reducing the need for manual correction and reconciliation.

  • Increased productivity: By reducing the time and effort required to complete routine tasks, operators can focus on higher-value activities, such as customer service and business development.

  • Improved customer satisfaction: Automated systems can provide customers with real-time and accurate information and updates, reducing response time and improving customer satisfaction.

Let’s look at an example of how software performs with specific functionality …

Creating elegant itineraries with Odyssey software

Itineraries from spreadsheets…

Itineraries are often produced by copy and pasting information from spreadsheet templates, then this is transferred to another system like Microsoft Word. Once these are formed and saved as a .pdf they can be hard to make changes. 

How Odyssey – Tourism Management Software creates itineraries…

  • Odyssey automates the creation of an itinerary. Using data from the trip master and the clients specific booking arrangements Odyssey produces an elegant itinerary. No copy & paste and fully amendable as and when changes are required.  

  • Odyssey is designed to handle complex processes, such as creating itineraries, and can be configured to meet the specific needs or brand identity of your tourism business. This allows for a more accurate, efficient and professional itinerary creation that reflects well on your business.

  • Odyssey’s built in CRM and itinerary builder work in tandem to produce a personalised itinerary for your customer.

  • Store provider services and list these as this provider is selected.

  • Odyssey also includes QR coding that links to Google maps meaning your customers have all the resources to navigate to their accommodation or activities.

Here's an example of what Odyssey can produce as an itinerary...

But wait there's more... take your itineraries mobile

Today's customer expect this information to be readily available on their mobile device.

Odyssey brings all the data direct from your clients trip details, creating a smartly presented mobile itinerary. This can include links to navigation maps, what's in my areas service and more.

Is your tourism business bogged
down with spreadsheets

Talk to us now to learn how Odyssey can help

This post was written with supporting data from Chat GPT (a very useful content knowledge centre)...as well as written by us to bring a human conscience and Odyssey perspective.


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