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Advantages and possible uses of Microsoft Excel, for small and mid-sized travel companies.

Microsoft Excel is much more than spreadsheets!

Since its inception in 1982, Excel has assisted millions of users and their businesses with day-to-day operations. Excel can be as simple as a calculator or as complex as a standalone application that manages an entire business.

Over 750 million people use Excel daily(opens in a new tab) and the Microsoft Office suite (that includes Excel) has well over one billion installs worldwide(opens in a new tab). Excel is one of the most recognizable and used applications in the computing world and it is almost certain that you have heard of Excel, and likely that you have worked with its cells, tables, and functions. If so, you are familiar with its powers, speed, and reliability.

Is Excel suitable for your travel company?

If you own or work for a small or mid-sized travel company, then Excel is ideal for your business. It provides fast and efficient solutions to everyday tasks and eliminates repetitive jobs and saves large amounts of time that you can invest in more creative ways!

Most companies use Excel for budgeting, sales, payroll, human resources, data analysis, accounting, invoicing, stock management, reporting, etc. Companies in the travel sector can benefit from all of these traditional uses and many more. 

1. Booking management, calendars, schedulers

Excel is a perfect tool to organize your upcoming tasks, activities, and bookings. For example, an adventure tour operator could create a dynamic calendar on Excel showing all the upcoming trips and activities. With the click of a button, they could add new bookings, edit or cancel existing ones, assign guides, take notes, and check pricing.

2. Management and tracking of incoming requests

With Excel, you can organize your customers’ requests through your website(opens in a new tab) or other avenues in a dynamic way that will simplify management and tracking. Create checklists, set reminders, and follow-ups, and view basic statistics about conversion rates and lead sources. You can even email your customers directly from Excel!

3. Dynamic itineraries and offers

One of the most important aspects of the travel sector is the ability to create custom itineraries and respond to clients’ requests. Excel can work its magic with these tasks as well. It is capable of fully automating the process, from the initial design of a custom trip to the creation of a final pdf four you to send to your clients.

4. Automated voucher creation

You can use Excel to create vouchers on the fly. Using a voucher template and dynamic forms, you input the necessary info for each voucher and create pdf files instantaneously. 

5. Other useful applications of Excel 

The uses of Excel for your travel company are limitless! Every company has its own unique characteristics and specifications. The benefit of Excel is that it can easily adapt to meet needs that are as unique as your business. Many companies rely on Excel for pricing of their products and services, while others use Excel for their social media presence.

Downfalls of using Excel in your travel business

As we have just seen, Excel can drive a lot of value to the everyday operations of your travel sector business. No program, however, is without its downsides and Microsoft Excel is no exception to this rule. It’s best to know upfront what some of Excel’s known limitations are so that they won’t catch you by surprise. 

Excel has limited collaboration capabilities. It’s often not possible to update a spreadsheet at the same time as other users. This is because Excel uses Macro coding, which is not compatible with multi-user environments. A common workaround to this problem is to store your work on the cloud so anyone with access can open it from anywhere in the world, update it, and save it.

Another limitation of Excel apps is that they are rarely compatible with smartphones and tablets. Custom apps developed in Excel are only fully compatible with Windows-based PCs and laptops that have Office Suite installed. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the risk of data loss. This risk, of course, exists with any type of data-storage application, not just with Excel. In Excel, however, all info is stored in a single file, so if this file is lost or damaged, your data may be permanently lost. Maintaining a regular backup procedure eliminates this risk.

Advantages of using custom Excel apps in your business

1. Fast, powerful, and reliable.

Excel is the industry standard for spreadsheets. Each updated version brings new capabilities and tools that help its users accomplish more with less effort.

2. Excel is user-friendly

Most workers are already familiar with Excel’s basic uses. Those who aren’t can learn the essentials fairly quickly. This means that by opting for Excel, you won’t have to invest time and money on learning a brand new platform. 

3. Low costs in purchasing and maintenance 

In general, custom Excel apps don’t require annual subscriptions or support, licensing or additional user fees. In most cases, you only have to invest a one-time fee for the development of the app and then you are free to use it on your PC or laptop. This fee is considerably lower than a commercial ready-made app and most of these come loaded with features that you’ll never use anyway. With a custom Excel app, you only pay for the functions that you actually use. You might even find free Excel templates online with all of the features you need.

4. Error-free data by minimizing user input

There are several articles online (usually promoting an app that aims to replace Excel) that claim that Excel files contain errors. The truth is that Excel can’t produce errors by itself. If a user provides erroneous input, then the app will return erroneous results. What’s more, custom Excel apps use automation to minimize user input and eliminate human error. If you assign the development of your custom Excel app to a professional Excel programmer, then it is almost certain that it will not contain errors. 

5. Elimination of repetitive tasks.

If you use Excel a lot, you may have noticed yourself performing repetitive tasks. With a few simple modifications, you can add buttons that do the repetitive work for you, saving you time and money.

6. Excel custom apps are easily upgradeable

This is one of the most interesting “powers” of Excel. Business environments change, customer needs change too, even your way of doing business is dynamic. Excel’s apps are flexible and can easily be adjusted to all those changes. A successful custom Excel app follows the evolution of your business and matures with it.

Free app download to try a custom Excel tool

As an example of a simple custom Excel app, you can download a Guides-to-Activities Assigning tool. This is a practical little app that will assist you in assigning your guides to activities and easily creating or printing schedules. You can download it for free by clicking here(opens in a new tab). Please note that you need to have Macros enabled in your Excel application for the above tool to work properly.

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