Travel Sector and MS Excel... Is it a good match? - Looking for Custom Excel Spreadsheets, Templates and Applications?

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Exploring the advantages and possible uses of Excel, specifically for small and mid-sized companies of the travel business.

MS Excel, so much more than just spreadsheets!

Since its inception in 1982 (named Multiplan back then), Excel has assisted many millions of users and businesses in their day-to-day operations, whether used as a simple spreadsheet calculator or as a complex standalone application that manages the processes of an entire business.

Today, more than 750 million people use Excel daily (source:, while the Office suite (that includes Excel) has well over 1 billion installs worldwide (source:, making Excel one of the most recognizable and used applications ever. It is almost certain that you have heard about Excel, and probably have already worked with its cells, tables, and functions, so most possibly you are familiar with its powers, speed, and reliability.

Is Excel suitable for my travel company?

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

Most companies in all sectors use Excel for its «classic powers», like budgeting, sales management, payroll and human resource management, data analysis, bookkeeping, accounting, invoicing, stock management, reporting...

But a company of the travel sector can also utilize Excel for a series of other, focused uses, like the following:

1. Booking Management, Calendars, Schedulers

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

2. Management and tracking of incoming requests

With Excel, you can organize your customers’ incoming requests in a dynamic app that will simplify the process of managing and tracking them. Create checklists for your requests, set reminders, and follow-ups, view basic statistics about conversion rates and requests’ lead sources… With the help of Outlook, you can even email your customers directly from Excel!

3. Trip tracking tools

Excel tools that assist in tracking the progress of your trips and activities. You can easily check upcoming events, keep notes, and store details about the progress of each trip or activity. 

4. Dynamic itineraries and offers

One of the most important aspects of the travel sector, the ability to create custom itineraries easily and respond to your clients’ requests with beautiful proposals and offers. Excel can do its magic with these tasks too, fully automating the process, from the initial design of a custom trip to the creation of the final pdf file that you will send to your clients.

5. Automated vouchers’ creation

You can utilize Excel to create your vouchers files on the fly. Using a voucher template and a couple of dynamic forms, you can type just the necessary info for each voucher and create pdf files with the press of a button. 

6. Other uses of Excel

There are endless other uses of Excel inside a travel company, each organization has its unique characteristics and specifications and Excel can adapt easily to them. Many companies rely on Excel for the correct costing and pricing of their products and services, while others use Excel for their social media presence scheduling, even to automate the creation of the tags/labels that they regularly use in their posts.

Downfalls of using Excel in your travel business

There are known limitations of Excel, like for example its limited collaboration capabilities. In many cases, it is not possible to update a custom Excel app at the same time with other users, because most of those apps use Macro coding, which is not compatible with multi-user environments. But it is possible to have an Excel app stored on the cloud so anyone that you give access to, can open it from anywhere in the world, update it and save it.
Another limitation of Macro-enabled Excel apps is the lack of compatibility with smartphones and tablets. Custom apps developed in Excel are fully compatible with Windows-based PCs and laptops that have the Office suite already installed. 
Another thing to keep in mind is the risk of data loss, which of course exists for any type of application, not just for the Excel-based ones. In Excel, all info is stored in one file, so if this file gets deleted or damaged, it is very possible that you will not be able to restore its data. Keeping a regular back up procedure eliminates this risk.

Advantages of using custom Excel apps in your business

a. Fast, powerful, and reliable.

If you have already worked with Excel, I suppose you already know those! Excel is the spreadsheet’s industry leader and standard. Each new version adds new capabilities and tools that help its users accomplish more with less effort.

b. Short learning curve – Familiarity of users – User-friendliness.

Most of the users are already familiar with Excel’s basic use and someone can learn its basics in a short time. This means that with a custom Excel app you don’t have to invest time and money on learning a brand new software platform. 

c. Low costs in purchasing and maintaining custom apps. 

In general, custom Excel apps don’t require annual subscriptions, support costs, and costs per user/license. 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 in your office or home pc, or laptop. This fee is considerably lower than a commercial ready-made app, which is usually loaded with functions and modules that are just not useful to your way of working. With a custom Excel app, you only pay for the functions that you actually use. The cost can be as low as zero if you perform online research to find Excel templates and applications that are offered for free. 

d. Error-free data by minimizing user input.

There are several articles online (usually promoting an app that aims to replace Excel) with the claim that most Excel files contain errors. The truth is that Excel can’t produce errors by itself. If a user provides erroneous input to an Excel app, then the app will return erroneous results. Custom Excel apps use automation to minimize user input and thus eliminate human errors. If you assign the development of your custom Excel app to a professional Excel programmer, then it is certain that your application will not contain errors. On the contrary, it will help you get rid of errors!

e. Elimination of repetitive tasks.

If you use Excel a lot, you most possibly have noticed that you perform repetitive tasks in your everyday work with it. With a few Macros using VBA (Excel's programming language), you can have buttons that do the repetitive works in seconds, saving you time and money.

f. Excel custom apps are easily upgradeable.

This is one of the most interesting “powers” of Excel. Business environment changes, customer needs change too, even your way of doing business is a dynamic process. Excel’s apps are very flexible and can get easily 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, a practical little app that will assist you in assigning your guides to activities and easily create or print schedules. You can download it for free by clicking here. Please note that you need to have Macros enabled in your Excel application for the above tool to work properly.

Note: parts of this article were originally published on the website.

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