Group Tours: Two Most Common Challenges Tour Operators Face And How Technology Can Solve Them

Creating offers for group tours is one of the most complex processes in the tour operator’s or DMC’s day-to-day business. It’s a process that takes a lot of time and sometimes results in a large amount of unnecessary documentation, regardless of your geographical location. Consequently, it can also result in costly mistakes.

What makes group tours one of the most complex types of travel from the standpoint of an agent?

The two primary challenges most mid to large-sized tour operators worldwide dealing with group tours share are calculations and offer creation.

Group Tours Challenge 1: Calculations

The core part of preparing trips and offers for group tours is calculations. These include either lots of (semi-)manual work involving different spreadsheets or switching between various tools and systems that handle them. Information from contracts from different suppliers regarding all the package components (including availability, net prices, margins, terms and conditions) often can’t be pulled out directly when doing calculations. This inevitably leads to a lot of time wasted on information import and double-checking, undoubtedly resulting in costly errors.

One of the key features of every package is accommodation. Accommodation can vary from hotels, hostels, villas, and cabins on a cruise to outdoor camping in tents. Still, the most common distinction would be the room occupancy – single, double, or triple occupancy. Setting up the cost per occupancy directly on every accommodation item and the end cost per person is crucial for a correct and detailed cost overview.

These complex calculations, both for tour series and ad-hoc group tours – based on different selling prices depending on the number of passengers, room usage, travel agent, etc. – are prone to error if not fully automated. 

Moreover, what if a company has several offices worldwide, each subject to the laws of that specific country? Dealing with different currencies only adds to the complexity of an already rather complicated process of calculations.

Group Tours Challenge 2: Itinerary Creation

Consequently, creating itineraries takes a lot of time. Not only that, but updating and amending the itineraries is also a lengthy process. Each document must be double-checked or tweaked before sending it out, wasting precious time. 

The same applies to offers sent to your B2B partners, especially those containing multiple prices for different periods and room types. Again, if not automated, such a process is prone to errors that result in financial losses.

Solution: Calculations Automation With a Powerful Software

Automating the complex parts of the group tours workflow, such as calculations, frees time and brings peace of mind. 

A powerful travel software enables you to create unique tours, with several services from different suppliers included in one package prepared for the customer to book – in a matter of minutes. Moreover, it allows you to schedule departures from components in your product catalog and save them for future use with just a few clicks. Most importantly, it empowers you with the ability to calculate the total cost of the packages and apply the set margins.

When it comes to accommodation, you can activate the room occupancy set-up and see the cost for each occupancy on every accommodation item and the end cost per person for every room type. Create and send an offer to your B2B partner quickly. The offer will contain multiple prices for different periods and room types – Lemax allows you to efficiently control and monitor products’ profit margins.

Companies with multiple offices can work in a single unified platform that supports multi-currencies, which eases their everyday work and the communication between the offices.

Once the package is ready, you can create itineraries based on the components you used, prepare tours for sale, and send work orders to your suppliers. Generate the tour itinerary and the quote based on the calculation in a couple of clicks and leave no room for error.

Long-term Benefits

Besides making day-to-day work easier for all the tour operators dealing with group tours, automating the calculations process will eliminate costly errors that are bound to happen if everything is not centralized. Full automation and centralization open the door for further growth and scalability of the business.

“Lemax is fantastic at handling packages! From handling groups and calculations, auto-generating documents previously done in Word and Excel and lacking consistency, to having a structured database matching what we get from suppliers to comply with contracts. We have something like 200+ accommodation options in the system. Handling that and pulling it into the system proved to be a game-changer!”

Kristjan Gunnarsson, CTO & Business Development at Snaeland

Read the entire Snaeland business case here.