As I sit at my computer and glance around my desk I am proud to say that outside of a couple of monitors, my cell phone and glasses I have very little cluttering up my space. I used to have sticky notes hanging off my monitor, to-do lists for work/home and highlighters of various colors so I could coordinate and determine what tasks carried more urgency than others. As a manager I would find myself chasing after various communications all day long to get them done so I wouldn’t have to remember them later. This constant interruption made me feel stressed and it certainly decreased my productivity. I have strong memories of copying/pasting/sending emails galore to customers to hone in on their exact itinerary needs and then later having to scroll through my insanely full inbox to find the one email I needed to back up a desire for a client.
Thank goodness for the cyber cloud of data, surrounding us invisibly and protecting us like a cocoon protects a forming butterfly. I have come to lean heavily on workspace applications in the cloud and have been able to clear my desk and my mind of all the clutter. These applications provide a space of virtual dry erase boards and cubicles where tasks can be assigned, data can be stored and communications specific to the area are housed. Platforms such as Trello, Slack, Basecamp and Buckets provide teams ways of communicating about specific projects on their own terms. For example if I am creating a new printed piece of marketing for an upcoming travel show, I can begin by working with just my marketing team to come up with the visual within a virtual marketing cubical. If I want sales to get involved I can share the visual with them in their virtual cubical or I can just invite one or two to step into the marketing cubical to share their opinions on the specific piece. This keeps everyone focused on their important tasks and keeps all of my managing organized neatly into virtual cubicles of space where I can step in at any time to oversee what is going on with the project.
These workspace applications are not new to IT professionals, teachers or financial advisors. The utilization of the Bloomberg Terminal has been available to the financial service sector for nearly 2 decades. It is a platform on which users can monitor and trade based upon real-time financial market data. Firms pay over $20,000 USD per user per year for the convenience of having all this data and trade at their fingertips. Teachers and schools harness the power and accessibility of Google apps for children to research, communicate, analyze and produce verification of their mastery in a subject. Often time’s students don’t even need to be in an actual classroom to attend school as this application makes it easy to work and learn virtually from home.
So where does it leave those of us in the travel planning world? Wouldn’t it be great if there were specific applications designed just for itinerary planning? Ones allowing travel agents the opportunity to work with various tour operators and yet create beautiful looking itineraries with a consistent marketing look and information? Wouldn’t it be great as a tour operator to have all of your information on a platform utilized by travel professionals in which the specifics of the itinerary are automatically searched for and dropped into the travel agent’s sales piece without a lot of emails back and forth? Yes there are back-office management tools already doing this but, for most small operators they are cost prohibitive. It is insanely difficult to compete with the online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and expect to be found online or through various travel agencies. What if all of the tools needed to run a successful travel business were all in one platform where you had access to customer management systems, inventory management systems, communication and calendar applications and other cloud based terminals designed to keep your travel business running efficiently and automatically? What if this platform also brought together the entire travel community on a social platform designed just for the various segments of the industry?
Well, I’m happy to say this platform does exist and is in the launch stage right now. PlanitEasy is ONE fully integrated platform for the travel industry to work together. The idea to design a platform to bring our industry the ability to connect and collaborate in one ecosystem was spurred on by all the great things found in the previously mentioned cloud-based data and workspace applications. I invite you to join PlanitEasy and look around. It’s free to be part of the community. The utilization of the various work applications are priced in a way so all size companies can belong and present extremely professional information to their travel cohorts in a consistent manner. I want you to join and get social on the social side. Get talking about travel and your trials, tribulations and celebrations as an industry professional. Look closely at the platform and give me your feedback. This is a platform for OUR industry. I want to make it something you want and will use. I believe PlanitEasy will better travel products worldwide and in doing so will increase the number of people traveling, thus making a bigger pie from which we each of us can take a slice.