7 Reasons You Should Stop Using Spreadsheets for Travel Planning

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Even if you excel at spreadsheets (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) the reality is that they’re holding you back. If you’re planning and managing travel for groups, you want your processes to be as efficient and accurate as possible. While spreadsheeting software like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and Apple Numbers may be widely-known and accessible, they’re simply not the best tool for the job.

Here are seven reasons why spreadsheets are letting you down when it comes to travel planning.

1. Theyre error-prone.

Here’s the thing about spreadsheets: they rely a lot on human input. Now, if you tell us you have kick-ass data entry skills, we believe you! But fact is, even the best of us make mistakes when it comes to spreadsheets. According to one study, a whopping 88% of spreadsheets contain errors.

That means if you’re using spreadsheets for tasks like managing group travel payments, you need to have an eagle-eye on the figures at all times. A tiny error in one cell can lead to a domino effect of incorrect numbers. If you have multiple team members working on the same spreadsheet, well… the probability of errors only grows.

2. One word: formulas.

Speaking of errors, a lot of them stem from iffy formulas. If you’re doing any kind of calculations in a spreadsheet, you need to have at least some knowledge of how formulas work and what syntax is needed for any given function. If you just switched off at the word “syntax” we don’t blame you… Let’s not even go into things like lookup tables, arrays and indexes!

To put it simply, spreadsheet formulas are not automatic or intuitive: you need to know what you’re doing to get them to work properly.

3. Theyre aesthetically unappealing.

Or, put more simply, they aren’t pretty. Travel is vibrant, exciting, full of wonder. Spreadsheets are… none of those things. You need your trip participants to complete particular tasks, like supplying information and making payments. They’ll be far more enthusiastic about doing those things if they’re interacting with a system that’s beautifully designed, visual, and a constant reminder of how exciting their upcoming trip is.

Relying on emails and spreadsheets misses out on that opportunity.

4. They sit apart from your email systems.

Have you ever tried setting up automatic email reminders from a spreadsheet? If not, here’s what you’ll need: time, patience, access to a dozen YouTube tutorials, and possibly a bottle of scotch. It’s hardly the most fun way to spend an afternoon! Usually what happens instead is that communications are done separately and then cross-referenced with the spreadsheet data. That means more time spent and, again, more margin for error.

The alternative is to use a system (like YouLi) where email reminders are integrated with the travel booking and management process. That way you don’t have to manually keep track (or battle with sub-par spreadsheet functionality).

5. They dont integrate with payment systems.

Similarly, spreadsheets don’t integrate well with payment systems. If a travel participant makes a payment, it needs to be manually updated in the spreadsheet. On the other hand, an integrated system saves time and is far more accurate.

6. Theyre confusing to manage.

Trying to structure information within a spreadsheet can be a headache and a half. You can end up with a bunch of different tabs and sheets, all bursting at the seams with data. This problem is only compounded if you’re trying to look after individual preferences and personalized itineraries.

The other reason they’re confusing is that you can’t keep everything in one place. Imagine a system where waiver forms, flight booking documents, receipts and everything else are kept neatly together automatically, so they’re never more than a button click away. I’m guessing what you’re imagining right now is NOT a spreadsheet.

7. Theyre time consuming.

If you think about what all this boils down to, it’s time. And time, as they say, is money. Having to manage several non-integrated systems; having to manually input data; having to fix errors… All of these things add up to time you could have spent on other areas of your business.


To sum it up, simple, fast, and accurate management of group travel comes down to having the right tools. Once you have a strong system set up, it empowers you to better run your business, to better use the data you collect, and to better understand the needs of your customers. The wrong tools, meanwhile, suck up time and negatively impact your bottom line.

If you’re a group travel or tour planner who wants to maximize your business opportunities, explore how YouLi can make life infinitely easier by giving you an intuitive, visual, all-in-one system  that makes travel organization a breeze. You can get started for FREE below or request a demo.

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