Make Good Data Choices – Data Privacy Day – 2019

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[Photo Credit: Reis Voyage]

Today is Data Privacy Day, some say it is a day to mourn the loss of our privacy. But we take it as a day of pride to be part of the growing movement of companies that are responsible stewards of customer data.

As a tech company, we spend a lot of time following the latest global laws and the changing practices regarding privacy. 2018 was all about GDPR in the EU, but in Australia they passed new privacy principles (APPs) way back in 2014 that created a principle driven approach to how Australian businesses need to protect their customer data. So we’ve been principled about privacy since launch.

We know that most of our customers are not privacy geeks, and that’s ok. That’s why we worry about it for you. As travel organizers, group leaders and travel agents, you’re entrusted with a lot of traveler information. Much of it would be classified as personal information (or PII) and some of it could be sensitive. For example, if you ask your travelers whether they have any conditions that could be a problem while traveling in stressful circumstances, that would be considered “sensitive” under Australian law. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t collect it, in fact, to be a responsible group leader, you need to collect enough information to take care of your travelers. That’s why you need a platform like YouLi. So you can be sure it is being collected and protected.

Unlike collecting that kind of information on a platform like Facebook, where all the information you or your travelers post is “owned” by Facebook, when you or your travelers add information to YouLi, we are merely the “stewards” of the data. That means you have the right to download it, request that we delete it, find out what information we have about you or your travelers, etc. We are obligated to service those requests, because we aren’t trying to trick you into collecting data for alternative uses. We will never use your traveler data to promote other products to them (unless they ask us to) and we are always transparent about the data collected and where it is located (currently in US data centers). We will also inform our users of a data breach so that they can take the right measures to protect themselves. And of course we will do everything possible to avoid that happening.

We provide the software to manage the data, and that’s how we make money. If you, as a Planner, value the software we make, you pay us directly for that service. So there is no uncertainty about how we will “monetize”. We have really affordable packages for all business sizes too, check out our pricing.

Some of our clients have requested that data be purged 1 month after the trip is complete. Not a problem! We happily support these types of requests since we are selling software to help you manage your data, and part of responsible data management is to delete data when it is no longer relevant to deliver the service your customers have requested.

We make a distinction between the users of our Planner software (Planners) and those who are invited or register for trips managed by those Planners (Travelers). If you are a Planner, you are bound by our Planner Agreement, if you are a Traveler, you are bound by our Terms of Service. You can read more about our Privacy Policy. which basically says we use cookies and analytics to track website usage to improve our product, and we collect the information necessary to deliver the requested services. If you really want to geek out, we also detail out Data Protection Addendum Policy.

The most important thing to keep in mind on this day is that you do have some control over your privacy. You can make choices that reward positive data stewardship. If you feel like the big guys aren’t listening, then seek out smaller players who will respect your requests and provide a service that meets your business needs. We can build a world that is respectful, and it is days like this that we are reminded to take action to move in that direction.

If you are a group leader or agency that organizes group travel, we’d love to talk to you. You can also try out our software anytime with a free trial.

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Jennifer Fein
Jennifer Fein
Jen Fein is the product visionary behind YouLi and epic group travel planner. After years of building digital products as an engineer and product manager for others, she’s now determined to make software that empowers passionate people to create unique group travel businesses. She is also the co-author of Ready to Start? Becoming an Entrepreneur in Australia.