The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed the face of countless different industries and activities. One of the industries that was impacted the most was, of course, the travel industry, and all of the industries that fall under the “travel” umbrella. The hospitality industry, air travel, and travel agencies have all been suffering since the pandemic hit a year ago.
Now that cases are declining and vaccines are on the rise, both domestic and international travel will be finally making a comeback! As a travel agent, it might be overwhelming to go from suddenly having to book a high volume of trips again after a year of little to no work. We put together a list of some of our favorite travel planning tools to help make it easier to plan vacations for clients and book trips once again!
We’ve separated this guide into 3 parts to make travel planning for your clients go more smoothly depending on your client’s specific needs. Maybe they need a detailed itinerary. Maybe they need help determining which travel insurance to purchase. Or maybe they are simply curious about the travel restrictions for their desired destination. We go over the best travel planning tools for all of the above in this guide!
Without further ado, here are our most recommended travel planning tools and tips for travel agents.
Best Trip Itinerary and Booking Tools for Travel Agents
1. Create a Customized Trip Itinerary With Travefy
Travefy is an itinerary builder that travel advisors and agents can use to plan trip itineraries for all of their clients. This tool allows travel agents to consolidate all parts of their clients’ itinerary into one place, making trip planning extra easy. With Travefy, you can manage your clients’ hotel reservations, flights, activities, and all other reservations all in the same location. This way, all your clients have to do is check Travefy to see them all in one place.
Travefy also lets you drag and drop reservation “widgets” to make the itinerary easy to look at, even if there are lots of different reservations all managed in the same itinerary. This tool also has features such as a live flight database and a live chat feature that can help you manage your client’s trip from start to finish. Travefy costs $39 USD a month with a 10 day free trial.
2. …or Create a Customized Trip Itinerary with Umapped
Much like Travefy, Umapped is another trip itinerary builder. It uses the same drag and drop technology as Travefy, which makes it easy to customize each itinerary depending on the client and their trip. Umapped is also unique in that it allows the client to add to their own itinerary as well, instead of you adding everything.
The pricing for Umapped is separated into two tiers. You can select which tier you want to use depending on which features that would be more helpful for you and your agency or clients. For example, the feature that allows clients to add to their itineraries is a feature available with the second tier only.
Umapped costs $20 USD a month in order to use the first tier, and $25 USD a month in order to use the second tier. This tool also includes a 30 day free trial.
If you are not sure whether Travefy or Umapped will work better for you and your business, check out the amazing infographic that Host Agency Reviews put together. This chart breaks down the differences between the two travel planning tools (and a couple of others) very well so you can better make your decision!
3. Manage Your Agency’s Reservations, Invoices, and Accounting In One Place with TravelWorks
TravelWorks is a cloud-based reservation management tool intended specifically for travel agencies, tour operators, and other companies in the travel industry. If you work for a travel agency, you can use TravelWorks to manage all of your clients’ trip reservations, manage invoices, keep track of travel agents’ performances, and manage targeted email campaigns, to name a few. TravelWorks pricing starts at $165 a month.
Best Communication Tools for Travel Agents
4. Communicate with Your Clients on Google Hangouts
As far as online communication goes, we think Google Hangouts is one of the best tools available. Not only is it free and easy to use, but it easily integrates right into your Gmail account. This way, you can look at the reservations you have made for your clients right in your email inbox while you chat with them about them. Easy, right?! You can also use Google Hangouts for easily speaking with other agents in your agency.
5. Keep All Your Work Chats in One Place With Slack
Having trouble communicating with your clients, host agency, or employees? Slack can help you pick up the slack. (Pun very much intended).
Available as both a plugin for your computer and an app for your phone, Slack is an easy way to communicate with everyone you work with all in one place. It’s free to join as an employee, but costs between roughly $7 and $13 USD per person to set up as a company. Once you’ve created a Slack channel for your host agency or business, you can create different sub-channels within it to discuss different topics – reservations, trip planning, and so on. As more people join your company, you can easily add them to your Slack channel so they can join the conversation. That way, all your work-related conversations are in one place, and you can save your WhatsApp and Messenger conversations for sending memes and TikToks. Or put those in Slack too. Who doesn’t like a good meme or TikTok video?!
Best Safety Tools for Travel Agents
6. Stay Up-To-Date With Each Country’s Travel Restrictions with iVisa.com
Curious if your client’s destination requires a 14-day quarantine or if your client needs a negative PCR test? What if there is a special travel advisory issued for that country? What if your client’s destination isn’t allowing anyone in at all unless they are vaccinated?
You can easily read up on all of the current travel restrictions for most countries all around the world at iVisa.com. Simply head to the iVisa blog and select your client’s destination on the “Choose Category” drop down menu (for example: Colombia). From there you can see all of the blog posts on the COVID-19 restrictions for that country. Once you know the restrictions of your client’s destination, you will be able to better assist your client and help them plan their trip.
7. Find the Best Travel Insurance Plan for Your Clients At TravelInsurance.com
Think of the flight aggregator site Skyscanner, but for travel insurance plans! TravelInsurance.com is an easy way to determine the best travel insurance for your client and their needs.
Using the free tool on this aptly-named website, you can plug in your client’s origin, their destination, their budget, travel dates, citizenship, age, and other details to help the site determine which travel insurance would be best.
The website will then recommend the best travel insurance plans for your clients based on the information you entered. From there, you can sift through the travel insurance plan recommendations and determine which will work best for your clients and their needs. A couple traveling with young children, for example, will likely need a different travel insurance plan than a couple of young professionals traveling together with no children.
Using TravelInsurance.com will give you a good idea of the options that are available for your client’s destination, budget and age group. This way, you don’t have to do research to find them independently; the tool will do it for you! How handy is that.
Best Tools for COVID-Era Travel
8. Use iVisa.com to Check If Your Clients Need to Purchase a Health Declaration for their Destination
In the COVID-19 era, many destinations require a health declaration before travelers can enter the country. Figuring out which countries require a health declaration (and how to get it) can be confusing for your clients. To make it extra easy for you and your clients to figure out, the iVisa.com home page includes a free tool to quickly find out if a health declaration is needed for your client’s destination. Simply head to iVisa.com and type in your client’s origin and destination. The site will not only tell you if a health declaration is needed, but will also be able to help you purchase it!
Check out the iVisa.com blog for more tips for travel agents and travel planning tools!