July 13, 2023

This week, in a 45-minute power-packed session, we brought together industry trailblazers, regulatory experts, tour operators, and technology specialists to look at the nuances of logistics and comms in educational travel. 

The panel was a truly star-studded cast – we were joined by Gill Harvey, the CEO of the School Travel Forum (STF), Carylann Assante, the CEO of the Student Youth Travel Association (Student & Youth Travel Association), Gaurav Namit, the Vice President of Four Winds Tours, and Dominic Webb, from Orbis Expeditions.

Let’s dive into their discussion on logistics, comms, health and safety compliance, and emerging trends in the world of educational travel. You can watch the video below for the full webinar, or keep reading for our recap.

 

 

 

Navigating Compliance: Challenges, Excitement, and a Bright Future

To kick things off, Gill had some fantastic industry news to share: bookings are bouncing back as schools yearn to hit the road again – 75% of in-country travel is back on track! But it’s not all smooth sailing. After the pandemic-induced lull, the challenge now lies in revving up operations and dealing with new staff hires and compliance concerns. 

Brexit has (shockingly) thrown a curveball at educational travel, making European trips more complex and expensive to pull off. Across the pond, Caroline from SYTA shed light on the North American market, where educators are exploring their own backyard. Flexibility has become a real priority, with itineraries evolving to accommodate changing circumstances and a hunger for unique cultural experiences. 

 

Read now: Find out how to transform your school travel itineraries

 

Industry Updates and Technological Advancements:

Gaurav, an expert on the US market, spills the beans on international travel. He reveals that it’s making a strong comeback but with a few twists and turns along the way. East Asia? It’s been a mystery and it has remained largely untouched by US tour operators.

Europe is enjoying a bold comeback. Eased travel restrictions have paved the way for a resurgence in trips. Gaurav attributes their success to the art of customer education. It’s important to guide them through the maze of paperwork, insurance requirements, and the newfound need for flexibility. Think of it as preparing for a marathon but with more passport stamps and fewer blisters.

Gaurav says that the impressive 2023 recovery rate is an indication of strong domestic travel, but he’s confident that international trips are lacing up their boots for a comeback, albeit at a leisurely pace.

 

Discover How IBT Can Now Update Their Clients In Real Time

 

Streamlining Educational Travel Operations for Enhanced Communication and Efficiency

Now we shift gears and get into the good stuff: how tour operators are streamlining their businesses and improving comms. Technology has become increasingly important in making these processes run efficiently, enabling automated and on-demand communication with clients, parents, and students before, during, and after the trip.

Expectation management is another key aspect – recognising the need for a chain of command and a centralised point of contact. With multiple parties involved, having a designated lead or teacher acting as the point person can help streamline communication and decision-making.

The speed of change in this lightning-fast industry requires companies to adapt quickly. Keeping clients engaged without overwhelming resources can be challenging – using tech such as FaceTime, Whatsapp, or Vamoos, can add a personal touch and maintain engagement throughout the lead-in period. Vamoos can also help by providing regular updates and information, keeping your clients in the know during the planning stages.

 

Read How Tech Giants Like NST Have Revolutionised Their Trips

 

The Importance of Compliance and the Human Touch 

While technology can play a significant role in improving communication and logistics, it’s important to remember the human touch. Building strong relationships with suppliers and partners fosters trust and collaboration, ensuring smoother operations on both ends. These relationships also come in handy when unexpected issues arise, as partners have a better understanding of how travel companies operate (and they’re more likely to help if they like you!).

Another vital consideration is managing risk and compliance. Travel companies should have clear crisis communication plans, transparent risk assessments, and a robust system for storing communication records. This helps address any challenges that may arise during or after the trip and speeds up the resolution of any issues. 

 

How to Claim Your Free Copy of Our Latest Educational Travel Guide 

We’ve learned that streamlining logistics and communications in educational travel is like running any successful business. It requires fostering partnerships, managing expectations, and keeping stakeholders in the loop. It can also be made a LOT easier with a little help from tech. And we’ve heard the same thing from our clients. So we decided to speak to some of them to find out how tech has transformed their operation for the better. 

Find out what they had to say in our comprehensive guide: ‘How Travel Tech is Revolutionising Educational Travel: Reclaim Your Time and Supercharge Your Service’. You can grab it for free using the button below. If you’d like to talk to our team about how tech could help your business specifically, book a meeting here. 

 

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