How Our Travel Startup Turned To The Community And Thrived Through The Pandemic

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How Our Travel Startup Turned to the community

The travel industry has started its fall into the pandemic in the beginning of 2020. In March, the YouLi team decided to launch biweekly discussions to stay in touch with the community of tour operators and travel designers who found themselves deep in the struggle with waves of cancellations, refunds, and uncertainty. 

As a B2B travel software provider we started seeing our clients taking one hit after another, and we were looking for the ways to support small businesses. So we reached out. Each one of us in a small team of six, made a choice to stick around and reach out to our networks to a) listen and b) bring expertise and wisdom to the community.

By the end of 2020 we have led, co-hosted, and got interviewed at over 40 community events, summits and webinars all over the world! 

Community Learning

We’ve partnered and brought in a variety of travel industry experts, travel designers, agents, tour operators, business insurance agents, marketing and retreat planning gurus. Most importantly, we were able to listen to what the travel industry needs. 

While many travel businesses pushed the pause button, some “adventureprenuers” adjusted and started looking for opportunities. With the overall shift towards domestic and sustainable tourism trip planners turned to refocusing on what was available, and that included internal development, like upgrading outdated tech platforms, improving the onboarding processes, building community, and preparing to scale fast in the future.

Elinor Fish, the founder of Run Wild Retreats is a great example of that shift. The company moved the network from European resorts to the domestic region, and reopened US based retreats in December 2020, empowered by YouLi travel management  platform.   

GOSchoolies, an Australian based and operated tour operators with the focus on organizing group trips for the students, has invested in rebuilding their booking website and integrated CRM powered by YouLi to be able to support the upcoming wave of demand once the borders are open.

Post-Pandemic Opportunities

While travel restrictions burned many trip planners out of the industry like bushfires, those who pivoted will be competing in a more abundant ocean of travelers hungry for travel experiences and searching for guidance in the new dawn of travel.

Seeing both, the struggles and the innovative ideas of the trip planners around the world is what led the product visionary and CEO of YouLive To Travel, Jennifer Fein, to expand the company vision beyond the trip management software and a booking platform into a wide ecosystem of YouLi Group Travel Software Solutions, including: 

1. YouLi Web  – reliable website development for travel designers looking to grow online presence and customer loyalty. From a free basic travel website on our platform to complex custom booking solutions.

2. YouLi Platform – free to use software for Itinerary management. Premium packages starting come with a free travel website, itinerary builder, booking platform, basic trip CRM, API integrations, payment instalments & reporting, document & invoice management, pricing packages & room inventory – all in one place.

3. YouLi Academy + Consulting – educational and tech consulting for travel businesses that are overwhelmed by tech platforms and development options. We help tour operators and travel agencies understand if they need a developer and how to make cost effective platform purchasing decisions from Mailchimp to Google Analytics to websites. We also teach you how to set up, zap, and utilize these platforms in your business to get more bookings. That includes free ongoing free community classes within YouLi Academy, and personalized 1:1 consulting attuned to the unique company needs.

At YouLi, our goal for the upcoming year is to empower 200+ tour operators and travel agents to reimagine group trips, relaunch sustainable travel and prepare to scale. For a limited time, we are now offering free 1:1 onboarding calls to help you utilize available travel technologies to grow and monetize your community.

Free onboarding with YouLi
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Viktoria Ayrapetyan
Viktoria Ayrapetyan
Marketing & Community Management. I believe "community" is what empowers the change makers to make a real impact on the world, so I challenge myself and others to be the most authentic self and build real connections.