Whenever I meet folks in business segments I am unfamiliar with, I try to learn about their work and whether there are places our timeline maker could add value. This was the case with a travel agent who was in business of putting high-end tours together. I asked if she used some type of itinerary planner or itinerary template with her clients, and if I could see the travel itinerary for one of her tours.
It was a nicely assembled document with a lot of pretty pictures and blurbs about fantastic destinations. Cleary a lot of work goes into preparing something that looked good, however I noticed it lacked a high level overview of the trip. I thought about capturing her itinerary as a timeline and mentioned that Office Timeline could do that for her. Specifically it would provide an itinerary planner an easy tool to make a graphical itinerary template for their client’s travel documents.
Office Timeline is a timeline maker that is embedded into PowerPoint, so using it to create, manage and present itinerary templates is intuitive and quick. It starts with a simple wizard for entering travel dates and destinations or importing those events directly from Excel. Then with a push of a button this itinerary is turned into a graphical image which can be pasted into other documents.
Although my friend did not use PowerPoint much I suggested it would be valuable in making itinerary templates that could be re-used. She graciously volunteered to Office Timeline and give me feedback.
When we reconnected, I learned she did end up using it to make visual itineraries which she pasted as images into her customer’s travel documents. Now here is the interesting thing I did not anticipate, she also found several other clever uses for Office Timeline.
She had this notion was that visual images of travel itineraries would be very easy to reference in the future. Her idea was a portfolio of itinerary templates that would become a knowledge base of her work…very cool.
What excited her most was that it was simple to do and that accessing them graphically was considerably better than sorting through Word or Excel documents (see blog post on pasting from Excel into Office Timeline). The other benefit of these itinerary templates was in selling and presenting new proposals. She thought that presenting her work as visual images would be more engaging for her prospective clients.