We organize fleet cruises on yachts and catamarans in Croatia and Greece. A customer who goes on a cruise with us will experience a week full of yachting, water fun, freedom and all this with a great group of people.
The basis of the company consists of 3 people, where I am in charge of everything about ships, cruises, partnerships and at the same time I am a captain on cruises. Then we have a person for business and finance and another for marketing and communication. This is basically enough for the operation of the company as such, but such a great specificity is that we work with a lot of external entities - charter companies, travel agencies, transport companies, etc. So there are many stakeholders and manage it only via e-mail, over 100 emails was crazy. That's why we were looking for a place where we would unite everyone and everything and save not only time, but mainly nerves.
There came a time when people simply did not order holidays. However, the deposit for the boats must have been paid long before that, so we were in a situation where we had a lot of boats, but no one on them.
After COVID measures, many things are still uncertain, but after a few difficult months, the situation has loaded us into cards without a single order - a holiday on a yacht in a closed group of friends is one of the few options for a safe holiday.
When we have so many different entities and each has different processes, then the biggest advantage is that we give everyone access only to the things they need. And that companies that work in e-mail can also be included in the process. Thanks to Freelo, we found an intersection between a "traditional" approach and modern project management.
Freelo was the only one to meet all our requirements. It's easy to use, we can still keep communication in e-mails, everyone sees only what they need and everything is written on the calendar. As a result, Freelo provides a wide range of uses.
A great novelty of quarantine practice for us was LinkedIn, in which I see great strength and potential. By creating a lot of media materials, social networks are essential for us, through which we successfully close deals - who would say that a few years back… Social networks are directly followed by influencers who help us spread awareness of our brand.
We have known for some time that we need a project management tool, and thanks to that it was time to "google" a suitable tool, we also asked for some recommendations and underlined , Freelo has everything we need.
Many traditional travel agencies feel the need to change their classic offers and are looking for alternatives to help them get out of the crisis. And the yachts are perfect for that.
When the epidemic broke out, all our efforts, our plans, were in vain. As a result, however, the crisis has strengthened us. Finally, we had time to improve internal processes, modify the website, etc.
At the same time, we redirected our efforts more to the B2B market. There, as the biggest advantage, I perceive that many traditional travel agencies feel the need to change their classic offers and are looking for alternatives that will help them get out of the crisis. And the yachts are perfect for that. So we are entering into a strategic partnership that we would not even consider under normal circumstances.
We can only speculate, and when the disease begins to spread faster, the borders may close again like a snap of a finger. We believe that a holiday on a yacht will become a trend for future holidays. Beaches will be limited, bars and parties probably too. You can avoid all this on a yacht and enjoy the summer, almost as if the epidemic had not struck.
We use Freelo to plan individual cruise trips, in which we keep budgets, communicate about transport options and manage the documents needed for the cruise. We are sure that we will find anything with a few clicks through the application and abroad.
Of course, we have more scenarios in our pocket, but we really depend on opening or closing borders. In the future, however, we will focus on the positive option and all the steps we take are directed there.
The biggest change I feel is that different subjects come together and start working together. The offer of travel will be limited, so it will be necessary to offer really interesting and comprehensive products. Therefore, it will be necessary to have more control over the projects and to move the communication up a level overall. That's why we're glad we jumped into Freelo this early.
Because we are tied to open borders, when the epidemic struck, everything froze. There came a time when people simply did not order holidays. However, the deposit for the boats must have been paid long before that, so we were in a situation where we had a lot of boats, but no one on them. Fortunately, the people from the charters are sensible and we have found compromises on how to proceed in different scenarios of the situation.
We also had projects outside the EU in different parts of the world, which we had to cancel, and we are currently focusing only on the Mediterranean Sea, where we have even managed to make one term.
After a few difficult months without a single order, the situation loaded our cards - a holiday on a yacht in a closed group of friends is one of the few options for spending a safe holiday.
We had to adapt a large part of the company's strategy, when we had to change some of the basic principles of operation. So I think that after the crisis, we will be much more flexible and open to changes and different partnerships. At the same time, it has become clear how strong our relations with our current partners are. During a crisis, many people will show themselves in the right light. This strengthened most of our ties, but some proved to be completely unsatisfactory.
Everyone on our team is young and technical friendly, so that wasn't a problem. However, it was a challenge for some of our partners, who are used to solving everything in person and sending an e-mail in case of emergency. Fortunately, Freelo is quite intuitive and in the end we managed to move the entire management of the company to it and we now "have everything online".
Before the crisis, we solved everything on our own t-shirt. But now we are trying to have a more stable base thanks to different partnerships. We are creating a strategic network of contacts that can help us in the future.
We dealt with most things via e-mails and for better orientation we used Trello, where I missed the calendar function and much more. Email is still the basis of communication, but thanks to Freelo, we have a much better overview of events and key points that we don't have to look up in long threads.
Freelo was the only one to meet all our requirements. It's easy to use, we can still keep communication in e-mails, everyone sees only what they need and everything is written on the calendar. Thanks to this, Freelo provides a wide range of uses and we suit various groups that are used to working in different styles (e-mails, Trello, Tickets…).
We currently have 5 projects based in Freelo, under which we group To-Do lists and tasks, depending on the nature of the task.
It took us a while to find the right way to divide projects and tasks, but so far the most feasible solution for us is not to divide tasks, but rather to use subtasks (we welcomed the newly added ability to assign a person to a subtask) to have a whole conversation with files in just one task. It regularly solve the situation "to which ticket did I upload the file?"
We combine the use of Freelo for long-term and more strategic tasks, but also buffers that need to be handled in a matter of days or hours.
Companies that works in e-mail can also be included in Freelo. We found an intersection between a "traditional" approach and modern project management.
Essential is the above-mentioned dividention of projects, To-Do lists and tasks. It is possible that the project manager will have to try two variants to find out which is more suitable for the company's flow.
Definitely the ability to invite users to individual To-Do lists.
Management of common projects is a matter of course. We can find everything we need there.
We also have an established To-Do list, in which we deal with yacht orders for individual tours - communication with external partners is already taking place here, who fill our tickets with offers and we then consult them. We've always gotten lost in emails in the past.
We also use Freelo for strategic planning and in one of our projects we have created a timeline of tasks until the next season, so that we have a "top-down" view of what needs to be done and what tasks need to be created so that we do not forget anything.
The only feature we miss is Gant, but we hope to see it soon. 😀