Tour Routing Software To Help Bands Book Tours?

Is there routing software that could help bands book tours?

This is a question we've been seeing you ask pretty often lately. Here is an unedited response to this question a friend Johnathan asked on social media that came up in our feed. And by unedited we mean "poorly written."

Johnathan: Is there routing software that could help bands book tours? Or anybody that needs to plan a route? Gotta be some program that uses a calendar, a map, and a database of all available venues.

Yeah, so it sounds like you're looking for organization with resources like maps (for routing) incorporated. We use a mix right now for our process, which is far from perfect.

Routing

For routing, we make the initial "dream" route once at the beginning then never reroute until a final route. Once we get anchor dates, we look at the route on a stop-by-stop basis and just make sure there's no drives over 8 hours. Shooting for 2-4 hours each day. 8 Hours is less safe (not to mention unpleasant), so only if really necessary. We do this in maps. Star the places you confirm dates in so next time around you can pull up your google map and see all the places you already have relatyionships in.

Blue Trello logo and typeface

Trello for Tour Booking

For keeping track of reaching out and following up, we use Trello. With Trello you can keep track of each date and the leads you get from each reach out. As places pass or say date not available, you can reference those in Trello to ask for other contacts in the area or different dates that end up making sense later as the route changes. The plus about Trello is that you can incorporate the calendar feature which is great for staying on top of your follow-ups. And make no mistake about it, following up is key.

Tour Booking Contacts Organization with Google

For our contacts database we use Google sheets because it is basic Excel style spreadsheets (charts and columns and rows) that are easy for everyone to read and label. You can make notes right into your contacts based on the feedback you get. And even schedule all your reach outs and follow-ups right in the spreadsheet(s). You can list all the contacts for each state you're trying to play by copying them from DIYT™ and sending out emails and recording what happens.

Google sheets logo

A Major Key for Getting Tour Gigs Booked

Not so much to the point of the original question but I feel very compelled to mention: "Nos" aren't nos, they are "not this time" or "not that date." They are also "Well then can you recommend somewhere/someone in the area we can try?" which is better than scraping random venues off the internet. Anoher thing equally as important as that is that unresponsive emails are not "nos." They are to be followed up on politely because these people booking and juggling schedules are super busy. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

As far as an all inclusive, there is some softwares out there with the intent to do what you're looking for, but the ones we've investigated are mostly very incomplete. Most seem they got some early stage seed funding to build, but they couldn't find out how to monetize early so they give up after the first few iterations.

The key for us has been using what works, and trying to eliminate overlap of each software's function so that there is as little time wasted copy and pasting, which is where mistakes/laziness/incompleteness happens. If you want to build your own thing, I recommend doing it in one Google Sheet with carefully organized pages. One for routing/budget/drive time, one for contacts with notes, and one for task list to help keep you on track and schedule reach outs and follow-ups.

Final Thoughts on DIY Tour Booking Software

I think one of the main reasons there is no software around that does what you say is because Trello and G Suite are so good at multi-member collaboration. It's too easy to have everyone on the same page with these that it's hard to add value building something that complex with a start-up or small venture budget form a large org more interested in their current bread and butter.

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