Be an inbox hero: Email tips for travel planners
When communicating with your travelers (or potential travelers), sending courteous, clear, and effective emails can make all the difference in the success of your group travel program. It may seem trivial, but following certain email guidelines can foster trust in your organization, prevent misunderstandings, build camaraderie, generate excitement for your trip, and ensure travelers are well-prepared.
Before you hit send on your next message, consider these nine helpful tips:
1. Start with a stellar subject line
A vague or misleading subject line could cause your email to be overlooked, or worse, end up in someone’s spam filter. The subject line shouldn’t be too long (a good rule of thumb is fewer than 10 words or 60 characters), but it should provide enough details to convey the topic of your message at a glance. Compare these examples:
Bad: “Just checking in”
Better: “Flights to Iceland”
Best: “Hogwarts Alumni 2020 Iceland Trip –Flight Schedule”
2. Spell check and re-check your writing
Think about the last time you got a professional email riddled with typos—how did it affect your perception of the sender or their company? It’s fine to be casual in tone, but being too careless with spelling or grammar mistakes can make you look sloppy. Eagle-eyed readers may worry that this lack of attention to detail will carry over into your trip planning, and you could scare off potential travelers. After you’ve drafted your email, give it a once-over before sending.
3. Focus on the facts
Even more damaging than typos, however, are factual mistakes. Double check the accuracy of important details, including travel dates, prices, payment deadlines, airports, and necessary documents. Carelessness could become costly, for example, if a participant books their flights for the wrong day or if they miss the payment deadline because you transposed a number.
4. Get to the point
What’s the purpose of your email? Is it to invite potential travelers to join your trip? Is it to gather information from existing travelers, or share trip specifics? Avoid misunderstandings by stating key details clearly and setting appropriate expectations. Respect your recipients’ time by keeping your email concise. If you have lots to say, or your email has multiple purposes, consider breaking up one long email into several shorter, more focused emails, spread out over several weeks or months.
5. Use formatting to your advantage
If you absolutely must send a lot of information in one email, remember that long paragraphs can be difficult to read, especially on mobile devices. Break up long sections of text using bullet points or paragraph breaks. Use bold or highlighted text sparingly to call attention to the one or two most critical elements, like upcoming deadlines or mandatory requirements.
6. Strike the right tone
The tone of your email will depend, to a certain extent, on your audience and how well you know them. An email to a group of students or to people you’ve traveled with before will likely sound very different than an email to your organization’s donors or board of directors. Generally, you should be friendly yet professional, casual but not too informal, so as not to alienate your reader.
7. Respect others’ privacy
When sending emails to multiple recipients at once, be aware that not everyone will want their contact information shared with the rest of the group just yet. Respect their privacy and use the blind carbon copy (BCC) function to conceal your recipients’ email addresses. If travelers wish to share their email addresses later to stay in touch with the group, they can do so on an individual basis.
8. Reply on time
Don’t leave travelers hanging when they contact you with questions. Whenever possible, try to respond within 24 hours or one business day. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer, acknowledge their email and advise when you expect to have a response. Addressing questions or concerns in a timely manner shows that you’re responsive to your travelers’ needs and offers reassurance that you’ll be equally sensitive to any issues that arise in the field.
9. Build camaraderie pre-departure
If your trip is planned far in advance, it’s possible a traveler could sign up and then not hear anything for months at a time. Without going overboard, a few emails at regular intervals can help them stay engaged and build camaraderie. You might share an interesting article related to your destination, a timely reminder about obtaining travel documentation, or even just drop a note saying why you’re excited to share this experience with them.
By using email to your advantage, you can get your trip off on the right foot before it even departs, leading your travelers to feel supported and excited for the adventure that awaits them!