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Travel is Worth the Wait

The waiting is the hardest part… or is it?

In most areas of life, waiting can be a drag. But in travel, waiting is often the best part.

Anticipation can be one of the most enjoyable parts of any journey. Sure, you’ll have fun while you’re on a trip, and you’ll have fond memories long after you return. But anticipating a trip brings its own kind of joy. And building up the anticipation in advance of a departure can actually help people enjoy travel more.

You can help create a sense of anticipation among your travelers by intentionally communicating with them between their booking and departure. Here are some ways to build anticipation through messaging.

Preview some highlights

Your travelers probably know the headlines of their trip itinerary, but in the weeks and months before departure, you can send them previews of expected trip highlights. These don’t have to be complicated. A preview could be a short email with a picture of the Grand Canyon and a note saying, “Just 50 days until you see this view for yourself!” Other options? Send links to recipes for signature dishes from the places you’ll be visiting or a testimonial about one of the places you’re going from someone who has been there before.

Tease some surprises

Including surprise treats or unexpected experiences is a great way to thrill your travelers and increase the perceived value of your travel programs. If you plan to have some surprises for your travelers, ratchet up the anticipation by teasing them in advance. Send an email with a subject line like “You won’t believe where we’re having dinner in New Orleans” and include a photo you snapped on your last visit to that restaurant. Or say, “Leave room in your suitcase — you’re going to love some of the souvenirs we have planned for you.”

Outline some options

Free time and optional activities are extremely popular on group tours right now. If you plan to include some free time or optional extras on an upcoming trip, consider sharing some of those details ahead of time so your travelers can start thinking about what they’ll do. These messages could be along the lines of “We’ll have a free afternoon in Santa Fe — here’s a list of some of our favorite art galleries in town” or “On our Alaska tour, you’ll have the option to take a helicopter flight to a glacier — click to learn more and see pricing.”

Start some conversations

Meeting people and sharing experiences are among the most memorable and valued aspects of group travel, and you should accentuate that element of your tours. If you use group communication during a trip —a Facebook group, a GroupMe or WhatsApp thread or messaging in a travel app — consider getting the conversation going a week or two before the trip.  Invite people to introduce themselves and share what parts of the tour they’re looking forward to most.

Mix some of these ideas with your favorite email automation tools to create a communications campaign. It will keep your travelers engaged in the months before a trip and maximize their enjoyment when departure day arrives.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.