Join Me And Things Will Go Smoothly
By Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM
Whether you’re planning a trip for a business meeting, incentive travel or a group of friends, you need to create “joining instructions” and send them to all attendees before it’s time to leave so they can join. If you don’t know what joining instructions are or what to put in them, use this guideline to get started.
Some details are necessary whether the group is traveling domestically or internationally. For instance:
- Weather conditions. Include expected average high and low temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
- Dress code with examples. Business casual means khakis to some and clean jeans to others.
- Home documents. Create something guests can leave behind that lists hotel information and your agenda, so caretakers know where guests are staying.
- Function ins and outs. Let everyone know which functions can include guests and/or children and which are employees only. If children are not invited, you must make that abundantly clear. Few things are more awkward than having an attendee bring their child to an adults-only program.
- Who pays for what. Which meals, functions, activities and transportation are at the company’s expense? Which must the attendee pay for? Traditionally, incidentals such as the mini-bar, dry cleaning, spa services and room service are self-pay. This varies from event to event, so confirm exactly what is and is not included in the program budget.
- Contact information. Who to reach out to if any traveling challenges occur.
- Photo of logo/signage. What attendees should look for upon arrival and where they should meet.
Other tips are particular to joining instructions for international travel:
- The time at the destination. Give an example. London is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). So if it’s noon in New York, it’s 5 p.m. in London. This changes based on daylight saving time.
- Phone instructions. List the country code you’ll be in, the country code to dial home and instructions on how to do so. Remind attendees that not all phones work internationally and that they should verify phone capabilities, rates and international plans before they leave.
- Currency. Confirm the currency of the country you’ll be in and the conversion rate. ($1 is worth £.60 British pounds, for example.)
- Credit cards. Many countries do not take American Express. Make sure guests know this.
- The type of electrical adapters needed. Show a photo of the adapter so there is no ambiguity. Include a link to a travel store where adapters can be purchased. (Some hotels now have Edison plugs, so ask if that is the case.) You may also need a step-down transformer. These let 110-volt item be used in 220-240 volt countries.
- A passport is now required for ALL international travel. If you’re traveling anywhere overseas, even to Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico, you need a passport to board an international flight and enter any country. In general, your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date you enter a foreign country.
Bottom line: The more you share in advance, the better the experience. Remember, people have all levels of travel expertise, so nothing is too basic to include. What is “a given” to you may be unknown to others. It’s our job to not only plan for our guests, but to alleviate any anxiety they may have and help the trip be hassle free.
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