Best practices for letting clients know you’ll be away

Best practices for letting clients know you’ll be away

It’s a tricky business, this independent travel advisor world.

One of the keys to your success is being available when your clients are – which is, well, always.

And as you know, that can be after hours Mon-Fri because of their work schedule, an evening/weekend appointment to get the family together, or on the ‘discovery’ call with a potential new client (see my Sphere article on the discovery calls here).

But what about your dream vacation, or just some much needed time off? What happens when you want to step away from your work for a few days – or longer?

Since it’s all about communication, telling clients that you’ll be away weeks in advance is not unrealistic. For example, starting now if you’re planning to ‘shut down’ over the coming Christmas and holiday season. As soon as you know the dates, you can communicate this in your email signature, your newsletters, web site and social media. The message might read: ‘Please note I will be on vacation the week of December 26 and look forward to responding the week of January 2, 2023. Happy Holidays!’

One solution to having your work covered during your absence is to set up a buddy system with another advisor, perhaps another independent or a staffer at your home agency. Their contact information can be added to your out-of-office message (‘If this is an emergency, please contact….’). Of course, when they are away you can provide the same service for them.

Another option is to commit to being available, say, two hours daily. That way you can still enjoy your vacation but reassure your clients you are not ‘abandoning’ them. Set specific hours and commit to them. We all know it’s easy to get sidetracked in our emails or with our clients.

As much as we’d all like to forget work during our time off, it’s not only realistic but is also good for your business that you review your emails and other communications during your absences.  After all, you are an independent travel advisor because you are an entrepreneur.

And the week between Christmas and New Year’s this year may find your clients on vacation too, dreaming of future trips. And while I don’t imagine they expect you to leap up from the middle of a family dinner to attend to their requests, it’s always good to reassure them that you are their travel advisor – and plan to stay that way!

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