Alumni are a key component in the health of any higher education institution, as they are your most loyal supporters, providing word of mouth marketing, and they are also prospects for fundraising efforts. Therefore, it’s quite important to maintain positive relationships with alumni, as your alumni association, alumni relations office, or advancement office would attest to. If you don’t already have an alumni travel program, it’s worth considering as an additional way to reach out and strengthen your bond with them.
An alumni travel program can consist of one or several trips with itineraries that are crafted to appeal to your alumni and marketed directly to them. For international trips it’s a good idea to have a local guide that can usher your group around, speak the local language, make sure everyone catches their transfers and to answer any general questions or specific ones about the itinerary that might come up. However, it’s also common for a well-known alum or a professor of the institution to lead the group. You may have a popular professor of Greek history, for example, that could lead your group through Greece and provide commentary about the various site visits on the itinerary. If you choose to partner with a travel management company for crafting your alumni trips they can also offer escorts to accompany your travelers. Since connecting with alumni is one of the main purposes of these trips, it’s always a good idea to set aside a few meals where your travelers can gather together, relax and enjoy conversing with each other. You’ll also want to make sure you have some marketing giveaways for your travelers with your higher education branding on them, as these end up being great marketing pieces for the program. It’s very important that you cover all of your bases, as a poorly crafted trip can reflect badly on your school and also sour relationships with those traveling alumni. However, when done correctly, you’ve built an even stronger relationship with your alumni and energized them to support you even more.
If you would like to learn more about establishing an alumni travel program or would like to add additional unique alumni trips to your already established program, please contact the higher education travel experts at Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.