They say, “there is no such thing as a stupid question.” And if you are a retreat planner, sometimes the questions can get frustrating because you are so familiar with the answers. But if guests are constantly asking, then you may want to reevaluate the information you are giving out. Retreats, camps and events are a big deal with many different pieces. Some people (like me) like to know all of the answers well before they leave home.
A good place to start is having a FAQ sheet available. This could be on your website, in a confirmation email or handed out to each participant. Answer questions like, “Can I check in early?” and “Do I need to bring my own bedding?”. Anything that you have been asked multiple times in the past should be on this list. After all, it is “frequently” asked questions. Make sure to check with the venue to see if they have their own list or any other additional resources, such as specific directions.
Secondly, try to make sure you provide as much information as possible on your promo materials. The key ingredients being “what, when, where and how much”. Guests should already know dates, location and cost before they ever get to the point of signing up. It may seem simple, but those closest to the event can easily overlook these minor details.
Aside from having as many answers as possible already out there in your promo materials, it is important to encourage the asking of questions. Create a forum on your website or Facebook event page that promotes questions. Make sure to have someone consistently monitoring so that answers can be posted promptly. The best part about these public places is that others can see and find out answers to questions they may have had themselves. Plus, previous guests can share their own tips. On the private side of things, you could list a contact email address for questions to be submitted. The downside to this is that others cannot see the answer. However, you could always add a post or send out an email that looks like a “reminder” with the information on it.
Include a packing (and “not to pack”) list. One of the first questions always asked about events is “What do I need to pack?”. Which make sense considering they will be away from home a few days. You never know what you might need. On the other side of the coin, it can be just as important to list things that are either not allowed or not necessary. For example, if there is no camp store and everything was included in the initial price, kids should be told not to bring additional money. Likewise, if electronics are not allowed, be sure to list that so there are no cell phones brought (and potentially lost). People need to know just as much what they need as they do what they don’t.
Questions can sometimes get frustrating or bothersome, but it is important to ask. This saves a lot of headache at the event.