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Help with English emails
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:03 am    Post subject: Help with English emails Reply with quote

This is a bit of a stupid question but having been absent from the UK for a long time I just want some guidance on what is best to use when addressing guests using email. Is it "hello", "hi", or "Dear" so-ands-so now? I get more and more emails starting 'Dear lavache!' and was wondering if it was better and more polite to use that instead of 'hi' which is what I've always used. Or doesn't it matter?
Thanks!
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Nemo



Joined: 14 Aug 2008
Posts: 7030
Location: Norfolk

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For my email template and all contact through PIMS, I always address them Dear and then by their first name.

If I enter email dialogue out of PIMS, just random questions etc, then I often use hi as that is how they usually address me.
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FelicityA



Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 2803
Location: Cotswolds

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends entirely on how you like to do it. You can usually get a feel for what someone is like at the other end and use appropriate wording if you want to mirror their style. I always use 'Dear X' (sometimes their first name, sometimes with a title because they have indicated that is how they are addressed) because I am of the older generation and most of my bookers are too. I think this is the most polite way. I find Hi too casual (and it is an import, isn't it!?). When I am texting, I probably don't put anything before launching into the message, which will usually be a reply to someone anyway as I hardly ever text myself (no signal from my house).
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Marks



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 2797
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear to the initial enquiry. Hi to subsequent emails. Lucky if I get any such courtesy in return Sad
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5975
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Normally Dear so-and-so which may become Hello or even Hi on non-standard emails as things develop (additional Qs or something) depending on the guest's lead really.
Dear so-and-so may appear a little formal to some, but it's extremely unlikely to offend anyone. As a first contact, I generally avoid Hi, and definitely Hi there!
Thinking about it, if I email a business for information I usually start with Hello, and probably get more Dear so-and-so replies than anything else. The one thing that makes me reach for the enamel bucket is someone who "Really wants to reach out to me". (Looks for vomit emoticon, can't find one handy).
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou for your comments everyone. I'm finding that more and more people are using 'dear' and I quite like it. GB, don't worry, I'd never use 'hi there' even for repeat guests, but even 'hi' sounds a little too informal sometimes. I didn't want 'Dear' to sound patronising, but it doesn't sound as though it is the case.
Marks - there is nothing worse than getting an enquiry with no greeting at all (except for those with the words 'best' and 'price' somewhere in the text of course Wink )
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Marks



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 2797
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
Looks for vomit emoticon, can't find one handy.



la vache! wrote:
Marks - there is nothing worse than getting an enquiry with no greeting at all (except for those with the words 'best' and 'price' somewhere in the text of course Wink )

Sometimes the only words are 'best price' Twisted Evil
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KathyG



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3224
Location: Le Faou, Brittany

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Dear and first name (if I can work out which one is the christian name Rolling Eyes ) to the initial enquiry, then usually Hi unless I know it's grandad who's doing the communicating. I think the over 70s prefer Dear.
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Normandie



Joined: 06 Jun 2006
Posts: 1670
Location: France - southern Manche (50)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Default response for me is Hello <first-name>. If in doubt, that's the form I use.

I never use Hi. Too informal for what is essentially a business matter. The guest can use Hi but I don't. But I don't really like Dear either because that smacks of old-fashioned letters and email (imo) isn't.

But I may use Dear Mr / Mrs / Ms <Surname> if they've Dear Mrs Host-ed me, if they have signed off indicating they're a Mrs or Ms 'as in: Dear Mrs Host, Kind regards, Jemima Puddleduck (Mrs)

So depending on other factors, it's...

Hello Jemima

or

Hello Mrs Puddleduck

or

Dear Jemima or Dear Mrs Puddleduck

Laughing Indecisive, much?!

It's all down to mirroring their level of (in)formality though never to the informality of Hi.

I think it's probably better to be a little bit too formal than appear too casual. I'm a professional business owner and there's no harm in implying that. I do 'hi' good friends but that's personal, not business. Anyway, we all know of people (ourselves?) who're irked by cold calls asking 'is that Normandie? Hi, I'm Sally... from some call centre from hell...' etc when they are complete strangers and should have every expectation of retaining that status. Wink
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was really wondering what the general trends were in the UK now regarding business correspondence. I'm very out of touch with all that now so follow the lead of guests but wasn't sure to do with a first response. I know in France things are becoming less formal and I even call some French guests by their first names on email rather than M or Mme Machin/Truc/Bidule but I take the lead from them.
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Casscat



Joined: 05 Jul 2014
Posts: 2662
Location: Andalucía

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the enquiry begins with 'hi' and is informal in tone then I reply with 'Hi so-and-so (first name)'. If there is no salutation at all I just reply in kind - 'Thank you for your enquiry'. I don't generally use 'Dear Person' at all because these days internet/email correspondence is informal and too much formality is a bit quill pen in most circumstances. I think if it is a hotel you are running then the 'business' side of things might dictate formality, but for owner-managers of holiday accommodation the less stiffness of response the better I would have thought. However it's probably best to draw the line well before 'Yo bro! How's it hangin' dude?' Mr. Green.
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declanja



Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 508
Location: Nice France

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting thread. I'm not a "Hi" person in real life, I hate the way US culture is creeping in even here in the west of Ireland. However I have been using "Hi" in emails as I thought like many here that "Dear " was a bit old fashioned. Normandie's "Hello" seems a good compromise.

Don't get me started on "see you later" which has become the standard goodbye everywhere, even from airport staff as we leave the country!
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Fifi



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 359
Location: Vosges Mountains

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually start with a cheery good morning/afternoon/evening, bonjour/bonsoir, Guten Tag/Abend etc etc.

I think Hi is a bit informal, Dear Mrs Merkel a bit too formal for email, and no greeting at all downright rude. And it solves the problem of Christian Colin - are you Mr Christian or Mr Colin???

I did receive one enquiry - "owner, available, discount?" To which my reply should have been "chancer, yes, no" but I was too chicken ......
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Jimbo



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 3581
Location: Charente Maritime

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's one of those areas where the posts keep shifting. I'm a wary Dear/Hello when I'm feeling my way, but try to progress to first names as soon as it seems appropriate (not keen on that master/servant stuff). But some people are stiffly formal and must be treated with kid gloves.

Normandie's "It's all down to mirroring their level of (in)formality" is spot on, I think.
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French Cricket



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: French Pyrénées

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I confess to being a hi, and occasionally hello, type person.

I'm the antithesis of formal and so I simply talk to people in emails as I would in real life. I always use first names - sorry, but I simply can't be doing with titles (never use one myself!) - and 'dear' is just archaic and only really suitable for very formal business letters. I guess the bottom line is that if people don't like my approach, they won't like me or our place, and what I'm doing when I'm talking to prospective guests by email is seeing whether we're compatible!

Works for me ...
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