Tripit tips for Microsoft Outlook


Tripit is an online system for managing your travel which includes live updates on flight information, seat assignments and other goodies.  Here’s how you can make Outlook work better with Tripit, or similar systems.

Peter finally tried Tripit after his friend, Phil, reminded him about the service for the umpteenth time!  Now Peter is a constant user because Tripit provides travel details not available via Outlook.  It’s also much better than the paltry ‘tick the feature box’ offering from Microsoft Office 365.

There are various ways you can tweak Outlook to make working with Tripit easier:

  • Quick forwarding of booking emails to Tripit.
  • Auto processing of Tripit responses to booking additions.

Tripit isn’t involved in this piece in any way; they’ll be as surprised as anyone when they read it.  There’s no money or consideration in exchange for this article. As you read on, you’ll see we’re a little tough on Tripit, especially one feature that we’d never use.

Forwarding booking emails

The fastest way to add trip details (flights, hotel bookings etc) is to forward confirmation emails to their system.  Tripit can parse out of the email text all the relevant information, grab other details from the internet and add the item to your itinerary.  It works well for the major airlines, hotels and travel

You forward confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com.  Your senders email lets Tripit know which account to add the booking to.  Then it reads the email to figure out the details.  If it can, Tripit responds with a ‘success’ email.  If the booking email can’t be understood, you get back a ‘problem’ or failure email.  Either way, you’ll usually get a response way under a minute.

Manually forwarding each relevant email can be speeded up using Outlook’s Quick Steps.  It turns the whole thing into a single click process.

Make a new Quick Step from Quick Steps | New Quick Step | Forward to …

Then complete the Edit Quick Step box so it looks like this:

  • Name: ‘Tripit’ of whatever label suits you.
  • Action: Forward
  • To: plans@tripit.com
  • Leave the other fields unchanged.

Now you have a new quick step.

Try it out by selecting a booking confirmation then clicking the quick step.

A forwarded email appears, check the recipients address then click Send.

Note: Tripit’s system doesn’t seem to read attachments, only the body of the email.  It does no harm to include any attachments in the forwarded message.

Auto Send

Once you’re happy that the quick step is working properly, make the process a truly one-click affair.

Go back to Manage Quick Steps, choose the Tripit item then Edit.

Check the box ‘Automatically send after 1 minute delay’

Now the forwarded message won’t appear on your screen, it’ll go straight to the Outbox to be sent after 60 seconds!

Rules for returning messages

Each time you forward a booking to Tripit, their system responds with a confirmation email or notice of a problem (usually it’s unable to parse the email into an itinerary item).

Usually the success emails are just clutter and can be dumped immediately.

The failure emails should be brought to your attention so the item can be manually added to your Tripit itinerary.

Outlook Rules can automatically handle both situations for you.

Get examples

To create the rules, you need to see both a successful and failed responses, so you know what to add to a rule.  Here’s both a failure and success response from Tripit.

Getting a fail response is easy, just send a blank email to plans@tripit.com and wait a moment for the reply.  Your test message will appear in Tripit’s Unfiled Items area for deletion later.

Success Email

To make a rule for the ‘success’ email, go to Rules | Create Rule and make a new rule

With specific words in the senders address:

Using ‘specific words in’ with the email address is usually more reliable.  It will still work if the company changes the senders name.

With specific words in the body:

This could be any phrase in the body (or subject) that only appears when successful.  We chose the phrase shown above because relevant to what the rule is about.

The difficulty is that sending companies can and do change the wording of their emails.  We wish that they’d include some tag or phrase that won’t change and rule users can rely on.  For example: <Tripit: Itinerary Add SUCCESS>.

Action:

The action for the rule is up to you.  We use ‘Delete’ but you could move to another folder.

Failure / Problem

The rule for an unsuccessful itinerary addition is similar.

With specific words in the senders address:

Using ‘specific words in’ with the email address is usually more reliable.  It will still work if the company changes the senders name and seems to be more reliable, over time, than the direct ‘from ….’ Rule option.

With specific words in the subject or body:

The target phrase is only in the subject line but this ‘subject or body’ option is a useful addition to the rule options.

Action:

Choose whatever you like that will bring the problem to your attention.

Display …. In the New Item Alert window.

Pops up a message on your screen.  This might be too intrusive for your taste.

Flag Message

A simple Flag will appear on the message across all your devices, not just Outlook software.

Don’t do it!

Tripit has an Auto-Import option to automatically scan your online Inbox for new booking emails, then add them to your itinerary.   You give them your email login details and their servers regularly read your Inbox.

They sayThe Auto-Import feature is the easiest way to use TripIt!“.  It might be easier but services like Auto-Import are a privacy and security risk.

Office Watch doesn’t trust anyone with email login details and nor should you.  It’s not a reflection on Tripit but any system that has email account access is another potential security breach. The Microsoft Outlook apps for Apple/Android work the same way which is why we don’t recommend them either.  Most, if not all, companies would be horrified at work email being accessible in this way.

This automatic offering is only available to Yahoo, Google and Microsoft hosted accounts.  If Outlook.com is supported, why not other Exchange Server accounts including Office 365?


Want More?

Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office.  Delivered once a week.