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Importing Contact Data Into Tern
How to create an Import ID for your contact import
How to create an Import ID for your contact import

This will walk you through the process of creating an import ID to include with your Tern files.

David Shull avatar
Written by David Shull
Updated over a week ago

At Tern Travel, we understand the importance of efficiently managing customer data, especially when it comes to integrating information like loyalty programs. This guide will walk you through the process of creating an import ID, an essential component for organizing and updating customer records.

What is an Contact / Import ID?

An import ID is a unique identifier used to link customer data, such as loyalty programs, to individual profiles. It serves as a reference point for future data imports and updates.

Why do I need one?

Imagine you have two families with kids named Sally Smith. Since they are both children neither has an email address. You know they are two different people associated with different families but Tern has no way of knowing this. We need a way to distinguish one from the other. By making up a unique identifier Tern can use that to understand who is who.

Once you've told Tern that you want to identify this person with this identifier Tern can use it to find and and update the record on your behalf.

Steps to Create an Contact / Import ID

Preparing Your Data File

Start with Your Data File: Use a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets. Ensure that your data, like addresses and loyalty programs, are well-organized in columns.

Adding the Import ID Column

  1. Insert a New Column: In your spreadsheet, right-click on a column header and select 'Insert' to add a new column. This can be placed anywhere, but placing it near key information is beneficial for easy reference.

  2. Label the Column: Name this new column as 'Import ID'. The name is flexible, but it should be identifiable for importing purposes.

Generating Unique IDs

  1. Create Unique Identifiers: Assign a unique identifier for each entry. For example, use initials and a sequence number (e.g., DS1, DS2 for David's contacts).

  2. Auto-Increment for Efficiency: Utilize the auto-increment feature in your spreadsheet program. Input the first few IDs manually, then drag the fill handle down to automatically generate a sequence.

Finalizing and Using Import IDs

  1. Save Your File: After assigning an import ID to each row, save your file. These IDs will now act as unique identifiers for each record.

  2. Utilize Import IDs for Updates: In the future, you can update customer profiles using these import IDs. For instance, if you receive a new email for a contact, reference the import ID to ensure the correct profile is updated.

Tips for Effective Use

  • Keep a Record: Maintain a record of import IDs for future reference.

  • Consistency is Key: Be consistent in the format of your import IDs for easy recognition and management.


Creating and using import IDs is a straightforward yet powerful way to manage and update customer data in Tern Travel’s systems. By following these steps, you can ensure a more organized and efficient data management process.

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