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The Highs and Lows of FAM Trips

June 26, 2017

Every meeting planner, whether they are an association, corporate or independent one, are offered a FAM sometime during the course of their career. Some have been on just a few, while others have been around the world. There are many advantages to taking a FAM, but destination organizations and venues need to be aware of some of the challenges and obstacles planners face when considering going on one.

This blog post will explain what a FAM is, as well as, the ups and downs of such a trip.

 

What is a Familiarization (FAM) Trip?

 

A FAM is usually a low-cost or no-cost tour offered by a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) or venue to a group of planners to familiarize them with a destination, its attractions and meeting venues.

 

FAM Trip Highs

 

All the logistics, costs and invitees are coordinated by the DMO or Venue.
The good news is all you have to do is drive or fly into the destination, board a bus and be a sponge about the area. The agenda is set and hopefully you are seated with like-minded meeting professionals.

There is very little cost to the planner.
Assuming the planner meets the destination’s guidelines, usually the airfare, ground transportation and hotel room is picked up by the DMO or venue.

The planner gets to view the destination from the attendee’s prospective.
When your event is in full force, you have very little time to do anything other than manage your event. You are busy working with speakers, sponsors, and hotel staff and sometimes the media. A FAM allows you to see the destination in a relaxed environment and actually walk the entire destination/venue and talk in-depth with individuals in the know.

 

FAM Trip Lows


With a packed agenda, sometimes venues and attractions are skipped or skimmed.
I have been on FAM trips where the group is running 2-3 hours behind leaving the venues at the end of the trip scrambling to readjust their tours. Besides being unfair to the later-in-the-day venues, it gives limited one-on-one time between the planner and the group sales coordinator.

There can be some abuse of by a small percentage of planners.
It is very important that the DMO or venue vet the potential planner to ensure they are just not going along for the ride. Although it doesn’t happen very often, be sure to ask potential planners to fill out a questionnaire and personally talk to them before extending an invite.

FAMS are competing against time, videos and peer reviews.
Even though there is nothing like being onsite, many planners must justify a visit to their management team. Often the time away from the office can be an obstacle, as well as, the argument that a site visit can be handled through a series of videos and photographs.

 

Planners Prepare: Typical Qualifying Questions You May be asked

 

Here are the types of questions you may be asked before a DMO or venue schedules a destination visit with you:

  • When do most of your meetings take place – on weekdays or weekends?
  • How many days are most of your meetings?
  • What type of meetings do you plan?
  • Approximately how many attendees come to your meetings?
  • Do you have a trade show component? If yes, how many exhibitors?
  • What is your average meeting budget?
  • What is the most important element of your meeting (i.e. meeting space, free parking, accessibility)
  • When would you like to visit this area and our venue?

 

How Kalahari Can Help

 

Whether it is to schedule a FAM trip or speak to one of our seasoned sales professionals, please contact Kalahari Resorts and Conferences at 855.411.4605 today! 

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