In the tourism industry, a Fam trip is one of the biggest sales opportunities. As a tour operator, you have the potential to put your destination and your business on the map. The main aim of a Fam trip is to network, build relationships and to personally promote your tourism products.
Fam is short for Familiarisation. A Fam trip is a complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for travel agents, tour operators and travel media. It’s designed to familiarise themselves with a specific destination or business. All this to experience the tourism product first-hand and to stimulate sale of travel.
Many destinations and tourism experiences are fantastic, but if the Fam trip experience is weak, the entire destination and experience will appear weak in the eyes of your guests. Always keep in mind that your Fam trip guests are well travelled, have high expectations and are requesting good hospitality. It will not be their first Fam trip. The Fam trip is your time to be memorable, so make sure to make a positive impression!
To find out what makes the perfect Fam trip, we have conducted a survey with key industry leaders. We have found the top three things that are game changers in your fam trip experience.
The number one answer our surveyed leaders saw as a changemaker in a Fam trip is the “Who?”. Meaning who is conducting the Fam trip and can this person deliver and create real connections? Can they read verbal and non-verbal cues? Can they invoke excitement curiosity adding value to the overall experience?
"I felt the Fam trip was about me” - someone shared. Displaying your destination and tourism products is first priority, but should it be? This may sound strange, but your top priority should be building a connection with your Fam-guests. Only then you will be able to fully connect them to your destination and tourism products. Only then are you able to show its uniqueness and its potential!
When developing your Fam trip, ask yourself the following questions:
Personally, I have travelled to many destinations. Many places stand out, but some places piqued my curiosity! When I was in Guatemala visiting a Mayan site, I looked down to the ground and saw an object wondering what it was. I thought: What’s that? What’s inside?
The guide quickly noticed my curiosity and picked up the nut, and asked: "Claudine, do you know what's inside?" I replied, "some sort of nut?" He then shared that it was an almond. "Let's see what's inside.", he said. He took a rock and hit the nut 3 times. He then said: “take a look”. He gave me the nut and asked me to open it up carefully. And there it was, an almond. My almond which I got to see, touch, smell, and taste. It was a full moment of discovery, and this story stays with me!
My curiosity was sparked, and I learned something new and delicious. What’s an everyday moment for you is a unique experience for a visitor. Always stay connected, looking for any opportunity to add value. Invoking moments of curiosity and surprise. You want your Fam-guests to be excited and share their experience passionately with their clients, your potential customers!
What will you do differently to stand out and be remembered? My best example of a destination standing out is Grenada, an island in the Caribbean Sea. Having travelled extensively, I will never forget the way Grenadian culture and people stood out. I was invited to a local home to join in a traditional local meal called an “oil down”. A meal prepared with care with ingredients from their own garden. It was hands down the most epic dish around.
The experience was not just going to a home and eating a traditional meal. It was a discovery. An insight to their family, culture and lifestyle. For that time, I became part of the family and the island. Every single part of this experience drew me closer to the local culture. Creating a strong bond not only to the family and the experience, but to the destination. Grenada stood out!
In times of Covid-19, physical Fam trips have been cancelled until further notice. As alternative, the Virtual Fam trip gained more interest. Virtual Fam trips allow invitees to learn more about the destination from their own homes via video. It’s a great temporary alternative for an actual Fam trip. It allows tour operators and destinations to stay in touch with their re-sellers while receiving feedback on their tourism products.
1. Bring the experience alive. You are behind a screen so the body language, the smile and the experience needs to be a bit more animated!
2. Communicate in an inclusive manner. Say things like “We are going to the museum” instead of ‘I will show you the museum”. Key words can make someone feel part of the journey, as if they are there with you!
3. Study your audience. Know what they like, dislike and what their interests are. Doing your homework will help you connect better!
Decide what kind of Fam trip you want to host and don’t forget the three game changers. Keep looking for opportunities to put your destination on the map and get ready. Before your next Fam trip, remember to focus on personal connections, creating curiosity and to stand out!