By: Desmond Lomas
Designed to have the meeting planner experience in person the potential of a destination, familiarization trips, aka FAM trips, play a critical role in the site selection process. For a visual person like myself, it increases efficiency to determine if the destination is a fit and helps create long-term memories.
Here are five commandments to ensure you are never given the FAM-pire moniker:
- Thou Shalt Have Potential Business: The first question we ask ourselves before accepting any invitation is, “do I have foreseeable business for this destination?”. As much as I would like to go to Australia, right now I do not have clients considering this destination.
- Thou Shalt Be On Time: With reference to the point above, I try extra hard to be on time. Keeping a group on schedule is such a challenge and starting the day even ten minutes late causes a domino effect. (This point applies to hoteliers and hosts as well)
- Thou Shalt Give Notice: If you know that you are not able to physically do something that is planned – let your host know – in advance. This applies to food allergies as well. Give your host ample notice to make alternative arrangements.
- Thou Shalt Be Appreciative: From the time I arrive until departure, I know I am on someone else’s schedule. I know it is not time to visit my best friend from university OR another property who is not hosting the visit. Anything pre/post is on my own time and dime and while my host may accommodate – there is a limit to their generosity.
- Thou Shalt Give Feedback: Filling in the post-FAM survey gives bonus points! I’ve learned that the destination wants to know our feedback so they can design a winning visit to win the business AND impress the delegates. One thing is certain, word of mouth on how an organization enjoyed a destination ‘gets around’ in our community. Having the opportunity to fix ‘a detail’ can make a difference.