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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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) 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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