Benefits of Attending Fam Trips for Travel Agents
If you are reading this, chances are, either you are planning for a fam trip or have already been a part of it. As per the definition, ‘A familiarization trip is a low-cost trip or tour offered to travel agents by a supplier or group of suppliers to familiarize the agents with their destination and services’.
Although over the years the fam trip genotype has changed dramatically, the root structure remains the same. Consisting of a cross section of travel professionals, the trips are generally of small schedules and have the sole purpose of seeking more business to the certain destination. For a tourist board or tour agent, fam trips require time, money, connections and more. But they’re also one of the key aspects of destination marketing.
How Fam Trips help Travel Agents
Better Destination Knowledge
The main idea behind any fam trip is to provide a podium for travel professionals where they can get first-hand experience and offer a better value-based service to their clients. This client-travel agent-customer relationship is fettered majorly with what they call ‘good words’. For travel agents, attending a fam trip will expose them to the pros and cons of the places where they will in future send their customers to. It is conducive for the travel agency business reputation when an agent can confidently refer or deter their client to or from any destination. By attending fam tips, travel agents can get the real picture of the place, event or service they are marketing.
Exchanging business cards would definitely be done in the first part of the 5-7 days fam trip schedule, lo and behold, you will come back to see a much wider network after the trip. Not just the industry suppliers but also this can be a dais for familiarizing with fellow travel agents. A network of professionals in the same line of work consequentially helps to proliferate the agency’s business. While what might sound like a vapid recommendation through the social media networks, word-of-mouth still holds much sense and value to create potential referrals. So building travel networks is definitely a discursive option result of fam trips.
As a travel agent, first-hand knowledge and experience are key aspects you need to focus on. Customers tend to trust those who can market destinations and travel services through personal travel stories and that is quite impossible if one has not travelled to that place themselves. No matter how grandiose the arrangements might be, if it fails to dispel the customer’s hairsplitting choices, it will not be a successful story.
Fam trips are also great tools for promoting your business. Marketing and branding of your business can be done at the most personal level in a familiarizing trip. Take the best snaps possible; share your unique experience over the travel blogs, Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels to reach as many followers as you can!
Some more reasons for attending fam trip
Site inspections are also a part of the fam trip. For cruise travel agents and vendors, they can opt for a walk aboard the cruise and inspect the cabins and other related coupes and amenities. Same is available for accommodation services. In fact, fam trips are the best ways for the travel entrepreneurs to undergo destination and vendor training. As the common saying goes, the more a tour agent travels, the more knowledgeable they get to become.
Some destinations are banal choices for the luxury travelers or corporate travelers. You can offer alternate options once you are confident about the destination you are approaching. The niche tourism sector is definitely a vulnerable option and the only way to use it as a safe bet if you have traveled to the place yourself. The sense of bucolic beauty might be different for different people but if you can segregate your travelers into niche segments, it would be easier and more effective to market your travel services or destinations to specific demographics.
Post the fam trip, it is necessary to document the experience in a manner that your fellow agency members who did not attend the trip can also use the stories and skills to attract clients. Create a smart presentation while including some behind-the-scenes snapshots to make it look more vibrant.
Essential tips for a Fam Trip
- It’s wise to create a FAM tour handbook to provide a rough idea of how the trip would be Arrange the tour time depending on the FAM trip members. For instance, if it is for an educational tour, it is likely to arrange it during a fun event season which is not the case for a business travel trip
- Be clear about the transport, accommodation and dietary choices
- Keep updating the social media pages to provide followers a peek into your experience
- If you as a travel agent are arranging a fam trip, here is what the basic needs of any traveler would be:
- For most travelers, it will be the first time they would be visiting the place so they would prefer to go with the flow
- Female travelers will expect at least one female guide or agent to be on the trip
- Be transparent what percent of the trip is sponsored and where the guests need to pay on their own
- Travelers, particularly millennials, love to share their experience on social media, so to avoid any negative publicity on Facebook, give your guests a feedback form on your website to share their feedback, if any.
Fam trips not just for the travel agents. Meeting planners and organizers should also get into the proclivity of attending fam trips. In fact, hospitality sector, aviation industry, cruise lines arrange the fam trips for the travel agents so that they can bring in the full panoply of tourists to their service. So, what in broader sketches might look like a free vacation actually involves a grand process of business building.