Let’s face it, the main highlight of working in the travel industry is the opportunity to travel. In order to really sell a product, one must experience the product. Thus the FAM (or familiarisation) trip was born. While these trips are a fantastic way to get out of the office, don’t forget there is still an element of work involved. You were chosen to take part for a reason and will be expected to deliver in some way upon your return.
Make sure you’re ready to go with our useful tips on how to prepare for a FAM trip.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Though you may spend your days preaching to others about the practicalities of travel, it is very easy to forget the simple things when it comes to travelling yourself. It’s also very easy to get caught up in the excitement of heading away yourself or to take things for granted, such as an in-date passport. Always make sure your passport is up-to-date and valid for at least six months after your trip. For some countries this is a requirement upon entry. You should also look into any travel vaccinations that you may require for your trip, as these generally won’t be covered by the organisers.
Before you embark on your FAM trip, always introduce yourself to the organiser. Not only is it polite and will get you started off on a nice note but they will also be able to answer any questions that you may have. Yes, they are hosting this trip in the hope that you will be able to increase sales for them on the particular route, destination, hotel, etc. but remember they are going out of their way to put together the best itinerary possible for you. If possible, also get the contact info for your fellow attendees. You’ll be living in close quarters with them for the duration of your trip. First impressions can go a long way to building longer lasting relationships.
Read up on the destination
Chances are the trip will be relatively short – a whistle-stop tour of the highlights that the area has to offer. You’re always best to do your research beforehand so you’re ahead of the game when you get there and not struggling to keep up. It will also make your visits more enjoyable and beneficial as you’ll know the key points to look out for or any hidden gems that there may be.
Research social media handles/hashtags
The main reasoning behind the trip is, essentially, promotion. While you’re away you should utilize any social media channels that you have at your disposal – both personal and business – and document your trip online. Not only will the organisers love the coverage but all your pals back at home will be seething with jealousy! Research the relevant hashtags and handles of the organisers, hotels, tourist boards, attractions etc. to save yourself time and hassle while away, and to also give back to those who you are being hosted by.
Set out a plan
Always embark on a FAM trip with an objective. From your business point of view, look at how the items on the itinerary best appeal to your clients and outline which selling points will work best. If you go into the trip thinking “This will make a great blog post” or “It would be great to have some high resolution images to use online” then you can focus on that while you’re away. That way, you’re not back in your office a week later regretting something that you didn’t do. Take as many photos and videos as you can – you’ll never know what could crop up later on and you’ll be kicking yourself.
Pack the essentials
This is definitely not the time to be packing the kitchen sink. Pack light and pack well. Chances are you’ll be moving location each day and lugging a giant suitcase on and off planes, trains and automobiles is not fun. Read your itinerary beforehand and pack accordingly. The number one item is comfortable footwear. You will likely have the legs walked off you over the course of the trip so a decent pair of walking shoes is key. Also, a battery pack for your phone will always come in handy as well as sun-cream and a copy of your itinerary saved to your phone.
ALWAYS follow-up with your hosts. You may need them again down the line, they’ll be able to assist you with any follow-up questions and it’s just plain polite. After all, it’s nice to be nice! ?
Did you know we also assist with planning FAM trips? If you would like to know more then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!