"FAM trips are not a personal vacation," notes Lorene Romero, founder of Sharp Tongued Consulting. Suppliers invest huge amounts of money, time and work into educating travel professionals on their destinations through FAM trips—and they are excellent opportunities to build itineraries and help sell tours.
In short: FAM trips are work trips.
Here's how to make the most of them.
Prepare for FAM trips as you would prepare for any travel, notes Romero. Pay attention to the weather forecast and itinerary so you're not overdressed or underdressed. Research attractions you'll be visiting so you know the logistics and etiquette—and can make sure you get the information and contacts you need while you're there.
Go off the beaten track.
Romero notes her clients like supporting local businesses, so she intentionally finds suppliers who are off-the-beaten track. If your FAM itinerary includes free time, consider scoping out some cool attractions, accommodations and other experiences your clients might be interested in.
Bring your business card.
FAM trips are excellent opportunities to meet different suppliers like hotel operators, tour operators and more. Engage with suppliers on a professional level and exchange business cards for future contact.
Think: mutually beneficial.
Make connections with suppliers and get a good idea on how your relationship could mutually benefit one another—ask what type of client or customer they hope to target.
"Be kind to one another," Romero said.
Don't just enter your contacts' information into your database. Follow-up with your contacts once you return from the trip, and stay connected with them. Social media platforms, like LinkedIn, are excellent means for keeping in touch.
"While I'm there, I'm taking pictures. I try to make it fun and take pictures of local things. Goofy things. So people can actually see it and experience it," Romero said. She uses the photos she took on the FAM trip to create marketing content, such as slideshows.
"It's really about storytelling. Taking the experience you've been given, the gift you've been given on the FAM, and turning it into a marketing tool to help support the supplier and you."
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.