Done right, FAM trips for travel agents can become an unmatched business opportunity for hotels and a source of new bookings and business partners.
However, organizing the best FAM trips for travel agents is not easy: each detail counts in order to translate the experience into closed deals. Additionally, the possibility of hosting a virtual site inspection raises doubts about whether FAM trips are always the best option.
Throughout this article, we’ll share some tips for hosting successful FAM trips for travel agents as well as look at all potential alternatives.
What are FAM trips for travel agents?
In the world of travel management, FAM trips refer to ‘Familiarization trips’, a type of trip organized by hotels or tourist boards to give travel industry professionals (travel agents, tour operators, travel journalists…) a firsthand experience of a destination.
The aim is to allow attendees to get to know the destination or product so that they can better promote it. In order to do so, participants are usually provided with complimentary accommodations, meals, and transportation, as well as guided tours and access to attractions. As an exchange, they offer feedback and recommendations for these.
FAM trips: main benefits for travel agents
The main benefit is that they get first-hand experience of the destination and the products and services offered by the hotel. Because of that, they can be confident about the recommendations they make to their clients, and make better-informed decisions.
Additionally, it’s an opportunity for them to network with other industry professionals, as FAM trips for travel agents usually involve multiple attendees at once. As such, they can also acquire new contacts which may turn into interesting deals in the future.
How can Hotels benefit from FAM trips for travel agents?
Organizing FAM trips for travel agents is also typically a positive experience for hotels. First and foremost, they access an opportunity to increase exposure and bookings.
By hosting this type of event, hotels showcase their property, services, and amenities. This will often translate into positive reviews and recommendations from key players in the industry.
Additionally, FAM trips can help build quality, lasting relationships with travel agents and lead to long-term partnerships. These may refer to business and deals in the future, acting as advocates that recommend the hotel thanks to a positive first-hand experience.
Finally, hosting a FAM trip can also become a valuable source of feedback, so that hotels may access information to improve their offerings and services.
Successful FAM trips have included those organized by Four Seasons Resorts or the Park Hyatt at St. Kitts, all of which ended up boosting the hotel’s bookings.
Tips for Hosting a Successful FAM Trip
Planning and organization stand at the heart of hosting a successful FAM trip. This allows for maximizing the time of both hosts and attendees and ensures a seamless experience that sets the foundation for a positive experience.
As part of the organization, it’s useful to create an itinerary and schedule of activities. It’s also advisable to set clear expectations for attendees for what will be included in the trip, in order to avoid misunderstandings or disappointments.
Additionally, hotels looking to generate an outstanding and memorable experience should also aim at personalizing the tour to the interests and needs of participants. This can be done by researching their interests in advance. It’s also advisable to guarantee there’s time for informal meetings to build relationships. Generating a feeling of exclusivity for attendees will also work wonders in their overall experience.
Offering a virtual site inspection might also be a suitable choice for many: while some travel agents may thrive in on-site experiences, others may prefer the more convenient option of virtual tours. The truth is FAM trips for travel agents are a time-intensive activity that might not suit all industry professionals. In this case, virtual tours can help them make the most of their time while also guaranteeing hotels can showcase their amenities in the best possible manner.
In fact, a virtual site inspection can open the door to generating a more personalized, flexible experience, as they can be saved for future reference. This, in turn, is often a source of increased exposure and potential bookings for hotels, which can offer virtual tours for an extended number of travel professionals.
First View represents a new generation of 3D, 360°, and Virtual Reality content for virtual tours. Through the use of cutting-edge visual technology, hotels can offer travel agents an immersive virtual site inspection that creates a real feeling of all the premises and facilities the hotel has to offer.
How to Follow Up After the FAM Trip
The opportunities created at the FAM trip for travel agents don’t stop after the attendees leave: hotels must make an effort to follow up with travel agents in order to build a lasting relationship that translates into continued recommendations and deals.
There are different ways in which hotels can do this:
- Generate a “thank you” message to show you value their time and interest in the hotel by participating in the trip.
- Stay connected on social media or other platforms.
- Address any potential feedback or comments that might have arisen during the trip
- Offer additional information about your services or premises.
- Provide exclusive offers for attendees.
- Sending a virtual site inspection can be a good way to stay in touch, in case the hotel has dealt with travel agents who prefer on-site inspections. In fact, this resource can be particularly valuable as agents can keep it for future reference and help them make informed decisions in the future.
All in all, hosting successful FAM trips for travel agents represents a demanding task for hotels that, done right, will typically translate into increased bookings.
On the other hand, offering a virtual site inspection can multiply the effects of these trips. Hotels can provide this resource for more agents, who will benefit from its convenience and the capacity of high-quality, immersive visuals to generate a memorable experience.
Find out firsthand about the benefits of virtual tours by requesting a demo of First View.