Fam trips, otherwise called famils or educationals are often seen by those outside the industry as a “free jolly” and indeed a few of them are but they are and should be far more likely to be a very full on and exhausting experience packing in as much as is humanly possible and a bit more into as short a time as possible. For instance I have been to Hong Kong and Namibia for just 3 nights and recently Slovenia for a day and a half but although exhausting it really does help us to have a true and deep understanding of the destination rather than just a few pictures and a brochure description which can look very glamorous and colourful but doesn’t tell us very much about the destination. To be honest it is good to have a balance of a true educational experience with just enough free time to explore ourselves. I personally try to apply for the ones I haven’t been to or only very briefly and want to understand the destinations better in order to be able to sell them to the right customers.
Having knowledge of the entire world even for the most experienced of us is impossible but the better the knowledge we have of a broad spectrum of destinations it helps us to make comparisons between possible destinations and to think outside the box offer possible alternatives and new and different ideas for a curious public so it is beneficial in that way too hence my recent trip to Slovenia which has so much to offer as a destination.
This is in response to a Linked In article from the perspective of a local ground handler or DMC (Destination Management Company) and it was indeed interesting to read that side of the story.
1. There are many destinations that I sell that I haven’t been to for sure but I still feel that I need to see the destinations to understand them better. What does it feel like? What are the best areas to consider when selling a destination? How well do they speak English? How easy is it to walk around? Do I feel safe? Are the people friendly? How good is the service? What does the food taste like and how well do they cater for vegetarians and special diets? Could I recommend the market or the shopping? How do they cater for the disabled? How busy is the traffic? How long does it take to get from A to B? What tours and experiences should I recommend? How much does a cup of coffee cost or a beer? There are quite a few countries that I have sold many times but have felt completely different once I experienced them.
2. I like the ones run by tourist boards as this is the best and most unbiased overview of the country and they try to include the best the country has to offer.
3. Even if I go on a fam and don’t get a suitable enquiry I can feed in afterwards I do blog about it, post pictures, use social media and help all my colleagues to sell it too so there are more ways to promote it than simply selling it myself.
4. If I were to sell a destination that I have been to I am more likely to recommend restaurants, excursions, experiences and various add ons thereby helping the client to have a better opinion of the destination.
5. I am more likely to be passionate a place that I have seen, touched, smelt and felt.
6. For every fam trip that I’ve been on there will be another 30 destinations that I have paid to go to on holiday myself and for most of my holidays I create my own fam, going to lots of places and going on a few tours.
7. There are places that I do sell and really need to experience that I either couldn’t afford to go to or my husband has no interest in whatsoever. These include South Africa, Thailand (I have been to Chiang Mai) and Iceland .
8. Fam trips should include using public transport at least once wherever possible. This is particularly important within cities.