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You’ve entered the exciting world of travel and have your first FAM trip lined up. Attending a FAM – or familiarization trip – is a way for travel advisors to learn about a destination, hotel, cruise ship, tour operator, etc. These trips allow advisors to gain firsthand experience, frequently resulting in increased sales. 

Many advisors would say attending FAMs is one of the best perks of the job, but heading off on your first one might seem intimidating. If you’re unsure about what to expect, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Preparing for a FAM Trip

Making the most out of a FAM begins well before the departure date. Just like other types of travel, you’ll want to review the itinerary and make sure you have everything you need, including the proper attire for activities, dinners, etc. Two things Kendra Carver, owner of Kendra & Company Travel Agency, says to bring along are comfortable shoes and a portable battery charger.

“FAMs require a LOT of walking and sometimes it means that you are walking hills and navigating steps. Comfortable shoes will be your LIFESAVER, especially if you are seeing multiple properties,” Carver said. “A portable battery charger will ensure that your phone has plenty of battery life. When you are taking pics and videos for an extended period of time, it will drain your battery.”

You’ll also want to ensure you’re familiar with the brand hosting you. Consider taking any specialist courses or training programs the brand offers before the FAM. This will help you get more out of the experience. Carver also says to pack plenty of business cards to hand out to resort staff when you’re introducing yourself, as industry connections are key.

“When you are on a FAM, you will meet hotel staff from that resort, i.e. wedding planners, general managers, hotel concierge. Those resort/industry connections are vital to establishing the travel agent/ industry connection partnership,” Carver said. “This also gives you a resort contact in case a client is visiting or if there is an issue. I always send an email upon my return thanking them for their hospitality. Trust me, it goes a long way and you will be surprised who they remember.”

During a FAM Trip

Not all FAMs are organized the same way, but many of them have jam-packed itineraries. Travel companies get excited to have advisors experiencing their products, and they try to fit in as much as possible during the trip. The days are usually filled with site inspections, room tours, excursions and meetings, and the evenings include extensive meals and entertainment. With so much to process, staying organized is key. 

Nolan Flynn, director of industry engagement at LaMacchia Jet Stream, says to keep a pros and cons list. “Always have a short list of pros & cons of each resort you visit and write them down as soon as you leave the property,” he said. “Those little notes help jog your memory and are also great when selling to your clients.”

Some advisors bring a small notebook to jot down notes throughout the day or use their phones to store the information. Using an app such as My Fam Trip can help keep these notes organized.

In addition to notes, be prepared for your camera roll to be full. If you’re seeing a lot of different hotels or room types, consider categorizing your photos into albums or adding captions to help keep them straight.

“Vibe is really important when marketing hotels and destinations on social media,” Flynn said. “So definitely take those pictures that capture the aesthetics of each place you visit. Room pictures are great, but those can almost always be found on a hotel’s website. But you can’t always get those pictures that look more natural of the resort’s pool or beach.”

Carver says to think about your clients when you travel and see which ones would be a good fit for the places you visit. Having photos is helpful when showcasing the product to your clients back home, and in some cases, firsthand photos and videos help seal the deal. “Taking pictures and video during a site inspection has helped me ‘close the sale’ on many occasions,” Carver said. “I was able to share pictures or videos of rooms, wedding venues, beach, etc., and once the client sees that, they instantly are ‘won over.’”

While it might seem like a lot to do in one day, it’s important to show up to all the events on the itinerary – on time. Although it’s a fun aspect of the job, keep in mind this is not your personal vacation and you are representing your company.

After Travel

You’ll want to keep in touch with the brand you traveled with after the FAM. Networking and building relationships account for many of advisors’ success stories in the travel industry, and keeping a line of communication open with BDMs and FAM hosts after travel can help build that connection.

Most advisors return from FAMs with a ton of energy, and this momentum helps create sales. Clients love going places their advisors have already been to, and sharing your experience on social media can help drive these sales. Flynn says to create posts in segments, so the information is easier to absorb.

“Start with highlighting one resort at a time, give the reasons you love the resort and unique details you wouldn’t necessarily find on a hotel website,” Flynn said. “Then I believe it’s always important to talk about destination highlights. Everything from the local restaurant or bar you visited, to smaller attractions that don’t always make the first page on a Google search.”

Keep your audience’s interests in mind. Do you mainly book destination weddings? Talk about the stunning venues you saw. Are you a family travel specialist? Post about the kids clubs and on-site waterpark. Are your clients looking for luxury? Share a room tour from the presidential suite. Remember to put yourself in your clients’ shoes when reviewing the details.

“I think it’s important to go on a FAM and think as a traveler first, and travel advisor second,” Flynn said. “Sometimes we get too caught up in the details that are important to a travel advisor, but not always important to a client. It’s the simple things like: How swimmable of a beach is the resort on? Is there enough restaurant variety on property? What added benefits do you receive when you upgrade your room?”

Finally, throughout the entire FAM trip process, be sure to network with everyone involved, especially the other advisors you’re traveling with.

“Don't be afraid to collaborate with other agents,” Carver said. “We all have different ways of doing things. I've changed some of my practices, because I was chatting with another agent and thought ‘That's a good idea. I should incorporate that.’ In some cases, you’ll create friendships that last a lifetime.”

Are you a new travel advisor? Check out the New Advisor Education page on VAX. 

About the Author

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Codie Liermann is the managing editor of The Compass. She began her career in the industry as a travel advisor prior to working as an editor. With a passion for creating valuable content for travel advisors, she aims to develop meaningful relationships with all types of travel companies in order to share their unique messages with the travel agency community.


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Leslie N | 06/30/24 - 12:06 PM

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Debra O | 06/29/24 - 02:37 PM

I am hoping to do one soon with reading this it sounds very good to be able to have the experience to share with customers and other advisors.

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Delene T P523662 | 06/27/24 - 06:00 AM

Delene T I’m just starting out but I would love to go on a fam trip just to be able to real pictures and be able to show my clients how beautiful one of the properties. I really want to sell sell sell just to see a smile my clients face when go on there trip and see that I was right about how beautiful the property was and I will keep that client for ever.

Delene Tuck

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