Event Management, Non-For-Profit

All About FAM trips

What is a FAM trip?

A familiarization trip (FAM Trip) is where event planners, consultants or potential clients are invited to visit a city by the Tourism Board, Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB), or Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). The destination hosts will typically book all your travel, and daily activities and meals. The trip allows for the destination to show off all their venues, services and suppliers. Their goal is to blow your socks off and showcase their wonderful city, which in turn would entice you to bring your client conferences to their cities one day. They simulate activities that the attendees would be doing such as social excursions, opening receptions at local venues, accommodations at various hotels so you can get to know their “product”.

What’s in it for the destination?

The goal for the destination is to gather future business. They want you to fall in love with their city and envision bringing your clients to their city to hold their events. This, to them, is a small investment for a larger return when an event planner is bringing a 500 person conference to their city!

What’s in it for you?

FAM trips are a quick and easy way to become an expert about a destination. Learning about various destinations and all their offerings will set you apart from other event planners/management companies.

FAM trips are also a perfect way for an event planner to see a city through an attendee’s perspective and also get an opportunity to see all the venues/meeting space and social excursions all in one shot. The main goal is to see if this location will be best suited for your client.

How to make the most of a FAM Trip

When you are on the FAM trip be sure to ask lots of questions and be in the moment. Typically the destination will have hotel reps, social venue reps, DMCs, local rental suppliers, AV suppliers, etc. Chat with everyone you meet, FAM trips are a perfect opportunity to network and create connections with various people in the industry.

Post FAM Trip

Be sure to take notes throughout the FAM trip, since it may be harder to remember ALL the places you have visited when you are back home. Create a reference guide with key contact people as well as notes with all the places you have visited divided into different categories. Present a short presentation to your team to share high level knowledge of what you learned about the location re. culture/best hotels/venues/ etc. Always follow up with the new people you’ve met and ask questions to further clarify if there are any venues you may be interested in.

How do you get on a FAM trip?

If you have a conference coming up over the next couple years and you know the potential cities, reach out to the various Tourism Boards, Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), or Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) and ask if they have a FAM trip coming up, and if so to put you on the list! Most destinations do not advertise FAM trips so you be sure to ask!

Blog post written by Dory Kashin, Senior Event Planner at Managing Matters Inc.