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What’s New in Journey Agent FAM Journeys

  • TRAVEL

FAM journeys have all the time had actual worth, and nonetheless do. Sometimes, shoppers belief a journey advisor’s recommendation a couple of potential trip far more if the advisor has had private expertise with the vacation spot, resort, or cruise, or if a colleague within the company has had that first-hand expertise and shared their perception.

However, like all the things in journey, FAM journeys have been reinvented and proceed to evolve and roll with the punches.

Hashtag #journey
One of many greatest modifications in FAMs—social media is the brand new carry-on baggage, and journey advisors are sometimes inspired, even requested, to take part.

“FAMs have modified so much in the previous couple of years,” says Jonathan de Araujo, proprietor of The Vacationeer Journey Company, which focuses on Disney, Common, and cruise journey. “There is a a lot bigger deal with social media now. Most distributors need you to submit on social as a lot as doable if you’re visiting their properties.”

Advisors are sometimes requested to make use of designated hashtags when posting, so the outcomes of the FAM journey could be tracked.

“On the finish of the day, FAMs are advertising and marketing for the seller, and like another advertising and marketing, they want to have the ability to present a return on funding,” says de Araujo.

Journey 101
And, whereas FAM journeys are, after all, nonetheless enjoyable and thrilling, with alternatives to expertise fabulous locations and resorts, lately FAMs additionally are inclined to even be extra instructional.

“Up to now, organized FAM journeys had been a enjoyable method to introduce advisors to your product in a really managed means,” mentioned Steve Spivak, Tauck’s Vice President, World Gross sales, and Reservations, who famous the corporate ended organized FAMs in 2013.

“Advisors obtained a glimpse into the model however probably not the expertise a visitor would have and never in a means that will construct expertise, an enduring connection, or an understanding of the true experiential distinction from one product to the subsequent.”

So, ten years in the past, the corporate launched Tauck Academy, a hybrid strategy to conventional familiarization journeys. “We needed to create the identical enjoyable and interesting setting as a FAM however with a measurable lasting profit for the advisors and for Tauck,” says Spivak. “We turned far more data-driven and collaborative with company house owners within the attendee choice course of and created a curriculum that will assist the advisor construct their enterprise not simply with Tauck however with any product that was the suitable match for his or her shoppers.”

Spivak says the concept was to assist the advisor to change into higher at advertising and marketing, prospecting, and shutting and extra astute at matching their shoppers to the suitable expertise it doesn’t matter what that’s. And, he says, they need to present the advisor what it is wish to journey with Tauck, so academy experiences are sometimes held in Tauck inns or onboard Tauck river ships.

“Our purpose is for advisors to really feel what our friends really feel once they journey however to have the ability to do it in a three-day Academy program with 9 hours of classroom content material,” says Spivak.

Advisors who full Tauck Academy are given the chance to journey with a visitor—and as a visitor—aboard one among Tauck’s river ships, says Spivak. Every year, almost 100 advisors are hosted. “We all know one of the best advisors promote from expertise and we wish that have to be as genuine as doable,” he says.

Sustainable FAMs
There’s additionally a robust push to introduce advisors to the native tradition for distinctive experiences reasonably than simply touring the favored websites and points of interest.

“FAM journeys are a necessary a part of a journey advisor’s job,” says Balaram Thapa, director/journey advisor, of Nepal Climbing Crew.

“They assist us acquire invaluable insights into the locations we suggest, permitting us to raised inform our friends’ wants and expectations.”

“This 12 months, we count on to see a shift in direction of extra sustainable and accountable journey choices on FAM journeys,” says Thapa.

”The demand for sustainable tourism continues to develop, and we can entry extra eco-friendly experiences, comparable to these specializing in decreasing single-use plastic or selling regionally sourced merchandise. Moreover, advisors can count on to expertise extra immersive cultural and community-based actions, comparable to homestays and volunteering tasks.”

Staffing points
Uncover Lancaster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has hosted FAMs for 25-plus years, says Chris Ackerman, director of gross sales, Uncover Lancaster.

One problem in recent times that has been, and continues to be, is {that a} staffing scarcity all through the hospitality trade has additionally impacted FAMs.

“Staffing challenges have made it troublesome for these to get out of the workplace to take a FAM journey,” says Ackerman.

Lancaster has pivoted and partnered with a commerce publication to help in planning and organizing a multi-meeting planner FAM, says Ackerman, and can also be providing extra ‘particular’ tailor-made FAMs for these requesting individualized exploratory visits, he says.

Ackerman gives these three items of recommendation for journey/advisors all for taking part in an upcoming FAM in Lancaster—and elsewhere:

  • Discover distinctive experiences, “off the overwhelmed path” in a vacation spot
  • Go the place the locals go
  • Be versatile because of the hospitality trade staffing challenges

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