Not too many years ago, a familiarization (FAM) tour used to be interpreted as mostly a vacation for the participant. However, in today’s world, a FAM tour means a fast-paced, educational trip that gives group travel planners an abbreviated version of what a customer would experience on the a full tour of a destination. After the planners return home, they can then sell the tour to others.
FAM tours are sponsored by tour operators or destinations that want to introduce planners to a particular product. You can find many FAM tours geared towards faith-based groups, which give you a taste of destinations’ religious offerings.
For example, you could go on a FAM tour of Switzerland with a focus on its Reformation history or to Quebec with an emphasis on its national shrines. If you look for it, you can find some amazing FAM tours to places that might be perfect for your religious groups.
The Right Reasons
After tour operators and destination representatives finish arranging a FAM tour for planners, they expect participants to have a genuine interest in the product. So don’t go on a FAM tour if you aren’t seriously considering taking groups to that location.
Of course, you are expected to enjoy the area’s culture and attractions, but you should go for more than just personal reasons.
FAM tours can be very valuable to you, especially if they are to a place that you have never been before. How can you be sure your group will like a tour to Maine if you have never been there before? Just find a FAM tour to Maine and see for yourself.
Going on a FAM tour also makes it easier to sell the trip to others. You can be authentic in your praise of a destination, which is more convincing than just telling your members that you’ve read about it. Your personal recommendation will go a long way on overseas trips especially, since you may have some potential travelers unsure about going abroad.
You can also learn more on a FAM tour than you could researching the place on your own. On a first-hand tour, you can see for yourself the cleanliness of a hotel or the taste of a local restaurant.
FAM tours can additionally reveal options you didn’t know you had. For example, you might think an attraction not right for your group after doing online research. But when you visit that place in person, your experience may convince you otherwise.
Pay attention to all the details of a FAM tour so you will be able to make informed decisions about how to customize a tour to fit your group. You can get a clear understanding of the logistics involved if you listen and ask questions relevant to your needs. Visualize your faith-based groups alongside you during the trip and what potential concerns they might have.
You might realize that the destination is not something that your members would enjoy. This can save you from booking a trip that is not right for your group. For example, if your faith-based group has limited mobility, they might not be able to do as much walking as the trip necessitates.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some FAM organizers roll out the red carpet for group planners. This can be a great experience for you, but it is important to find out what part of the FAM is part of the actual tour. If you get a free glass of wine with dinner or have a high-tech motorcoach, make sure you know if those experiences are just for you or if they are included on the real trip.
What will be different than the full tour is the schedule. It is not uncommon for a nine-day tour to be converted into a five-day FAM tour. Your faith-based travelers will get a much more leisurely experience than the shortened FAM version. While you may only do a quick walk through of a museum, your members will be able to linger more in museums and at other attractions.
So be sure and keep you eye out for upcoming faith-based FAMs. They can help sell you and your groups on a plethora of new destinations.