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Outstanding Destinations — FAM trouble

I have been talking with some new agents who were upset because they were declined for a FAM trip because of their lack of experience in the industry. There were a few who were upset that they couldn’t even have access to FAM trips because they were not affiliated with a host agency.

Why is it so hard for new agents and agents without a host to be able to go on these FAM trips? Most of them are taking specialist courses, but are you really a specialist without ever experiencing the product?

I always thought “FAM trips” was an abbreviation for familiarization trips? Meaning to make yourself familiar with the resort and/or country. If that is indeed the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow new agents the chance to go on these trips? They would see firsthand the resorts, the rooms, location of beach in relation to the rooms, wedding setups, establish relationships and everything else that goes along with a FAM trip.

To say you can’t go on a FAM trip because you have not sold the resort is a total catch-22. Of course you have not sold the resort–you need to know about it first. You can’t sell what you don’t know. It’s crazy! The idea of these trips is to learn the ins and outs of these resorts, to experience the culture of the countries to better sell them. The more you know the product, the more confident you are and the better able you will be to match the right client with the right product.

Of course, on the opposite spectrum, you have the agents who have taken so many FAMs they know the resorts and destinations better than their hosts. Sure they probably pick up a new tidbit here and there, but often, the FAM is treated like a mini-vacation and they usually wander off to do their own thing.  The newbies are the easy ones to spot—they are buzzing around the rooms, snapping photos and documenting every piece of the experience. They have the thirst for knowledge.

I understand these FAMs cost a lot of money; but these agents have the ability to bring in hard revenue. I say give them all the tools they need to better serve their profession and the resort or destination.

Have you had trouble getting on a FAM trip?  What are your thoughts?

Jenna Kameka, with Outstanding Destinations, is a Certified Sandals Specialist, GI Wedding Consultant, and a Specialist for  Jamaica, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Puerto Rico. She is also an Anchorage Wild Expert and specializes in destination weddings & honeymoons.

  4 thoughts on “Outstanding Destinations — FAM trouble

  1. WOW – I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been a home-based business for 3 years and it has been a bit challenging to qualify for FAMs and other travel “perks”. Fortunately I have traveled quite a bit prior to starting my business, so I can actually say to my clients, been there done that. One big help was joining OSSN and getting my TRUE number. Even though it only works about 75% of the time, it has helped me to be recognized as a valid agent. Next big help was getting a CLIA card through my host agency. Even tough I don’t personally sell cruises, the training is excellent and having the number has opened up travel possibilities. But there are destinations I truly want to sell (Tahiti for one – a lifelong interest of mine) that I cannot experience until I sell a trip – and my business model is: if I haven’t been there, don’t sell it. So I guess I have to wait for some one to stumble in an insist I sell them a Tahiti trip before I can personally go there on a familiarization trip. NO – it DOESN’T make a bit of sense. Thanks for raising the issue!

  2. Geoff Millar says:

    Unfortunately it is like anything else in the industry today. New agents can go on FAMs but they really have to sell themselves to the organization that is putting on the FAM. The only answer to the catch 22 question is being able to sell and convince the FAM provider that it would be worth their while, concerning future sales, to invite them on the FAM. The pendulum swung when there were a large number of multi-level marketing people who had no intention of selling travel and used the FAMs as their personal vacations. That pendulum has not swung back yet. I know a couple of new agents who never get turned down for FAMs because they can really sell their sales expertise and what their future sales would be with this FAM training. As with everything in this business today it is all about selling yourself.

  3. betty housefield says:

    When I became an agent it was a one year trial before being
    eligible to go on a fam trip. This made sure the agent was staying
    in the business and knew a little about how to be a good agent.
    I have been on some trips with brand new agents and their total
    ignorance caused the trips to be a bore.

  4. mmillin says:

    So true. I’d love to go on a Fam. I’m lucky that I have traveled quite a bit before becoming an agent. But, as an example I have never been on an all-inclusive (traveled to Europe ++++, but no AI). I would love to go on a mini fam at an AI just to see what it is all about, but I’m a newbie.

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