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.