You may have heard the term FAM trip used either in the travel industry or by public relations professionals. So, what is it? A FAM trip is a Familiarization trip (FAM) that public relations professionals (and travel agents) use to encourage writers to visit a destination and ultimately produce stories about the locations they visit. Travel agents use FAM trips to help them learn more about a destination so that they can better “sell” it to clients, while PR pros use the trips to entice media to visit and write about a destination. FAM trips to locations inside the U.S. typically range from three to five days, and international destinations may range five to seven days, depending on the location.
In public relations, FAM trips are an important way to help a destination or brand tell their story by giving the journalist an experience of a lifetime.
Planning the perfect itinerary of activities and free time for attending journalists is crucial. Some itinerary stops may include special, “behind the scenes” activities or opportunities that may not be available to a typical visitor. However, if it helps sell the brand or the destination, it can lead to the creation of valuable content that might not be able to be communicated through traditional advertising.
FAM trips are often themed or include an itinerary with “must-see” locations. These excursions help journalists experience first-hand what traveling to certain destinations might look like while also making them more familiar with the location so that they appear as experts their readers.
Before inviting journalists to attend your FAM trip, you must do your research and identify the appropriate media contacts that best match your target audience. However, due to the importance of social media, bloggers and social media influencers should also be considered, as most destinations and brands see value in the immediate results they can provide. *It’s important to note that many publications prohibit journalists from accepting press trips because it is considered a conflict of interest and is less genuine then sending someone on their own dime.
FAM trips can get expensive quickly since the host is responsible for airfare/transportation and other expenses, such as meals and attraction admission fees. Setting a budget, booking flights early and creating partnership opportunities with the city’s tourism bureau, hotels, restaurants and attractions included on the itinerary will help cut costs. These partners provide services with the expectation of being included in the coverage resulting from the trip.
So, we’ve discussed what a FAM trip is, why it’s important, and the first steps in research, media outreach and budget forecasting. In my next post, I’ll offer tips for planning the perfect itinerary.
How does your brand implement FAM trips? Let us know by tweeting @DEVENEYnola using the #DEVchat hashtag.