Throughout the year, our team coordinates multiple media familiarization (FAM) trips for destination marketing clients. A FAM trip is designed to educate travel writers and influencers on a destination so they can properly promote it through their media channels. Here are a few critical steps we take in order to plan a seamless trip for writers and influencers that result in optimum coverage and additional content for our client.

1. Communicate with your partners.
FAM trips take a village and absolutely depend on a strong relationship with destination hotels, attractions, restaurants and more. Strong partnerships are essential when planning trips because the host destination marketing organization (DMO) requires accommodations, meals and things to do for the visiting writers. If the destination partners are very aware of what they will be giving and receiving with the FAM trip, this will make the decision for them to participate a simple one. For example, if an accommodations partner donates a hotel room stay, in exchange, the writer will include detailed information about the accommodations in her/her blog posts and media profiles. Communicating early and often with partners is essential for creating mutually beneficial, trusting relationships.

2. Have a plan.
A detailed plan for the entire trip is important for all involved. All journalists in attendance should have a copy of their itinerary that is tailored to them specifically. In addition, all partners involved should be given a copy of the all of the travelers’ itineraries. Having a plan ensures that everyone is aware of where they should be and when, making the trip as smooth as possible. This detailed plan should include times, locations, contacts and directions (if the writers are using their own means of transportation) with appropriate time built it for breaks, commuting and unexpected occurrences.

3. Stay flexible.
While a plan is crucial for a FAM trip, it is even more important to expect things to not go as planned. If and when the itinerary doesn’t go as expected, it is important to communicate with all who will be affected (travel writers, partners, etc.) Remaining flexible allows for a stress-free experience for the journalists, resulting in a better experience for them and positive coverage for the destination.

4. Stay true to your brand.
A DMO’s goal should always be for the participants on the FAM trip to spread the brand’s message. In order to ensure this happens, the itinerary created for the travel writers has to reflect the brand. Highlight your unique points of difference and “stay in your lane”. It’s okay to not have something for everyone. Understand what your destination does well and build an itinerary around the highlights.

Pro tip: Recruit travel writers and influencers that are a good fit for your destination, hotel, restaurant, etc. If you are a yoga retreat, it may be best to steer clear from “adventure” writers or travel writing families.

What are your FAM trip tips? Let us know in the comments!