If you have had the opportunity to read our previous article, Beyond The Screen, Part I: Why In-Person Events Are Essential For Building Strong Connections, you are aware that we emphasized the significance of attending your host agency's in-person events. In this article, we will focus on the criticality of attending FAMs and hosted experiences in fostering strong connections. So lets begin!

FAM Trips
GTN Advisors were invited to participate in a FAM at the Grand Bohemian Lodge in Greenville, SC!

A FAM trip stands for "familiarization trip," which is an opportunity for travel advisors to "familiarize" themselves with the supplier, tour operator or hotel in a particular destination. Most FAM's are high-level overviews of the property, product or destination, where advisors are actively learning and gathering information to be able to sell to their clients. Why is attending FAM's so important?

Exposure to new destinations and experiences:
FAM trips are designed to give travel industry professionals, such as travel agents or media representatives, an opportunity to experience a destination or a product first-hand. This exposure can help you to better understand the destination and its unique features and attractions. It also allows you to gain insights that you can use to better advise your clients or create engaging content.

Networking opportunities:
FAM trips often involve interactions with local tourism operators, other travel professionals, and fellow FAM trip attendees. This can provide an excellent opportunity to network and make valuable connections in the industry. You can learn from others, exchange ideas, and build relationships that may lead to future collaborations.

Hosted Experience
Chief Membership Officer, Sandy Saburn leading a hosted experience with GTN preferred partner Noteworthy in London, England!

A hosted experience is different from a FAM trip in the sense that your host agency is working with the supplier to "host" this experience for its members. Host experiences are very immersive and focused on the experience of the product or destination. The idea is for a travel advisor to visit a destination and stay in the property as their client would.

Speak to your experience:
When it comes to selling a destination or property to your clients, nothing is more effective than being able to speak to your own personal experience. By participating in a hosted experience, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the destination or property, allowing you to truly understand and appreciate its unique features and selling points.

Build strong connections with fellow members:
Being in one place at one time is not often the easiest task. During a hosted experience, you can forge meaningful relationships with your host agency staff, partners, and fellow members. You'll have the chance to learn from others and share your own expertise, as well as gain valuable insights and perspectives that can help you to grow your business. In addition, these connections can lead to future collaborations and partnerships, allowing you to offer your clients a wider range of products and services.

Chief Executive Officer Jen Cochrane leading a hosted experience with GTN preferred partner Aurora Expeditions in Antarctica!

And that concludes Part II of this Beyond the Screen series. Stay tuned for Part III coming soon! If you are interested in learning more about the host agency behind it all, I encourage you to visit our website, programs page or if you're ready to start your travel agent career, apply now!