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Written on 11 th December 2018 by Nancy Brown
Why are FAM trips important to event agencies?
FAM (familiarisation) trips are a vital learning tool for TAG's Events team. Our event managers are focused on delivering the best possible experience for our clients – and these inspections ensure that we have first-hand product knowledge and can advise on exactly what to expect. Read on to learn more.
What is a FAM trip anyway?
A FAM trip (or familiarisation trip) is where events planners (and/or potential clients) are invited by a supplier to experience a hotel or an activity first-hand. The supplier shows off what they can offer, so the events manager can develop a better understanding of their services and envision how the event would work before proposing the idea to the client.
How does this benefit our clients?
1. FAM trips play an important role in scouting out the very best locations for our clients . We only want to work with the best suppliers – and our events managers are hard to impress – so it’s important that we experience venues and services for ourselves. The events team attend FAM trips in locations that are relevant to their work or clients, whether it be a city that regularly comes up in event briefs, or whether it could be a “wildcard” destination in a proposal.
2. Our event managers are always in the know. They strive to develop their product knowledge, so you can be certain that the advice you receive on hotels, venues and any other suppliers is accurate and up to date. This enables our clients to make informed decisions because we have seen the quality of the bedrooms, the standard of the food and drink, and the level of customer service you would receive on-site.
3. It’s about strengthening the relationships between TAG, our suppliers and key contacts. This brings huge benefits to our clients because it ensures a smooth booking process and means we can negotiate excellent rates for you.
4. We keep our clients in mind. When our event managers attend FAM events, they keep our clients in mind. For example, if they’re exploring a new venue, they’ll keep an eye out for the specific features and characteristics that clients would appreciate. We will always be thinking about new opportunities for you.
What TAG Events say…
“I recently attended a FAM trip with a hotel supplier in Paris and I found it very worthwhile. I experienced first-hand the hotel’s excellent customer service and high-end décor, so I felt confident when proposing the venue for a corporate summer party enquiry. We ultimately booked the accommodation and event space at the hotel, and I liaised with the supplier contact I made on the FAM trip.”
Sammi Wratten, Events Manager at TAG, London team
21 st December 2018
TAG announces expansion of Events division to Los Angeles and promotion of Bethany Chamberlain as Events Director
6 th August 2018
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How FAM trips and event strategy can elevate your brand
We’re all guilty of it. One minute you’re aimlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, killing time before your kid’s soccer practice wraps up or your next appointment starts, when suddenly something catches your eye. Maybe it’s a post of someone using a power drill which reminds you that you need to get going on that bathroom reno, new running shoes that you’re positive will finally give you the motivation you need to start running twice a week, or a picture of that resort in Baja you’ve been dying to stay at, like, forever. Whatever it is, it’s enough to prompt you to click the ‘buy’ button–and that’s exactly why influencer marketing and media coverage is so effective.
Whether your company is launching a new product or looking to showcase a destination, proven ways to generate excitement and awareness are by hosting a FAM trip or planning a brand activation.
What is a FAM trip?
Traditionally, a familiarization trip–commonly called a FAM trip or FAM–is when a destination or tourism brand hosts media, travel agents or suppliers for an experience, This could be something as simple as an afternoon hike highlighting offerings from a few providers capped off with a farm-to-table dinner, to a weeklong, all-expenses paid trip to a luxury resort in Thailand. The idea is that the resulting media coverage leads to more bookings, while agents on the supplier side are more knowledgeable about the products they’re pushing which can increase sales.
“You don’t know what you don’t know, and attending FAM trips is a quick and easy way to get insider access to a destination,” explains travel writer Jody Robbins , who goes on hosted trips multiple times a year to research upcoming articles. “A good FAM trip will not only familiarize you with the destination, but will uncover a new perspective.”
Now that bloggers and influencers have developed so much klout and loyal audiences, FAMs are expanding to include this type of new media and trips are no longer just tourism focused. Forward-thinking companies are putting together customized brand activations which give influencers an opportunity to connect with and use their products, creating content they can then share organically with their followers.
“In the past, most companies would launch new products at trade shows and through press releases, which is somewhat effective but not very exciting,” says Aaron Sales, co-founder of Global Sessions which has worked with brands like Nike to support their brand influencer programs. “Today, consumers and media desire authentic experiences that allow them to fully understand and appreciate the product. When you feel a product in your own hands and can have a direct conversation with the designer or someone knowledgeable and passionate about the product, you immediately become an ambassador. It’s one thing to read a one-pager on the latest and greatest, but it’s completely different when you get to cast the rod from shore and hook into a 12 pound trout with the owner of the company.”
Nike brought in Global Sessions to develop the event strategy for a product launch , where they presented new apparel to a group of fashion bloggers, photographers and media from high-profile outlets like Vogue , HYPEBEAST and Gear Patrol. Global Sessions sourced a venue to put Nike’s ACG React Terra Gobe shoe to the test and provide an incredible backdrop to create content, as well as arrange transportation, meals, lodging and experiences.
How to make a familiarization trip successful
Many companies that host FAM trips or influencer marketing events bring in a third-party agency to assist with things like the run of show and venue finding services, and benefit from their insider knowledge.
“Logistics and timing are hugely important factors in running a successful FAM tour,” says Kieron Weidner from First Nature Tours , which is a longtime partner of Global Sessions. His company works with destination marketing organizations (DMOs) like Travel Oregon and Brand USA by providing professional guides, luxury transportation and expert insight into each area.
“Things often take longer than anticipated, and it’s important to know the destinations and attractions well enough to plan accordingly. Also, having relationships in place with key partners can assist in hosting the group, and providing the kind of experience that will really sell the participants on the destination.”
On the media side, journalists appreciate a bit of flexibility and free time built into schedules to give them time to properly explore based on their interests.
“One of the best FAM trips I was on offered two different half-day blocks we could choose from,” Robbins recalls. “One block was culinary, the other family travel, another outdoor adventure, etcetera. Everyone split into different groups and got the [story] angles they needed.”
She adds that including a unique experience is also appreciated, as well as getting an opportunity to meet the locals.
“One example is when I did a UK FAM that took us into Oxfordshire and Highclere House, AKA Downton Abbey. Anyone can tour Highclere House, but this was memorable for a few reasons: it was timely because the movie was coming out in a few months, and it was bucket list-worthy. Sure, you can do it on your own, but that takes some effort and our FAM timed it just right with not only a tour and tea, but an evening performance where we could wander through the castle at will.
“Our FAM had organized a tea with Lady Carnarvon, the mistress of the house. Having unhurried time with her was not only invaluable for my story, but is something I’ll never forget.”
What to avoid when planning FAM tours
The most important thing to remember when planning a media visit or influencer marketing event is that one size does not fit all . Many organizers are guilty of cramming in too many different activities to try and showcase everything, which means participants barely have enough time to properly experience it, never mind actually create content. It’s almost always better to spend more time at fewer places.
“It’s important to balance the learning and site inspections with time to truly relax and enjoy the destination, and [travel advisors] won’t want to return with a group if they don’t enjoy their overall experience,” Weidner says.
He suggests setting accurate expectations for the participants well in advance, and always calling ahead to keep partners updated with arrival time and group size to ensure the experience moves smoothly, Most importantly, be informed.
“Know the answers to the questions that your participants need to know.”
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Curious. Clever. Connected.
The dos and don’ts of venue FAM trip planning
March 27, 2012 by Petra Clayton
FAM trips, also known as familiarisation trips, offer the perfect platform to bring people to your venue to experience first-hand what is on offer. Think journalists, event organisers and PAs. In their own individual ways, the showcase element of a FAM trip is the ultimate vehicle for selling unique room and venue attributes, a building’s overall character and the expertise of the team behind the delivery. They’re looking for an experience that gives them a story to tell to their readers, clients and customers.
Before you plan your next FAM trip, remember these important tips:
- Plan a detailed itinerary. Remember what you want your guests to experience and why.
- Consider timings and the length of the event and stick to them.
- Make sure your itinerary only includes activities and experiences that people in the future could actually do, so it is a true representation of the venue and its available services.
- Consider who you would like to attend and how many you would like to attend. Think about the reason you are inviting these people and remember that quality is more important than quantity.
- Create and distribute an ‘Order of Events’ itinerary prior to the event.
- Let people know what they need to bring with them, e.g. swimsuit, wellies, camera.
- Create a guest list for distribution and supply badges to everyone in attendance.
- Ensure you have enough staff on duty and that they are well briefed.
- Prepare thoughtful goodie bags that leave a positive, lasting impression.
- Don’t forget the reason for inviting people to a FAM trip is to showcase your venue.
- Don’t assume anything. Expect that your guests know nothing about the venue and make sure you cover even the most obvious details, e.g. facilities on offer, location, USPs.
- Don’t forget about the little details. Give as much information as you can to guests prior to their visit in terms of directions, parking, where to go on arrival and dress code.
- Don’t miss an opportunity. Coordinating FAM trips can be a challenge, so make the most of having engaged guests on site and grasp every opportunity to speak with your guests about their requirements, thoughts and concerns.
- Don’t forget to follow up after the event. It is important you do not see the FAM trip as the end result of your hard work and planning. Make sure you contact each and every guest following the event and find out how you can help them moving forward.
These are just a few helpful pointers to consider when organising a FAM trip. If you would like further information or help with organising a FAM trip, please contact Custard Communications on 01483 740747 or email [email protected]
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How to Get the Most Out of Fam Trips
How to get the most out of fam trips december 1, 2016.
AlliedPRA Dallas/Fort Worth Fam guests pose at the sculpture signifying how “BIG things happen in Dallas.” Credit: AlliedPRA Dallas/Fort Worth
After months of planning your company’s annual offsite meeting, you are excited to arrive and have the meeting begin. This year, you’ve selected a completely new locale, with new accommodations and uncharted venues. But you’ve heard great things about your selected city from fellow meeting planners and are confident the meeting will be a success. Unfortunately, you arrive and realize that this isn’t the ideal locale for your company or the 200 attendees who have traveled near and far to this destination. The venue is smaller than expected, the hotel lacks the amenities it promised, and the city is difficult to navigate. You should have accepted the Fam trip invitation for this location that crossed your desk months before.
Many cities, hotels, resorts and other meeting venues offer familiarization trips, often referred to as Fam trips, to meeting planners on a fairly regular basis. Fam trips are a way for professional meeting planners to familiarize themselves with a destination and determine if it is a good fit for a future meeting or event.
“Remember this is not a vacation. As a Fam attendee, the planner is a guest. Show up on time, be engaged, courteous and respectful to the hosts. This is a working, onsite opportunity to learn about the city and the hotels and venues. And potentially book business.” — Cookie Walner, CMM, CAE
While Cookie Walner, CMP, CEM, CMM, CAE, the director of events at American Hardware Manufacturers Association, doesn’t attend as many Fam trips as in years past, she believes meeting planners should always determine if the trip is worth the time out of the office. Walner says, “You need to evaluate if the ‘stops’ on the trip will be appropriate to the organization’s needs. I personally recall a Fam trip that included a site of the city’s large university’s meeting space and dorm rooms for attendees,” Walner says. “That would be great for high school and college groups. But this would never have been a consideration for my meeting. Instead, my time would have been better spent elsewhere.”
Where to Start
What deciding factors should planners evaluate when determining whether to attend a Fam trip? Michelle Crosby, CMP, CTA, DMCP, senior national sales manager, AlliedPRA Dallas/Fort Worth, says that some of the key questions meeting planners need to ask are:
- Is this destination on my radar for a future meeting, conference or incentive trip business?
- Does this destination make sense for my group’s demographics?
- Would we be able to afford this destination (airfare, hotel, meals, transportation, offsite excursions, etc.)?
- Is there good airlift in/out of the local airport for my attendees?
- Is the time I host my meetings in the appropriate season for this destination?
- Do I have the time to participate in the complete Fam?
- What is the Fam going to showcase and is that something that is needed or will be utilized by my organization?
Crosby also suggests that planners “have a specific program in mind prior to attending the Fam so that activities offered can stay focused around what the actual attendees of your meeting may be participating in.” Crosby adds, “Have a list of questions regarding hotel lodging rates, inclusions, CMP packages and how flexible the venues are with these items. Request information about who their destination management partner is and how they can assist with onsite and offsite needs and requests.”
Walner also says it’s important for planners to do the research about the city, hotels and unique venues. “Come prepared with questions and as many details as possible about your program,” Walner says. “Remember, this is not a vacation. As a Fam attendee, the planner is a guest. Show up on time, be engaged, courteous and respectful to the hosts. This is a working, onsite opportunity to learn about the city and the hotels and venues. And potentially book business.”
Deborah Cohen, CMP, director of meeting and convention sales at Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau, sees many Fam promotions throughout the industry and feels it is still the best tool for developing new relationships and introducing destinations to new potential clients.
“We now offer one to two Fams per year,” Cohen says. “The challenge for us is that we select a set of dates that works for our team, our destination and does not conflict with any industry events — but it can still conflict with planners’ personal schedules or meeting calendar.” Cohen and her team invite planners who have not visited their destination in the last five years.
“The exception is a scenario where someone has been here on vacation, but did not tour our convention center and hotels,” Cohen says. “We would invite them to come back and learn more about how Branson can also host meetings and conventions.”
Making the Most Out of a Fam
It’s important for meeting planners to accept a Fam invitation only if they have a real piece of business and have sent out an RFP. Planners should be prepared to share the history of the meeting, what the deciding factors are and when a decision will be made.
Industry experts agree that planners should ask themselves if the destination is one they’ll really utilize, book business in or seriously consider in the coming years. They should determine if they have the time to attend, the knowledge of the potential of putting business there and if realistically their budget would accommodate such a location.
Phyllis Klasky, director of events at the NYC-based American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), advises planners to come prepared to discuss their potential meetings and their specs when visiting the city.
“Planners should be able to provide a real date when a decision for the respective meeting/conference will be made and the other cities under consideration,” Klasky says.
According to Klasky, invitations for familiarization trips are sent to ASME meeting planners as a result of the volume of meetings ASME conducts and their buying power.
“Acceptance of Fams is one of ethics,” Klasky says. “If ASME is seriously contemplating holding a conference in a certain city to which a site visit is required and the planner is not familiar with the site or hotel and time is available, and an invitation for a Fam is received at that time, then ASME will accept the invitation.”
She adds, “Fams should be accepted by planners who make decisions about meetings and have a real piece of business — it should not be used as a vacation.”
Gregorio Palomino, CDMP, CEP, CWP, CMP, CSEP, the executive officer at San Antonio, Texas-based CRE8AD8, an International Event Management Agency, has this rule of thumb: A Fam shouldn’t be taken unless a planner seriously thinks they can place business in that location within one to three years or they already have business there and need to finalize their plans.
“I also believe that a planner should have a ratio of 1:3 for events to Fams,” Palomino says. “So if an organization annually plans three events a year, they should limit their Fams to about nine annually.”
Crosby adds that it’s tempting to bring along a spouse on a Fam trip to the Bahamas instead of a colleague who helps plan meetings. “This turns into a vacation, and the focus turns away from the reason for the Fam invitation in the first place,” Crosby says. “This takes advantage of the generosity of the destination and the vendor partners that have spent time and money preparing for the Fam trip and the invited guests.”
Preparing for Fams means planners should have some questions and be ready to share those questions about the events they are willing to place — from numbers of attendees to budget constraints to entertainment needs. The planner also needs to take photos and make notes about the options at the location.
It also may be helpful to create a customized briefing guide to share with salespeople at hotels and various venues. The briefing guide should capture any open or anticipated RFPs and other high-level information.
Most companies have a policy that only one individual from the organization may attend a Fam, and that individual is often required to provide a Fam report, which can include these questions and observations:
- Flight time and ease of arriving at the destination.
- Hotel facility and ease of check-in process.
- Size, service and cleanliness of all properties and venues.
- Quality (and safety) of food/water.
- Travel time to activities and off-property venues.
- Risk management: Is local/national government stable?
- Currency exchange.
- Customs and ease of shipping materials to the destination.
- Language barrier: Will translation services be required?
All the paperwork should be completed during the Fam registration process; the more information provided, the better the suppliers can prepare.
“Every planner prepares differently, but it’s obvious who’s there for the trip and those who are there for the free trip,” Palomino says. “To make the most out of your Fam, prepare to walk a lot, see a lot, hear a lot of numbers and try to remember it all. Some destinations don’t do a good job at preparing for a Fam. Some pack conference space one after another and before the third one, you’ve lost it. Only go on Fams you can keep up with. Make the Fam your own, and be ready to move at your pace.”
And while attending a Fam, it’s important to meet as many local service professionals as possible, and to participate in as many activities as possible, all of which allow planners to speak from firsthand experience and more confidently sell the destination to their stakeholders. AC&F
What You Should Know About a FAM Trip
Annie Brigham, Digital Marketing Coordinator
What is a FAM trip?
Who attends a fam trip, who pays for a fam trip.
What are the benefits of a FAM trip for Travel Agents and Media Personnel?
What are the benefits of a FAM trip for the Hosts?
What are some things to keep in mind when planning a FAM trip?
A FAM trip stands for “familiarization trip” and is one incentive of being in the travel industry. FAM trips are exclusive educational trips for travel agents, media personnel, and resellers. These familiarization trips provided by travel businesses such as travel operators, tour operators, and accommodation suppliers allow them to experience their services and destinations first-hand. FAM trips are opportunities for travel businesses to familiarize agents and media personnel with their destination and immerse them in the local culture, introduce them to local operators, and highlight the benefits their company offers, essentially take them backstage. For instance, they can have the opportunity to meet a celebrity chef that they have been referring their clients to.
The usual people presented on these trips are Travel Agents, suppliers, and media partners such as Journalists, Editors, Influencers, & Tour Operators. These individuals are necessary for countless travel businesses’ success, and as suppliers and travel operators, you are looking to build a long-term working relationship with them. The aim is to keep track of key industry influencers and invite people relevant to your industry’s success. These invitations may rope in a travel agent you have worked with in the past, who you want to enhance your relationship with or introduce new offerings to, or a new prospect who has recently jumped on your radar who can potentially help you collect new business.
Though FAM trips are endlessly changing and evolving, and differentiate per business, tour operators, cruise lines, and hotels interested in showcasing their points of interest typically provide everything for these trips. FAM trips are more often than not fully sponsored invite-only events unless there is a partnership with a rental car company or airline that exists. Sponsorships are customary because the host provides the money or product in exchange for their visit.
What are the benefits of a FAM trip to Travel Agents and Media Personnel?
Familiarization trips present numerous benefits to the attendees. The head benefit of a FAM trip is that it allows travel agents and other travel industry providers to gain ideal first-hand experience. This involvement enables them to understand better the several benefits that different kinds of trip excursions offer to their clients. As a result, they can better supply the perfect services and vacations to their client based on their desires and needs and effectively inform their clients on what they can expect. In addition, media personnel, travel writers and editors, and photographers can gain first-hand experience that can help provide better content, details, and photographs for their future publications. These trips grant journalists opportunities to develop tailored stories that they may want to develop further. For example, the trip may introduce them to a chef who has a fascinating life story or recipe to share. A further benefit is that the FAM trip guests can expand their professional network by building connections with other travel agents, suppliers, and media personnel; most FAM trips embrace downtime to relax with other professionals. This schedule allows them time to get in touch with industry experts and exchange stories on what has worked for their business. By developing long-lasting relationships with travel operators and suppliers, they will also acquire better deals for themselves and their future clients.
What are the benefits of a FAM trip to the Hosts?
Arranging a “familiarization trip” is a valuable marketing tool. As a host of a FAM trip, one benefit is that you can generate new leads and business for your company. By permitting these professionals to gain first-hand experience with your products, they will better understand and share the benefits of your travel offerings with their clients. When it comes to benefits from hosting media personnel is that you are enhancing your media coverage; travel writers and photographers take part in these trips to photograph your offerings and compose content. If you can impress and inspire your guests during a FAM trip, then you should be able to generate first-rate reviews and recommendations for your travel business. For example, one of our clients , Arizona, invited an Editor in Chief on a FAM trip to their destination. The Editor in Chief made a customized trip with a luxury angle and published over 20 full pages of material about the destination and included them in the cover. The clients were very thankful for these results and said that the benefits of these results were worth more than five times that than the overall cost of the FAM trip.
After conversing with some of our employees regarding their client’s FAM trip success stories, we have put together some things we think you should consider when planning your FAM trip: You must research and plan the trip and itinerary during the FAM trip planning stage according to your media personnel and travel agent’s profiles. Look at their previous publications and create activities that they will find appealing, craft experiences with multiple “wow factors” that they can share in their publications. Keep in mind that it is up to the criteria of your guest when it comes to what will get published; not everything that they experience will be incorporated. Provide thorough itineraries and trip information as soon as possible in the planning process; this will allow your FAM trip guests to raise any concerns or questions ahead of time and will enable you to customize their stay exceedingly well. When crafting a detailed itinerary for your guests, you must also be mindful of their time on your trip; you must provide a good balance of activities and educational events with free time to relax and take a breather. Lastly, put together a plan for contingencies; keep in mind that not everything will go to plan. It would be safest to prepare for anything from a last-minute guest cancellation up to flight cancelations, emergencies, or lockdowns. But, again, it is better to over plan.
Special thanks to our Connect Worldwide FAM trip experts Eduardo Peraza and Pedro Berruecos for contributing to this article. Contact us today if you are looking for a destination marketing partner or are interested in learning more about attending, planning or hosting a FAM trip.
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Get Noticed by Attracting Meeting Planners with FAM Trips
It’s National Meeting Planners Appreciation Day. Skip sending the flowers and instead think about how you plant some seeds to create more interest in your destination among meeting planners.
Major destinations like Berlin and Seoul are already getting ready for the continued return of the events industry. Destinations know they need business travelers to return, conferences to happen, and events to take place in order to recover more fully.
As such, it’s elemental to focus on the main decision makers who choose when and where to hold those events: meeting planners. As we celebrate them, it’s critical to address them effectively and do everything possible to engage them positively. This year, focus on treating meeting planners like the travel media and travel advisors that help promote destinations and embrace the time-tested familiarization trip, or FAM trip, to get meeting planners excited about your destination.
These five reasons will make it clear why organizing a FAM trip for meeting planners should bump to the top of your to-do list.
1. A Sensory Experience
First and foremost, a FAM trip offers meeting planners a chance to experience a destination and appreciate the potential of booking an event there. So often, meeting planners base decisions based on the destinations they know and love instead of relying simply on online research.
Become that destination they love by inviting them to visit and experience firsthand all of the cultural and culinary treasures that await them – as well as the attendees that their events will bring. They will remember the tastes of the cuisine and smells of the air more readily than anything they read online.
2. A Visualization of the Event
Online research can only go so far, and while having video and 3D content about your meeting spaces is effective, it can never replace an in-person walk-through. Attracting meeting planners with a FAM trip must include a thorough visit to convention halls and other spaces that they will want to book.
By offering a FAM trip, a destination allows planners to see the potential, understand the space, and visualize the flow of people. It will make planning the event in your destination seem so much more tangible, increasing the potential that they will book with you.
3. A Friendly Face
Sure, we can Zoom and call and interact with each other, but a handshake is more valuable than ever in this post-pandemic world. A FAM trip allows you to give meeting planners a solid point of contact, something we’ve all been seeking since 2020.
By creating a human connection, it will make the planning process seem more possible, allowing planners to feel supported since they have someone they can text or email with questions and concerns. A little humanity goes a long way in the business meetings industry – after all, it’s all about bringing people together, so destinations must take the first step to connect.
4. A Sense of Loyalty
Attracting meeting planners with a FAM trip also creates a sense of loyalty. It’s not just because they met a human face, but because they will also meet vendors and local community members who are excited to help facilitate an event.
Don’t consider it an opportunity to make them feel like they owe you for the FAM trip. Instead, make them feel like they want to make a positive contribution to the local communities in your destination. Creating a sense of purpose for the meeting planners may seem far-fetched, but don’t underestimate their desire for all aspects of the travel industry – even business events – to engage with sustainable and purposeful travel. We all want to feel good about our choices, after all.
5. A Chance to Learn
Finally, a FAM trip is a way to attract meeting planners but also for your destination to learn what changes or improvements can help better position you as a top choice among all the meeting destinations worldwide.
Direct interface with meeting planners as they move through your venues and streets will offer insight that can help you make sure that you have not overlooked some critical component that planners need or want. The realities of holding meetings and events have changed since 2020, and FAM trip with planners will be a chance to make sure you have kept up with the times.
Figuring out how to attract meeting planners is like hitting a moving target. Fortunately, DCI’s research report, “ A View From Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing ,” provides the tools to reach meeting planners in this post-pandemic reality. Get in touch with Daniella Middleton at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI can help you land the big-name conferences and business events that your destination seeks.
Hosting the Perfect Familiarization Trip
- May 16, 2019
- Sales and Service
(this post was originally posted February 2018; this is the revised post here)
Some of your meeting planner prospects may be quite savvy on the FAM circuit, or this may be their first opportunity to be hosted. Regardless of where your client is in their career and journey, there are some things you can keep in mind as host when planning a FAM trip.
Why are FAMs important?
For meeting planners, familiarization trips work because they provide a holistic view of what their program would look like in a destination – from ease of access, hotels and offsites, local beauty and amenities, and ease of doing business. All factors contribute to a meeting planner’s decision to use a destination. For site selection professionals, many of their clients lean on these industry experts to advise them on destination that make sense for their program’s goals. FAMs are education-based opportunities , not vacations.
As a host destination and/or event host, here are some things to keep in mind when you host your next FAM:
- One point of contact- while your FAM trip requires lots of partners in order to make it a success, designate one point of contact for both suppliers and the attendees. This will save on confusion during execution.
- Timing – it works best if you can offer FAMS at varying times of the year, so planners can somewhat “pick and choose” when they can come. If you can only host one FAM a year, you may benefit from moving the FAM around to different weeks or seasons to accommodate planner’s schedules. There is one destination that I’m dying to go see on behalf of my clients, but they hold their FAM during the same week, every year, during my busiest month of the year. For 10 years now, I’ve had to decline the opportunity to go see the destination. Ironically, I haven’t booked a lot of business in this destination either.
- Vetting process – FAMs can be seen as “free vacays” by some inexperienced planners. By vetting the potential delegate, you may be able to qualify your delegates and ensure your fam is full of planners who truly have business aspirations for your destination.
- Pre-fam survey – conduct and execute a pre-fam survey with your delegates. Ask them key questions about their program(s), including size and demographics of delegates. This will help your suppliers customize their talking points specifically for certain individuals.
- Work collaboratively – regardless of how you feel your particular service is the “best game in town”, ensure you work in tandem with the other hotels and offsite venues in your destination. The first and foremost goal should be to get the planner to buy into the destination, not your particular service.
- Showcase unique local qualities – showing what’s unique to your destination may seem like a no-brainer, but ensure your offerings truly stand out as original. Are you a museum town? How are you different from the other museum towns in the country? Do you have a thriving wine region? How do you set yourself apart from other wine regions?
- Agenda and timing
- Contact information for each facility, and for the hosts
- Social media handles for each facility
- Dress code for each day of the trip
- Average weather for the season
- Communication between partners – every stop on the tour wants to showcase their best, and they should be encouraged to do so. Have the partners communicate with one another (or use your “one point of contact”) about the plan for the day, especially menus. While its great that all your partners are known for their fried chicken, the delegates likely do not want to eat fried chicken at three different places in one day.
- Downtime – many of your attendees are busy meeting planning professionals. Their life at the office doesn’t stop just because they took 3 days out of their schedule to see your destination. Ensure you build in a few hours each day for delegates to catch up on email (or jet lag).
- Post-fam debrief – Conclude the familiarization trip experience by sending both a post-fam survey to your delegates, as well as your suppliers, to see what was impactful about the FAM, and what leaves room for improvement for the next one
Leanne’s Note – I recently attended a FAM during the destination’s most popular festiva l – it was an incredible experience and it really showcased the energy of the city. Ensure your FAM participants understand the booking implications of booking their meetings around the festival time as opposed to other times of the year.
Some of the above tips may not work for your destination given the logistics, but many of these are achievable regardless of the duration of the familiarization trip or destination. By employing many of these tips, you’ve set yourself up for a great return on your FAM investment. Good luck with your FAMs this season!
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5 steps to better FAM trips
A FAM trip is a form of event, which is quite important and very common within the decision-making process for meeting planners and meeting designers.
FAM trip is the short form for familiarization trip and describes a group travel organized by local Convention Bureaus (CVB) or hotels and realized by Destination Management Companies (DMC).
The target group are agency planners, corporate planners and association planners. Members of these groups are invited to see and experience a destination, hotels and venues to get familiar with the offering at that specific destination.
FAM trips are usually fully hosted programs and for that reason can collide with compliance issues of some companies.
Another reason for a FAM trip is one of the most important foundations of business life in the MICE industry: the networking! We do business with the people we know and trust.
Getting to know, understand and experience a destination, hotel or venue is crucial for our future planning and design.
For that reason, the stakes are high, when organizing a FAM trip.
If we, as planner, have a good experience, we can offer this to our clients.
If we don't, we won’t!
The pressure is on the organizers. Considering that it is not the easiest task, organizing and planning an event for event planners, there are some that do it really well and others who fail dramatically.
These are some points FAM trip planners have to consider:
First and foremost , they have to respect the time the participants spend at this event. This includes offering a real good experience without demanding too much from them. There are usually so many nice and interesting venues, hotels and sights to see at any given destination. If this ends in schedule overload, running from one place to another to see them all, the participants will not have a good experience. There has to be a good balance between information input and time for digesting the information. Some FAM trip agendas hardly offer some time to breathe in-between or even a toilet break.
Think of the moments the future buyers have to spend doing calls or emails, having conversations, creating relations, reading a book or just enjoying some time on their own.
Second . Spend the time travelling wisely! When travelling in a bus, train or airplane between different sights, give the participants some tasks, related to the destination or supporting the networking. The travelling time can be quite long and has the potential to be considered as annoying. So, keep it short or make it feel short. Use gamification or facilitated networking methods. And always, always (!!) offer water to drink and the possibility to have toilet breaks!
Third . Create a sense for your participants. Hear them, feel them, listen to the conversations. Only then you can see if you are offering the right things for this specific group. Be flexible and change the agenda, if you see a need for more or less information about something. Don't stick to the plan, if you realize it’s not working!!
For this, you have to be able to actively listen to the participants. You have to have people with good networking skills and active listening skills among the group. Be an active part of it.
Fourth . Design this event like any other. You have to know the expectations and the status quo of the knowledge of your participants and future buyers to be able to offer a good tailor-made program. To be informed, ask questions. Involve the participants even before attending. Work on this information and the objectives of this specific event. Everything has to be in line with the objectives. If you can’t do it yourself, ask an experiences Meeting Designer to the program.
Fifth . Create an atmosphere of trust. In the end we all want to do business. This will only happen, if the foundation is laid out where we can build upon. If the FAM trip is a success and the participants trust in the information given to them and in the organizing partners, they will buy! We choose the places we had a good experience at and consult our clients accordingly. If we do not trust and our experience is minor, we will not buy! It’s that simple.
If a FAM trip is designed according to these steps, the investment made will be returned in business. Quite obviously the FAM trip organizer and their sponsoring partners have investments. But please do also consider, that the participants are investing their time and money to see and experience this destination. Respect both investments.
Try it! You will see how it works!
#famtrips #hostedbuyer #trust #partnership #engagingmeetings #meetingdesign #eventprofs #meetingprofs #tryit #consulting #coaching #training #meeting #event
Kommunikation ist nie einfach!
- Industry insights
- Industry glossary
Familiarisation (FAM) Trip
A programme designed to acquaint potential buyers with specific destinations or services and to stimulate the booking of an event. Often offered in groups, but sometimes on an individual basis.
RELATED TERMS: FAM TRIP , FAM .
14 FAM Trip Tips to Follow If You Want to Be Invited Back
by Allison Fazio
August 3, 2018
Ah, FAM trips. The glitz the glam—the gift baskets! With all the star treatment and the wining and dining, it can be easy to forget that you’re actually at work. Fatal error No. 1. Familiarization trips are no doubt a perk for those in the meetings industry, but they are not your next vacation. You’d be surprised how many professionals fail to realize that. Don’t be one of those people.
Smart Meetings CEO Marin Bright has seen it all in her years in the events industry. We asked her what it takes to be a standout—nigh, FAMtastic—trip participant. Here are her tips:
1. FAMs are business trips. Act like you’re at the office—even if you’re in Hawaii.
2. Only accept FAM trips to destinations and hotels that could actually serve your attendees.
3. Hit the tarmac dressed for success. You never know who you will sit next to you on the plane.
4. Be punctual. To everything.
5. When you’re getting a tour of the guest rooms, don’t test out the bed.
6. We mean it. It looks bad.
7. FAM with a plan! Go in with a list of events in the planning stage so you are open to any possibility for designing brilliant experiences that may cross your path.
8. Be open. That thing you have never considered before may be the perfect thing to mix up an annual meeting that has become predictable.
9. Don’t get too personal. Your hosts need to know more about your business than they do about your latest diet cleanse.
10. No jeans to dinner. C’mon.
11. No uninvited guests.
12. No breaks! You’ll want to take measurements, jot down notes and snap photos—these will serve you when you’re searching for the perfect venue six months down the road.
13. Come away with three action items every day. Three people you can connect with when it comes time to make meeting magic happen.
14. While you might feel VIP, be humble. This needs to be a win-win experience for the hosts.
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FAM Trip, the events for wedding planners that you were waiting for
Periodista especializada en bodas y eventos. Redactora en Perfect Venue y autora del libro 'Todo lo que quedó cuando te fuiste".
Organizing a wedding isn’t a simple task , we all know it perfectly. There are many details and elements to consider: from the place for the celebration and the presents for the guests to choosing the photographer, the dress and the theme of the wedding. A very stressful task that often means huge headaches for the couple. This is why the wedding planners’ role is so important in a wedding: its work regarding the organization of everything related to the ceremony and the celebration is essential for the couple not to get exhausted and for them to enjoy the whole process and live the wedding of their dreams.
For this reason, Perfect Venue has decided to organize the Seventh Edition of the Wedding FAM Trip , a five-days-event aimed at wedding planners which will deal with relevant issues of interest for all professionals devoted to the wedding sector. The aim of the FAM Trip is to get to know many professionals from the sector in order to widen your contact network and earn more potential clients. In addition to this, you will be able to visit different venues in various Spanish cities, seeing with your own eyes the magic of every single one of these places and being part of four photoshoots in different regions.
The FAM Trip will start on October 28 th in Barcelona , where you will visit two exclusive venues. The days will then go on in Valencia and end in Madrid. In both cities, different themed photoshoots will be made and then offered to all participants. Wine and typical Spanish dishes degustations will also be held in some of the venues that you will visit.
Among all the places that have been chosen to celebrate the FAM Trip we find from hotels with sea views and rustic estates full of vineyards to exclusive spaces located in the center of the city. Thus, in five days, attendees can see different spaces and a variety of possible scenarios and environments for a wedding.
The best? Each day they will have the possibility of organizing a shooting , with different styles and the latest nuptial trends, so that when it comes to putting into practice all their knowledge and start organizing a wedding have a variety of ideas and proposals in their head. Among the spaces to be visited are Palacio de Cibeles , Sinsombrero , Castillo de Viñuelas and Bodegas Francisco Gómez .
Seventh Edition of the FAM Trip
- When? From October 28 th to November 1rst.
- Where? It will start in Barcelona, go on in Valencia and end in Madrid
- October 28 th : Departure from Barcelona (10 am), visit of the Mas de Sant Lleí (1 pm), visit and photoshoot at the Hotel Sunway (3 pm)
- October 29 th : Check out of the Hotel Sunway (10 am) and arrival at Belvedere (3 pm)
- October 30 th : Arrival at Bodegas Francisco Gómez (11 am), photoshoot (15 pm) and arrival and visit of Meliá Palacio de los Duques (8 pm)
- October 31 st : Photoshoot at Palacio de los Duques (10 am), visit of Sinsombrero (7:30 pm) and arrival at Meliá Princesa (9 pm)
- November 1 st : Visit of the Soto de Gracia (12:30 pm), Castillo de Viñuelas (1:15 pm), Palacio de Cibeles (4 pm) and Fábrica de Tapices (5:30 pm)
The FAM Trip is an exceptional opportunity to get to know people related to the wedding sector, widen your range of contacts and get to know some of the most exclusive venues for weddings and events in Spain. A unique experience you really shouldn’t miss! If you’re interested in participating or if you have any questions on the issue, please do not hesitate to write to us at [email protected] ! And come with us on this fantastic and unforgettable week!
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Travel Agent FAM Trips: What is a FAM Trip?
Written by: Guest on April 16, 2018
There are a lot of perks to becoming a travel agent and one of them is FAM Trips. FAM Trip stands for “familiarization trip” and it is a trip exclusively for travel agents (and sometimes their guests!) that are provided by suppliers or travel operators. Seminars at Sea are similar to FAM trips, but they are offered by cruise lines and give agents the chance to experience the ships and sailing itineraries that they’ll be selling.
These trips are provided as a way for agents to gain an understanding of the benefits of different trips that they can sell to their clients.
When you’ve seen a resort or on a cruise for yourself, you can better help your clients understand what to expect. The more first-hand experience you have, the better you will be able to choose the perfect vacation for your clients based on their wants and needs .
KHM Travel Group agents participate in various FAM Trips and Seminars at Sea throughout the year. We have excellent relationships with many of the top preferred suppliers in the industry, and that allows our agents to get great deals and have wonderful experiences on FAM trips.
One of many benefits to becoming a travel agent, these “working trips” allow our agents to have fun, enjoyable and useful experiences at resorts and destinations across the country and around the world. When you go on a FAM Trip, you will return with the education and confidence you need to make new bookings! In fact, you can take photos and post them on your own social media accounts or share them directly with your clients to spark their desire to reach out to you about their next trip.
Another benefit to FAM trips and Seminars at Sea is that while you’re having fun, you also get the opportunity to network with other travel agents! While these trips are “working trips” there is usually time set aside for agents to relax and enjoy the pools, beaches, bars and other activities. Take advantage of the “down time” and mingle with fellow agents and discuss what has and hasn’t worked for their business. Make sure to exchange information and stay in contact. It’s a great way to extend your professional network!
Curious about what these trips are like? Check out our recaps from a few of our past FAM trips and Seminars at Sea:
KHM Travel Agents Experience Culture & Adventure on Azores FAM
Club Med FAM Highlights an Action-Packed, All-Inclusive Punta Cana Experience
Exploring the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Getaway Seminar at Sea
Want to become a KHM travel agent? Contact us to learn more about this rewarding career, or easily get started online today .
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Caribbean Culture & Landscape
Caribbean famtrips, what is caribbean famtrips.
We provide the opportunity for travel professionals to not only tour resorts but become immersed in the culture and beauty of the Caribbean itself. Our FamTrips include resort-specific training as well as best practices, social media, technology, and more!
From the Owners:
We are a group of travel professionals and hotel entrepreneurs that know and understand the travel industry today. we have experienced the challenges and changes within the industry and combined have over 20 years of expertise within the field of travel. we have learned that creating solid partnerships and relationships within the travel industry is vital to lasting success. we need each other to ensure the future success of the travel industry..
Caribbean FamTrips came about from a passion for the travel industry and our love of the Caribbean and all it has to offer. Through our valued travel partners, we will provide the perfect channels to not only give travel professionals product and destination knowledge but the chance to create the relationships needed for success in the world of travel.
Caribbean FamTrips will provide the opportunity for travel professionals to not only tour resorts but become immersed in the culture and beauty of the many beautiful destinations of the Caribbean itself. Our FamTrips will include resort-specific training as well as best practices, social media, technology, and more.
We are excited to show you how beautiful the Caribbean is!
The Caribbean is made up of over 7,000 islands, 32 countries and 14 separate nations. It’s best known for its palm tree lined beautiful beaches, but there’s so much more to the Caribbean! There are over 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including historical sites like the 17th century Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St Kitts and Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, along with mesmerizing natural wonders like the Blue and John Crow Mountains in Jamaica. There’s more to the Caribbean than beaches, it is filled with tall majestic mountains, beautiful waterfalls and amazing foliage. The Caribbean is a melting pot of flavors. Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Creole, Cajun, American Indian, European, Latin American, Indian, Middle Eastern and Chinese.
We look forward to having you on our Caribbean FamTrips to The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas and more!
Preferred Travel Partners
Upcoming trips, please read- fam etiquette and guidelines.
- Please come prepared with a positive attitude and willingness to learn.
- Please be willing to collaborate and work together with fellow travel agents on your FAM trip.
- Do not be late to scheduled events. When one person is late it holds up events for the entire FAM trip and causes issues for our vendors and operations departments.
- You will be required to attend all scheduled events unless prior permission has been granted.
- Come prepared and dress appropriately and professionally. Dress codes will be sent for each FAM.
- Do not discuss with other guests what you paid for your stay.
- Do not solicit guests to book travel with you.
- Please do not stray from our group when on-site inspections. Ample time will be given for photographs and questions.
- Be courteous while on site inspections. Do not sit on beds or chairs, deposit anything into garbage cans or use any bathrooms while inspecting a property.
- Please be respectful and courteous at all times to our hosts and resort staff.
- Tipping – Tips are not included and are highly suggested.
- Do not show up to any scheduled events intoxicated, you will be sent home at your own expense and barred from attending any further Mexico FamTrip fams or events.
FAMILY FAM February 25-29 Nickelodeon Punta Cana
Includes, 4 nights All-Inclusive, transfers, sites, training, family activities and education. Flights not Included
$999 USD per Family. 2 adults – 2 kids (0-12)
FAMILY FAM March 17-21 Nickelodeon Punta Cana
Includes, 4 nights All-Inclusive, transfers, sites, training, family activities and education. Flights not Included
June 25 - July 2 - Saint Lucia and Grenada
Includes, 7 nights All-Inclusive / 2 nights Mystique Saint Lucia, 2 nights Royalton Saint Lucia and 3 nights Royalton Grenada, plus sites, training and education. Flights not Included $1,999 USD Single Occupancy
September 12-15, 2024- Royalton Chic Punta Cana
Includes: All-inclusive stay, Airport Transfers, Site Inspections and Education $600 USD Single Occupancy
September 15-18, 2024- Hard Rock Punta Cana
Includes: All-inclusive stay, Airport Transfers, Site Inspections and Education $800 USD Single Occupancy
First & Last Name
Select a Trip Select a Trip FAMILY FAM February 25-29 Nickelodeon Punta Cana FAMILY FAM March 17-21 Nickelodeon Punta Cana June 25 - July 2 - Saint Lucia and Grenada September 12-15, 2024- Royalton Chic Punta Cana September 15-18, 2024- Hard Rock Punta Cana
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Preferred Destinations Preferred Destinations Dominican Republic Mexico Saint Lucia Jamaica Bahamas USVI Aruba Barbados USA Europe Asia Australia New Zealand
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Niche Market- Select All That Apply Niche Market- Select All That Apply Destination Weddings Adults Only Family Travel Group Travel Adventure Travel LGBTQ Travel Luxury Travel River Cruising Ocean Cruising Theme Park Travel
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Select a Trip Select a Trip June 25 - July 2 - Saint Lucia and Grenada August 12-18, 2024- Moon Palace Jamaica & Royalton Blue Waters September 15-18, 2024- Hard Rock Punta Cana October 29-November 1 -Planet Hollywood Costa Rica
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The Paris Olympics Promise to Be Stunning. The Prices Already Are.
Want a prime spot to watch 10,000 athletes float by on the Seine or to catch beach volleyball in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower? Get ready for sticker shock.
By Liz Alderman
Reporting from Paris
The opening ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics promises to be spectacular: On the glittering waters of the Seine, a flotilla of barges will carry about 10,000 athletes to the foot of the Eiffel Tower, as nearly half a million spectators line the four-mile route to cheer on the event of the century.
Good luck, though, getting any one of the 100,000 ticketed seats to be front and center at the party. Those are mostly sold out — and the few left cost an eye-popping 2,700 euros, about $2,930 each. Tickets to watch another popular Olympic event, 10-meter men’s platform diving, start at €875. Women’s artistic gymnastics finals, a perennial crowd pleaser: around €1,799.
Paris Olympics organizers set a lofty goal for what they have called the People’s Games, promising to make the world’s most iconic sporting event equitable and accessible.
But get ready to pay up.
Seven months before the Olympic torch casts a glow in the City of Light this summer, the cost of getting into the most in-demand sports competitions, not to mention the price of accommodations and transportation, has risen — sometimes by Olympian proportions.
Many hotels and rental apartments have doubled or tripled their typical summer rates (think an average of €1,000 a night instead of €300), and some have even quintupled them. Airfares are rising fast. The cost of a Paris Metro ticket is temporarily doubling . Even the Louvre Museum and Palace of Versailles have ratcheted up admission fees.
Still dreaming of making the Olympic rendezvous? Don’t be too discouraged if you haven’t booked yet. The Games, which run from July 26 to Aug. 11, still have some ticket deals for large-crowd competitions like soccer and basketball. Spots also remain available for the Paralympics, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8. And some prices could start to come down closer to the Games.
Paris will be its own extraordinary attraction, transformed into a giant outdoor arena with competitions like break dancing at Place de la Concorde and beach volleyball at the Eiffel Tower. And President Emmanuel Macron will make cultural performances of all kinds free for two months in summer to fete the Olympic spirit.
Still, exactly how you experience the Games will depend on your budget. Here are some tips on what to expect.
Finding a place to stay
Paris is like a jewel box: dazzling but compact. With around 15 million visitors expected, and just around 85,000 guest rooms, hoteliers are taking full advantage of outsize demand. So are Parisians: Many are planning to flee the city, and are renting out their apartments at top dollar. Average Airbnb prices for Olympic dates have surpassed €500 a night.
At a typical Ibis hotel, a chain similar to Holiday Inn, expect to pay €400 to €700 a night for a fairly basic double room with Wi-Fi and breakfast, compared with €90 to €200 normally. A double room at the more upscale Hotel Ducs de Bourgogne near the Pont Neuf is priced on Booking.com at €1,500 a night, compared with €300 normally in summer.
Consumer associations, including UFC-Que Choisir , a French advocacy group, have denounced price increases that they say risk making the Olympics unaffordable to some.
The French government has said it won’t regulate prices, but will step up inspections of hotels and apartment rentals. “It’s essential that French and international tourists get their money’s worth,” said Olivia Grégoire, the minister in charge of tourism.
With the Games still months away, travelers can find less expensive accommodations that average closer to €450 to €550 a night, mainly at the outer edges of Paris or beyond the city limits, said Christie Hudson, a travel expert for Expedia.com .
But even there, the average cost of a one-night stay in the Île-de-France region that rings Paris is about €700 during the Olympics, compared with €169 last summer, according to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That trend could reverse: Some hotels haven’t released all their room inventory, and prices could come down as they seek to fill up their calendars. The downside of waiting is the risk of finding little available at the last minute — not ideal if you’ve already gotten your hands on event tickets or booked air travel.
Airbnb prices for Olympic dates have already cooled a touch, with rates for all listings, including private and shared rooms, now averaging around €542 a night, after surging to €746 in December, according to AirDNA , which tracks Airbnb booking trends. Tens of thousands of new listings have come online around France, and more supply is expected in the Paris region, a factor that should keep prices “affordable,” said Emmanuel Marill, the Europe, Middle East and Africa regional director at Airbnb.
If money is no object, hospitality offers via the Paris Games’ official partner, On Location , guarantee booking through all-inclusive packages that include tickets to select sports events and accommodation in three-, four- and five-star hotels. The options include €8,660 per person in a three-star hotel for eight nights and tickets only to rock climbing competitions, or €21,105 for a deluxe five-day package at the Waldorf Astoria in Versailles that includes the opening ceremony and equestrian events.
Travelers may need to watch out for sudden price jumps by hotels and rental hosts even after a booking is confirmed. Booking.com said it would compensate consumers for the cost difference in such cases. Airbnb said that hosts who tried to increase prices or cancel reservations after booking would face fees and penalties, and that the company would provide most guests with an instant credit to rebook immediately if their stay was canceled within 30 days of arrival.
Scoring tickets to events
If you’ve already gotten reasonably priced tickets, count yourself lucky. Around seven million have been purchased since sales began nearly a year ago on the official Paris 2024 ticketing website . But you can still get into a variety of events, especially team sports at venues outside Paris, including soccer at the 80,700-seat stadium in St.-Denis.
Tickets priced from €90 to €250 also remain for volleyball, handball, archery, badminton and weight lifting, mostly for non-medal competitions.
But blockbuster sports have become all but inaccessible, unless you are willing to splurge. Tickets to events like gymnastics and diving are currently unavailable on the official website. Prices topped €600 before the blocks that had been made available sold out.
Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, has defended prices and said that tickets are cheaper than those of the 2012 London Olympics.
Bundles of new tickets are released every so often, and organizers urge visitors to check the website frequently or sign up for alerts. More spots will become available on April 17, when the official, and only authorized, resale platform for ticket holders goes online.
At this stage, though, much of the only remaining access to very high-demand events is through On Location’s pricey “hospitality packages,” with options like men’s springboard diving tickets starting at €695 and opening ceremony access ranging from €5,000 to €9,500 per person.
On Location offers a “wide variety” of packages, said Will Whiston, the company’s executive vice president for Olympics and Paralympics, adding that its prices were “in line with and, in some cases, lower than previous Games.”
Getting to, and around, Paris
Round-trip airfares to Paris are already starting to creep up. Nonstop flights on Expedia.com from New York to Paris start at around $1,300 the weekend before the Olympics, up from an average of $1,000 last summer. Generally, travelers can get the best airfare by booking 60 days out. But “prices are expected to increase as the travel dates get closer, so it’s smart to book sooner rather than later,” said Ms. Hudson, the travel expert at Expedia.
If you’re willing to travel light, consider using a discount carrier such as French Bee , which flies round-trip from New York to Paris-Orly Airport for $975, without checked baggage, or Icelandair , requiring a stopover in Reykjavik, starting at about $800 round-trip, also without checked bags. Another option is to fly into an alternate airport, either in France or a nearby country like Belgium, Britain or Germany, and take a train.
Once in Paris, brace yourself for getting around. Olympics organizers want to slash the Games’ carbon footprint, and swaths of the city will be closed to cars. Organizers are placing a premium on walking, cycling and public transportation.
While Metro prices are jumping to €4 per ride, tourists can buy a Paris 2024 pass costing €16 a day, or €70 per week, allowing travel across the Île-de-France region, including to and from Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.
Paris has added about 55 miles of new cycling lanes to the more than 270 miles already carved out in the city, encouraging visitors to use them. The Velib rental program is being expanded to add 3,000 more bikes to the current 22,000-strong fleet.
Despite all the potential hassles, Mr. Estanguet, the head of the organizing committee, has promised that the Games will be worth the trip. “Let me convince you to come, because this moment is unique,” he said. “You won’t see it again, and you won’t be disappointed.”
Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .
Liz Alderman is the chief European business correspondent, writing about economic, social and policy developments around Europe. More about Liz Alderman
Elon Musk to attend event near Auschwitz death camp, Jewish group says
The tech billionaire also is scheduled to take part in a discussion with conservative media personality ben shapiro amid blowback over antisemitism on musk’s x platform.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is scheduled next week to visit the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland next week as part of an event to discuss antisemitism, the European Jewish Association said Thursday.
The two-day event scheduled to start Monday is meant to highlight the “disconcerting surge of anti-Semitism in Europe that has been escalating” since Hamas ’s Oct. 7 attack in Israel, the European Jewish Association said on its website. Musk will be at Auschwitz and attend other events in Krakow, according to association spokesman Nir Natan.
An agenda for the event shows Musk scheduled to appear at a symposium in Krakow for a discussion Monday with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. Participants are scheduled to visit Auschwitz on Tuesday.
Shapiro has appeared publicly before with Musk on the subject of antisemitism. In a largely sympathetic Sept. 28 discussion broadcast on X, Musk said he went to a Hebrew preschool in South Africa and described himself as “aspirationally Jewish.”
Musk recently has faced criticism over the spread of antisemitic content on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, which Musk purchased and took private in 2022. The Anti-Defamation League reported that antisemitic content surged more than 900 percent on X in the weeks after the Israel-Gaza conflict erupted Oct. 7, with Musk using his own account to amplify antisemitic tropes. The White House criticized him for “abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate,” while a number of major advertisers fled the platform.
Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League over the report. But he has also embarked on a series of media appearances in which he rebuked the Hamas militants for murdering innocent civilians. He toured a kibbutz with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late November and shown a video documenting atrocities against Jews on Oct. 7.
Musk did not immediately respond to an email request for comment Thursday.
King County Metro bus crashes into Seattle skate park during youth program
by KOMO News Staff
SEATTLE — A King County Metro bus crashed into an indoor skate park in Seattle’s Atlantic neighborhood Wednesday evening.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) said officers responded to a report of a crash involving a Metro bus and a vehicle on the 1600 block of S Jackson St. around 6 p.m. Wednesday. Responding officers found the bus had hit a nearby warehouse after the crash.
“The spot where (the bus) hit is one of our more popular skate features, so it is a miracle that nobody got injured,” Finn Bradberry, director of Skate Like a Girl's Seattle chapter , told KOMO News Thursday morning.
A Metro spokesperson told KOMO News the Route 14 bus was traveling east on South Jackson Street and was reportedly cut off when another car turned in front of the bus, “forcing the operator to swerve the bus to avoid a collision.” Photos and video from the scene show the bus went through the wall of a building. The Metro bus was still partially inside the building Thursday morning.
Skate Like a Girl Seattle posted on social media Wednesday night saying the Metro bus “ran into our warehouse today during a youth program." Bradberry told KOMO News about 30 people were inside when the bus crashed through the wall of the building.
Programs at Skate Like a Girl Seattle’s warehouse, which is its only indoor facility, will be “temporarily paused while we figure out next steps,” the organization said on social media.
“In Seattle, with the weather, we can really only skate around 100 days a year outside,” Bradberry said. “So, having an indoor space is critical.”
Earlier this month, Skate Like a Girl Seattle posted on Facebook about the return of free skateboarding sessions for students every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. at the nonprofit’s warehouse until the end of March. But Thursday morning, the organization said "the future is uncertain."
“We are really hoping the warehouse can be fixed but it might ultimately be condemned,” Skate Like a Girl Seattle posted on its Instagram story Thursday morning . “We have weekly sessions planned for all winters, and registered programs, camps, and workshops for kids and adults starting as soon as this Saturday. Right now we have no clue how we’re gonna make it all work.”
King County Metro said about 25 people were on the bus at the time of the crash. The Seattle Fire Department said all of the passengers “safely evacuated the bus.”
No one inside the building was hurt, Skate Like a Girl Seattle said in a social media post. The Metro spokesperson also confirmed to KOMO News no one in the warehouse was injured.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.
LBJ Library's 'Music America' to include memorabilia of Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, more
There's never too much music in Austin, right?
With that in mind, the LBJ Presidential Library has teamed up with the Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music to present "Music America: Iconic Objects from America's Music." The exhibit of more than 100 music-themed objects will open Feb. 17 and run through Aug. 11.
Get ready for memorabilia from some giants of American music history, including Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie, B.B. King, Leonard Bernstein, John Coltrane, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Chuck D, Gloria Estefan and Taylor Swift.
Spend time with Holiday's fox fur, King's guitar "Lucille," one of Presley's special-made velvet shirts, Bernstein's baton, Coltrane's sax, D's handwritten lyrics to "Fight the Power," one of Swifts's guitars and a costume she wore on the Reputation Stadium Tour, as well as Madonna'swedding dress from the "Like a Virgin" video.
Linger over Estefan's sequined dress from her 1996 tour, Guthrie'ssigned "This Land is Your Land" lyrics, Willie Nelson'scowboy boots given to him by Gene Autry's widow, Prince's "Purple Rain" shirt and his "Cloud" guitar, along with the outfit Springsteen wore on the "Born in the U.S.A. " album cover.
After Austin stop, 'Music America' will travel the country
Curated by the Springsteen Archives, "Music America" also reflects contributions from Hard Rock International and Museum and New Orleans Jazz Museum. After August, the show will tour other museum venues around the U.S., but folks in Austin will see it first.
Robert Santelli, director of the Springsteen Archives, sees the exhibit as part of a broader historical perspective.
"Not only do we have a longstanding relationship with the library, but so much of America's greatest music history occurred in the 1960s when President Johnson was in the White House," he says. "It seemed only natural that this exhibition, which also celebrates America's 250th birthday in 2026, begins in Austin, one of the country's most important music centers, and will then travel to other presidential libraries and museums across the country."
It would not be a show about American music without the sounds of American music, which can be sampled at a "Song Bar" that features some of the musicians foregrounded in the exhibit. Visitors will also be able to make suggestions for future music samples.