Called Familiarization (FAM) trips or Destination Showcases, these site visits are put on by Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) for meeting planners to learn more about prospective meeting sites.
Your organization may have rules concerning FAM trips. Consult these before you confirm.
If you attend, treat your host the way you prefer to be treated when people attend your meetings. Here are some tips:
Consider the destination. FAMs can be expensive for their hosts and must demonstrate a corresponding return-on-investment (ROI). Don't accept an invite to attend a FAM if it's unlikely that your organization will actually hold a meeting there. If you're not sure if the city is a possibility, let the host know. They'll decide if it's worth the investment. Some CVBs will keep a waiting list for planners in this situation.
Remember, it's work. Make sure to stick to the FAM schedule and attend all the site visits and functions the CVB has arranged. After all, you're going so you can get a feel and taste of the destination.
Don't complain. Remember how much it takes you to put on your meetings? Well, it's the same here for CVBs. If they provide an evaluation at the end, give honest, constructive feedback. But during the FAM, keep negative thoughts about the site visits to yourself and keep the gossip back at the office.
Be prepared. Pack appropriate shoes and clothes for the destination and climate. Most FAMs include lots of walking during the day and some kind of reception or meal function in the evening. Comfortable shoes are important. If you're not sure what's expected, then ask your host.
Under what circumstances do you attend a FAM trip?