FAM Trips- Proper Business Etiquette #Travel

Congratulations you’ve been invited on a press trip! These trips are also sometimes known as FAM (familiarization) trips and have been a longtime staple of the travel community and have now spread to other industries as well. Typically print journalists, travel agents, and others affiliated with the booking process for vacations were invited to attend these trips. The hope of sponsors is to give those who are writing about or selling their products to get a better understanding of the product. Today, more and more bloggers are seen as a new type of journalist and are being invited on both traditional style trips with a mix of other attendees and on FAM trips specifically aimed at them.

While it may seem like a fantastic opportunity to take a vacation, go somewhere new, and have new experiences it’s important to keep a few points in mind as you embark on your way.

FAM-tour

Don’t act entitled

If this is your first FAM trip it’s likely that everything will be a new experience and you’ll be soaking up everything. But, once you do it a few times you may pick up some bad habits. One thing that organizers of these trips dislike are people who act entitled. Yes, this is work and yes, you potentially doing organizers due diligence when you write about or share your experience however, you’ve been invited to attend. Don’t behavior in a way that shows them (or other attendees) you should be treated differently or in a special way because you run xyz blog.

Be gracious. Say thank you regularly.

Good manners go a long way. This goes back to the first point. Don’t forget your manners and regularly say thank you to organizers, hosts, and anyone else that facilitates your experience. When the trip is over, sending a thank you email or note can go a long way and make a good impression.

Tipping

Unless otherwise noted, you should expect to cover gratuities while on the FAM trip. This means tipping housekeeping staff if you’re staying overnight, and tipping in restaurants. You also should be prepared to pay for beverages while eating meals that are covered as often times they are not included (especially alcoholic drinks.)

Understand the expectations and follow through

This is fairly straight forward. Before accepting a trip have a conversation about what their expectations are. Would they like social media mentions? A blog post? Whatever it is, know before you say yes and then be sure to follow through.

Dress appropriately

This is a business trip. Represent yourself professionally by dressing appropriately. Know what the schedule is ahead of time if possible and plan accordingly. If you are going to a foreign country, spend some time getting to know what is and isn’t acceptable attire for that location. When in doubt, always dress more modestly in business casual attire.

Participate in the planned activities

Unless you have a really good reason not to, such as illness or allergies you should plan to participate in everything that has been planned. Having the schedule ahead of time can help you talk with the organizers ahead of the event if there is anything you feel uncomfortable with. Organizers have often spent months planning an event and when participants simply decide to slip off or not participate it looks very disrespectful.

What other tips do you have for participating in press or FAM trips?

Comments

  1. Great info in this post Kim. Thanks so much for putting it together.

    I would add "don't monopolize the hosts" (straddles "don't act entitled" and "good manners"). Everyone is there for the same reasons so don't prevent others from getting the information they need.

    Oh, and take pictures. Lots of pictures.

    xo
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  2. Excellent post! Spot on!

    Wish every blogger would read this.

    FAM trips are awesome! Being grateful to have been selected to attend is key.

    Would add that if a blogger is invited and has a suggestion to make to the host, that the blogger should think of how to frame their suggestion in a positive, professional way.

    They invite you because they think you bring something positive and promising to the table, not because they hope you’ll come to be critical and condescending.

    Thanks for your insightful post! Love your blog!

  3. Rebecca Swenor says

    This great advice for the travel bloggers indeed. I think the key point is to remember it is work and to be respectful. Thanks for sharing,.

  4. Great tips! I guess I have been fortunate to not run into any bloggers or media breaking any of these tips, every trip I have taken has had very courteous and conscientious attendees. The first time I went on one of these trips I did not know quite how things were going to work. These are really great tips!

  5. Savannah Miller says

    These are all great tips! As someone whom has never been on a FAM trip I sadly have no great tips to share!

  6. I agree with you on these tips. If a company or brand is going to put forth the effort and expense to entertain you, the least you can do is tip well and say thank you. I dont even understand how someone could act entitled!
    My recent post The Teal Pumpkin Project is a New Tradition in Our Home

  7. hannah staveley says

    Fab post with very good information thanks ever so much for sharing.

  8. Those are great tips. I know for myself, if I receive great service I tip very well.

  9. Hopefully I'll be invited to a FAM trip one day soon. I really enjoy getting to know our partners better and familarize myself not only with them, but their products as well.

  10. All great tips thanks. I agree with you all these are very important to make a good impression.
    I used to wait with my thank you note till my article was ready but as that can take quite some time, I now do an additional one about a week after the trip.
    My recent post Ultimate Romance in Astarte Suites

  11. I couldn't agree more. I guess we should always put these tips in mind for a business travel. Thanks for sharing.
    My recent post The Rubber Duck Project in Korea

  12. I have never done one of these trips. I agree you should never act entitled and always be gracious. I would love to go on a trip and write about all the great things we tried.

  13. I traveled a lot as a kid and learned quickly that you have to respect the places you don't call home! But as far as the tipping goes- there are some places you just cant tip. Like waiters in Germany…it's already included and they look at you like you're an ass! LOL

  14. These are such great tips for business traveling. I hope to go to FAM one day.

  15. No truer words were spoken Kim… be polite, grateful and follow through. Thanks for the reminders.

  16. Great tips in this post! One suggestion I would add: While doing your before trip research, look for the odd little, off-beat stories other attendees might not know about or be writing. Be prepared to look for the details for that story while on the trip. Inform your sponsor about the idea IWELL IN ADVANCE to see if getting the info will be feasible. Often, I find they are eager to accommodate you to get a different take on their destination. For example, I was once on a press trip that spent a few days in Glasgow. I'm an architecture fan and my research turned up a number of wonderful examples of Charles Rennie Macintosh buildings and interiors in Glasgow. I wrote a query to a print magazine and got an assignment and a contract. With contract in hand, my sponsor was more than happy to give me a driver for a few hours of independent on-the-ground visits while the rest of the group went to a botanical garden. I was extremely grateful and let them know it. I got a paid assignment out of it. The sponsor got a unique angle on a story. And I got invited back on a future trip. Everybody won!

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  17. Great tips in this post! One suggestion I would add: While doing your before trip research, look for the odd little, off-beat stories other attendees might not know about or be writing. Be prepared to look for the details for that story while on the trip. Inform your sponsor about the idea IWELL IN ADVANCE to see if getting the info will be feasible. Often, I find they are eager to accommodate you to get a different take on their destination. For example, I was once on a press trip that spent a few days in Glasgow. I'm an architecture fan and my research turned up a number of wonderful examples of Charles Rennie Macintosh buildings and interiors in Glasgow. I wrote a query to a print magazine and got an assignment and a contract. With contract in hand, my sponsor was more than happy to give me a driver for a few hours of independent on-the-ground visits while the rest of the group went to a botanical garden. I was extremely grateful and let them know it. I got a paid assignment out of it. The sponsor got a unique angle on a story. And I got invited back on a future trip. Everybody won!

  18. cottagebunny says

    This is a fabulous post with some very good points.People always remember that first impression and practising good manners is so important to everyone.Thanks for sharing this.

  19. Thanks for these tips! I am keeping them in mind. I will be attending my first ever event and I really have no idea on what to do, so your post is really helpful.

  20. How does one GET invited on a press trip? If you could contact me I would love to know more. I have been blogging for several years and have been looking for a way to break into this. Thanks for any info you can give.
    My recent post FREE: Simple Skincare Wipes Sample

  21. Very good blog.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

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