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Up the ROI of Your FAM Event

June 15, 2016

Aaahhh the FAM trip, often a love/hate experience. On one hand FAM’s or Familiarization Trips are a great way to pool your resources and share the best of your destination. On the other hand they can be extremely time consuming and costly, particularly if your not adept at tracking ROI. You may spend thousands of dollars and plenty of hours on FAM’s pulling out all stops, elevating the experience and doing everything in your power to make certain potential clients see the value of bringing business to your area. But what happens afterwards? Is your phone ringing off the hook, are emails and RFP’s flowing in? If not you probably need to up the ROI of your FAM event.

Did you know that the first 24 – 48 hours after the FAM is crucial to your ROI? Yet here is where the ball often gets dropped. In fact according to an article in USA Today, 48 percent of salespeople NEVER follow up with prospects. OUCH! That’s a huge number especially given the money and time invested to woo prospects. If that 48% number isn’t staggering enough, here is a breakdown of the number of touches it takes to convert a prospect to a client:

  • 2 percent of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3 percent of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5 percent of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10 percent of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80 percent of sales are made on the fifth to 12th contact

Translation – follow up is crucial to conversion! So are you following up and if so, how soon after your initial contact. Do you have a plan in place, one that is ready to go at a moments notice?

To help increase your FAM conversion rates we’ve listed some tips from sales experts along with a few from our own experience:

Set the stage for an effective follow up with a pre-event campaign

Yep, we’re talking prior to, not just after. Although the crux of this article is on follow up, the initial contact is also important can be woven into a successful follow up campaign. Set the stage for an over-the-top FAM experience by sending attendees thorough information with creative touches in advance. Share as much information about your destination ahead of the FAM, which will allow planners to start thinking about which groups would fit, and what they would want to experience in the destination. This information will then help you to better prepare a targeted follow up campaign.

Example: Sending a FAM itinerary, with suggested attire, pertinent facts and reference points is important but try adding some unusual tidbits that they may not be aware of. Are there any historical points, famous or infamous landmarks? Any stories you can share that bring your destination to life? Remember much of a FAM trip is about the experience. Try adding an element of surprise that you can later carry through with your follow up campaign. The hospitality industry can be non-stop busy, so help ease the load with some fun. Incorporating a game or a mental challenge can stir up excitement. Can you create engagement with scavenger hunt type clues, sent weekly for a month prior to the FAM? Continue the clues through the arrival, on the airport transfer, and in the room, culminating with the Welcome Reception. Later these clues can be used as part of your follow up campaign. This is a creative industry let your mind expand and have some fun! Are there items you can incorporate as clues? Will the bulk of your FAM be spent outside? If so, perhaps you can send a branded visor or hat, sunglass case, or backpack.

Have a specific follow up plan in place prior to the FAM

If you haven’t had a chance to set the stage with pre-FAM experiences then do so with your follow up. Create a campaign relative to the FAM experience and have at least the first few follow-up pieces in place, ready to send, once the FAM kicks off.

Examples: Are group friendly restaurants or unique dining experiences key to potential clients. Try creating an ongoing recipe for successful meetings in your destination. Include a recipe from one of your top chefs along with reasons to bring groups to the destination – (in clever recipe format, of course), and add visuals!

Photos are a great way to keep in front of attendees and remind them of how perfect your destination is for their group. Take plenty of action photos during the FAM trip and assemble them in a digital book with information on the property, destination, activities, and experiences. Be certain to include any pertinent facts and contact information. You can easily do this online through any digital photo developer.

Always have a reason to reach out after a FAM

We’re inundated with email blasts, so how do you get heard? Specificity. It’s specificity that rises above the noise. Reaching out to ‘touch base’ or ‘check in’ simply says there’s no real reason to open your email. A FAM enables you to make a connection. It’s almost a crime not to capitalize on that connection by sending a personal, relevant follow up message specific to the FAM or the potential client. Take the time to ask the questions necessary to help you target your campaign. More than likely there will be some aspects of your destination that some groups may find more appealing than others. Which means you’ll probably have to split your follow up send in order to be more targeted. But, taking the time to do so can make a huge difference to your FAM ROI.

Looking for the ideal destination for your next group meeting and missed a FAM trip? Connect with Visit Newport Beach for a thorough site inspection. As a destination specialist and partner, Visit Newport Beach can simplify the meeting planning process and offers resources that can extend the meeting budget.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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