I&D Series 2015

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Q: I’m new to the industry, and I keep hearing the phrase “fam trip.” What does that stand for?

A: According to the dictionary: A fam (familiarization) trip is a free (or low-cost) trip for travel consultants and meeting professionals (including planners, journalists and travel agents) provided by a travel operator, hotel, venue or airline as a means of promoting its service.

From personal experience, going on a fam trip is a great way to get to know the city and property at which you’re thinking of hosting your retreat or corporate event. You get the feel of the city, the people and the venue, and many ideas will occur during your visit.

An average fam trip takes 2-3 days. Normally, the host either pays for your flight or will send you a check for an already agreed-upon amount after the trip. Your hotel accommodations and local transportation will be paid fully or discounted. As for meals, you don’t have to worry about that part at all. If anything, you’ll always overeat on such trips. (At least I usually do!) The host typically takes care of your fam trip meals because that’s the best way to introduce you to the facility’s food quality as well as different city venues and attractions.

I recently had the tremendous pleasure of going on a fam trip to Cancun, Mexico. I must say it was a major eyeopener for me – I never knew the potential until I got there.

My host was Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun. Roberto Romero, the international sales manager, and his incredible coworkers made me feel very welcome. The hotel, restaurants and customer service level were beyond my expectations. (Remember, I produce events in Las Vegas, a city built on hospitality, so it isn’t easy to impress me!)

I’ve been on many fam trips, but nothing like that, to be honest. Along with the magnificent hotels, restaurants, and amazing foods (specifically, the fruit), it was the people and their hospitality that really made the trip. You can go anywhere for great locations and prices, but do you get the service? In Cancun, you definitely do!

Furthermore, going to Mexico has many advantages, especially in this economy. The U.S. dollar goes a long way in Mexico, and international meetings and conventions don’t have to pay the country’s value added tax (VAT), which adds significant savings. Most importantly, getting there is easy. Mexico has 57 international and 28 national airports served by major worldwide airlines.

Next, you have different options for different budgets. You can explore the magnificent tropical, on-the-ocean Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, then continue to a higher-quality property, Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun, and finish up with a visit to Fiesta Americana’s ultimate newest and amazing property, Aqua Cancun. Trust me, you’ll be amazed by the quality and beauty.

For attractions, an intricate part of any event, you have to have the right partner. One of the best companies I’ve encountered in a long time (and remember that A to Z Events is a DMC in Vegas) is Tropical Incentives Cancun DMC. Alejandra Hernández Zíta and her coworker Alberto Tlahuel are amazing. They’ll take care of your attendees and their families as though they were their own.

Mexico has endless attractions, from historic sites to caves such as Rio Secreto to the magnificent, turquoise 80-degree water and swimming in the open waters. When you can save money, stay in top hotels and enjoy the best foods (especially the fresh fruit – watermelon is my favorite) and your guests’ families are busy enjoying themselves so they themselves can concentrate on the conference, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Cancun fits the bill perfectly. Where else you can do all that?

So don’t wait – explore the idea of taking your next retreat, conference or other event to beautiful Cancun, Mexico.

“You ask; our experts will answer.” ECN welcomes your questions about every aspect of exhibit management and the eventplanning field. Submit questions online today at: www.AskCalanit.com.

Posted in Ask A to Z's Experts
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