The Future of FAM Trips & Press Events: What Journalists Expect
When it comes to showing off a destination to journalists or influencers, nothing beats bringing them out to experience it in person. On a familiarization (FAM) trip, they can enjoy a full immersion. FAM trips and press events let attendees visit the best restaurants, mingle with locals, or just get an authentic feel for a place.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary end to media FAM trips (and press events in general). But they will be back — perhaps sooner rather than later. How are members of the media currently feeling about attending post-COVID FAM trips or events? We’ve got a little inside intel.
Solo FAM Trips: Individual Trips Will Be The First To Come Back
Overall consensus among journalists is that most of them would not consider traveling for FAM trips at least another month. Even then, they would only consider individual trips that are accessible in their own vehicles, within a six-to-ten-hour drive-time. A key takeaway here is that destinations should be actively nurturing and building relationships with local freelancers. These writers and influencers will be instrumental in showcasing offerings to both regional and national audiences. Additionally, our sources suggest that national parks and destinations that have plenty of outdoor adventure options will be the places writers will be most interested in visiting in the upcoming months.
Above & Beyond: Group Trips Will Have To Ensure Safety & Hygiene
Most travel writers and influencers are not open to group trips yet. However, when they do start considering them, they will need verification on how social distancing will be practiced with the group. Since these writers/influencers will be the first to showcase your destination, it’s vital that they report back to readers and followers that they felt safe and comfortable throughout their trips. That means going above and beyond in terms of cleanliness and hygiene. Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Travel Association’s guidance for promoting the health and safety of all travelers.
- In order to maintain comfort for both attendees and organizers, groups will need to remain small — no more than three to four members of the media.
- ALL partners must use proper PPE and ensure social distance standards. That means destinations will need to coordinate heavily with any and all attractions, accommodations and transportation providers to ensure that everyone is on exactly the same page.
- Many travel writers will wait until 2021 to fly again and will start with domestic trips before considering international travel.
Online FAMs: Local Events Will Return, But Virtual is Still Preferred
Most writers are open to local events. But many said they will be spending their time visiting friends and family before attending an event with mostly strangers. In the meantime, writers have been overwhelmingly positive about virtual events. An entirely online FAM trip may not be possible. Now, it’s time to strategize about how to best show off a destination virtually. Invest in high resolution cameras and quality audio equipment. Train your local partners in best practices for online interviews and tours. Find fresh and fun ways to bring your destination to life on a computer screen. Happy hours or coffee breaks are great examples of experiential online events. You can send journo friends care packages with local goodies so that they can enjoy from afar.
Takeaways For Post-COVID FAM Trips
Start arranging individual media visits with local/regional writers for late summer / early fall.
Ensure that your entire destination is onboard with proper safety guidelines and precautions.
Up your online FAM trip and virtual media events game. Find new ways to bring your destination to life in the virtual arena.
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