One of the perks of being in the travel industry are the fam trips. I’ve been involved in the travel industry for over 12 years at the start of my working career. Fam trips had taken me to all the territories of Australia except Western Australia, almost all parts of New Zealand, Borneo, Philippines, USA and many more.Other than destinations, I was entertained by Tourism Boards, cruise ships that docked and sent agents to dine in their fine dining rooms, lowest airfares around the world and also cheap rates for luxurious accommodation.
That was a wonderful life of travel. When I left the industry and had to pay full price, it was really painful. So, what is a fam trip? A fam trip or “familiarizing” trip is a free or highly reduced rate trip offered to travel agents to learn more or get familiarized with a destination, tours, attractions, anything that is related to a travel.
On a recent trip, I asked the front desk of a hotel, how much does an agent pay, it was $85 for a double bed room and how about travel journalist? The answer was $145. There’s a gap of $60 per night.
So what’s the difference between a travel industry personnel and a travel journalist, travel writer or travel blogger?
My frank reply, times have changed…
I’m an online copywriter who gets to write travel articles for some websites and have the privilege to mostly ghost write for travel related websites. I am not a “true” travel blogger like so many wonderful travel bloggers that I follow on Twitter. But we sure are influential in today’s market.
On a given day, I ghost blog about train travel in Italy, honeymoon travels in Hawaii or about seniors and baby boomers traveling with their grandchildren. I write a sales copy about an event or hotel. What do you think I write about? Everything about travels which includes hotels, transportation, the must sees and more. Most importantly…
I make a lot of recommendations…
Yesterday, I was out and about when my sister sent me a text from Switzerland while vacationing with her family. She began to complain about a certain hotel near Roma Termini… how the breakfast was really bad and the staff was rude. I came home and went on Trip Advisor to check this hotel out. Sure enough, they have really bad ratings.
The next time I write about Rome, that hotel will not be mentioned, instead I will recommend one that treated us so fairly, Hotel Dolomiti in Rome.
Hotels, cruise lines and tour operators extend their fam trips for a few reasons:
• Agents get familiarize (fam) and are able to sell the property, the suggested tours or cruise line
• Introducing something new like a new cabin experience, accommodation, dining, entertainment, amenities and many more
• New itinerary
• Create a lasting memory in agents’ minds so when it comes time to sell, the hotels, cruise lines or tours may be the first to be recommended
Don’t you think travel journalists, bloggers or writers deserve the same treatments? How about some of us who ghost blog for certain websites that you are reading daily, who had travel industry experiences and were IATA certified and all the other expired certifications?
Most of the time, to go on media trips, we still need to get the transportation to a destination, pay higher fees than travel agents or we need to have an assignment from at least a publication. Not to forget, the media trips are quite few compared to fam trips (or maybe I am not aware of it).
The Travel Weekly online magazine has several fam trips available for travel agents. One that looks quite appealing is a 13 nights Middle East Tour including airfares, sightseeing, accommodation and some meals and sightseeing for $1323.That’s a fantastic deal and trip.
Noteworthy: This is an agent only trip
My question is, what if I write for an agent? Don’t you think I have the power to influence?
What do you think? Should travel journalist, bloggers and writers have the same perks as agents? Please leave me a comment.