Defending the FAM: DCI’s MICE Division Makes a Case for the Familiarization Tour

July 12, 2011

In 2010 DCI added meetings and incentives sales to our widening portfolio of services when we acquired Mondotels, a 30-year-old leader in the market. Now, this newest division is getting some well-earned press: in last month’s One + magazine an article entitled “Building a Better FAM,” featured DCI sales manager Pam Balakian defending the tradition of inviting planners to destinations for familiarization tours—a meetings-industry practice that has recently come into question as tightening budgets have raised questions about the efficacy of FAMs. 

Familiarization tours remain invaluable tools for destinations, says Balakian:

While destinations can do PowerPoint presentations and webinars, nothing replaces taking the right meeting planner and/or decision maker to the destination so they can experience all…[it] has to offer for a meeting or incentive program.”

In the field, often known as MICE sales (selling Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions), DCI’s Mondotels teams act as a matchmaker between meeting planners looking to stage an event and the destinations hoping to host them. FAMs help the two parties connect. Balakian, a 24-year veteran of DCI/Mondotels, knows exactly how to ensure FAMs are implemented effectively. Her advice: everything from vetting participants carefully (to avoid those without serious intentions to buy) to inviting not just planners but also their clients (it makes conversations richer and decisions easier).

“Yes, it takes extra time, [but] it also produces the best results possible.”

Taking the time to produce better results? I couldn’t have summed up DCI’s motto any better myself.

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