Get Noticed by Attracting Meeting Planners with FAM Trips

May 05, 2022

It’s National Meeting Planners Appreciation Day. Skip sending the flowers and instead think about how you plant some seeds to create more interest in your destination among meeting planners.

Major destinations like Berlin and Seoul are already getting ready for the continued return of the events industry. Destinations know they need business travelers to return, conferences to happen, and events to take place in order to recover more fully.

As such, it’s elemental to focus on the main decision makers who choose when and where to hold those events: meeting planners. As we celebrate them, it’s critical to address them effectively and do everything possible to engage them positively. This year, focus on treating meeting planners like the travel media and travel advisors that help promote destinations and embrace the time-tested familiarization trip, or FAM trip, to get meeting planners excited about your destination. 

These five reasons will make it clear why organizing a FAM trip for meeting planners should bump to the top of your to-do list.

1. A Sensory Experience

First and foremost, a FAM trip offers meeting planners a chance to experience a destination and appreciate the potential of booking an event there. So often, meeting planners base decisions based on the destinations they know and love instead of relying simply on online research. 

Become that destination they love by inviting them to visit and experience firsthand all of the cultural and culinary treasures that await them – as well as the attendees that their events will bring. They will remember the tastes of the cuisine and smells of the air more readily than anything they read online.

2. A Visualization of the Event

Online research can only go so far, and while having video and 3D content about your meeting spaces is effective, it can never replace an in-person walk-through. Attracting meeting planners with a FAM trip must include a thorough visit to convention halls and other spaces that they will want to book. 

By offering a FAM trip, a destination allows planners to see the potential, understand the space, and visualize the flow of people. It will make planning the event in your destination seem so much more tangible, increasing the potential that they will book with you.

3. A Friendly Face

Sure, we can Zoom and call and interact with each other, but a handshake is more valuable than ever in this post-pandemic world. A FAM trip allows you to give meeting planners a solid point of contact, something we’ve all been seeking since 2020. 

By creating a human connection, it will make the planning process seem more possible, allowing planners to feel supported since they have someone they can text or email with questions and concerns. A little humanity goes a long way in the business meetings industry – after all, it’s all about bringing people together, so destinations must take the first step to connect.

4. A Sense of Loyalty

Attracting meeting planners with a FAM trip also creates a sense of loyalty. It’s not just because they met a human face, but because they will also meet vendors and local community members who are excited to help facilitate an event. 

Don’t consider it an opportunity to make them feel like they owe you for the FAM trip. Instead, make them feel like they want to make a positive contribution to the local communities in your destination. Creating a sense of purpose for the meeting planners may seem far-fetched, but don’t underestimate their desire for all aspects of the travel industry – even business events – to engage with sustainable and purposeful travel. We all want to feel good about our choices, after all.

5. A Chance to Learn

Finally, a FAM trip is a way to attract meeting planners but also for your destination to learn what changes or improvements can help better position you as a top choice among all the meeting destinations worldwide. 

Direct interface with meeting planners as they move through your venues and streets will offer insight that can help you make sure that you have not overlooked some critical component that planners need or want. The realities of holding meetings and events have changed since 2020, and FAM trip with planners will be a chance to make sure you have kept up with the times.

Figuring out how to attract meeting planners is like hitting a moving target. Fortunately, DCI’s research report, “A View From Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing,” provides the tools to reach meeting planners in this post-pandemic reality. Get in touch with Daniella Middleton at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI can help you land the big-name conferences and business events that your destination seeks.