FAM Trips and Open Press Trips – The Future of the Destination Based Trip

As travel bloggers we all strive to secure that all exciting tourist board press trip. FAM Trips (familiarisation trips or Press Trips) are often all inclusive with sponsored transport, meals, accommodation and tours. I have had some amazing press trips through TBEX including Philippines and Landsort.

But there are a few problems with the traditional destination press trip or FAM trip (FAM short for Familiarisation). Many FAM Trips are intense and knackering with tightly packed schedules. I once met a blogger who took 7 internal flights in 9 days on a FAM Trip in Indonesia!

My FAM Trip in the Philippines

I totally loved our FAM Trip to Iloilo and Bacolod in the Philippines – A Tale of Two Spanish Cities, but I remember it being so rushed that I didn’t have time to process a lot of the information or to blog. I can blog retrospectively, but it’s never the same as being inspired in the moment. I also remember that we were fed so much by so many restaurants that we had to request that they just stop feeding us! Photo’s were amazing, but I feel that spreading the trip out a bit would have produced better coverage.

So what’s the Problem with the Traditional FAM Trip?

The key problems with traditional FAM Trips are…

  • A schedule so tightly packed that bloggers are so tired they stop enjoying it.
  • ‘Drive By’ Photography – stop, snap and move on. Not enough time to absorb and enjoy.
  • No rest or writing days – give bloggers time to do what they do best!
  • People within the group may not always get along.
  • Schedule may not be suited to bloggers specialisms.

The Future of FAM Trips – Open Press Trips

At TBEX Jerusalem this year, I met Mordecai Holtz of Blue Thread Marketing, who introduced me to the concept of open FAM trips. Why cram in a jam packed schedule with activities that not all bloggers will enjoy, when you could simply transport and accommodate bloggers in a city, leave an open itinerary and get better marketing results?

The ‘open FAM’ means that the blogger is on a sponsored trip, but once they arrive at their destination, the time is theirs. As they have plenty of free time, they can travel at their own pace and see sites or do activities that they love. When bloggers are on their own schedule, they will see what they are passionate about, resulting in better writing.

Personally, I would love to go for an open Press Trip – let’s hope that there is one in the future.

What’s your view on Press Trips?

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4 thoughts on “FAM Trips and Open Press Trips – The Future of the Destination Based Trip

  1. Rachel Elizabeth says:

    I totally agree with you. I’ve gone on amazing press trips, but sometimes the schedules are too intense for me to create quality work. In the future, I plan on personally contacting tourism boards and asking for city passes in exchange for coverage. This way I can create my own itinerary so I can better appeal to my readers.

    • Globetrotter says:

      Yes, they don’t allow time for quality work in the rushed heavy itinerary press trips, and by the time you get home, it’s not fresh in your mind! City passes are a great idea.

  2. Nisha says:

    I totally agree with you. Having been to umpteen number of FAMs (mostly in groups) I can empathize with you totally. In my opinion, these kind of FAMs are good to just have a cursory look at the city and then you should do your own. I have been to few solo FAM trips as well so know the difference very well.
    Would like to know more about these Open FAMs. Has any country/ company started doing it? Let me know. Or probably you can write something about it?
    P.S. – Love the pics of your Philippines team Ilolo because my other half is also there in them. 🙂

    • Globetrotter says:

      Open FAM trips are becoming more popular but very slowly. Generally, you have to approach tourism boards directly about them, and work with them to plan your own itinerary. Of course, it was lovely to spend time with Vasu! I hope to see you both soon.

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