Complimentary familiarization tours (FAMs) or site inspections of hotels and attractions can be arranged by some CVBs. Many CVB’s conduct several FAM tours annually with a wide variety of topics and are always looking for qualified invitees. Take advantage of the opportunity. They include family reunion organizers who meet criteria established for a designated FAM. Personalized site inspections are also available. Usually, the only cost is getting there. A site inspection is always recommended to make sure the facilities will meet your requirements. Some CVBs charge a deposit which is refunded to those who attend. Deposits ensure that those attending are seriously considering the city as a possible reunion site.
The purpose of the FAM is to sell you on a destination. On the surface, FAMs may seem like a vacation when, in reality, it’s that oxymoron of the real world: a working vacation. FAMs encompass many attractions, hotels and restaurants. Schedules start early, go late and are constantly moving because there’s much to see and do and many people to meet.
How good the FAM was will dictate how sold you were. How sold you were will reflect what your hosts expect from you: words of praise, your business and your reunion.
Ask lots of questions. Get lots of answers. You will have access to sales managers so you can discuss dates and rates. Be satisfied that you know everything you need to know about your destination.
Every reunion wants or needs something different. CVBs reduce the hassle of planning. The ultimate decision, however, on where to stay, go and do is up to you.
The CVB and reunion organizer share the same desire – to meet or exceed the goals and objectives of the reunion.
About the author
Journalist/Editor Jacky Runice has penned a weekly travel column for Chicago’s Daily Herald since 1994 and writes about travel and dining for USAToday.com; CBS Local Chicago; and Examiner.com. She expands her repertoire at Kane, Lake and McHenry County (IL) Magazines with articles about everything from healthy living to technology. A former Chicago radio talk show host, Jacky has three grown children who have inherited her love of sampling new cultures, countries and cuisine.