In any successful endeavor, planning is critical. However, even the best laid plans can go awfully awry. We recently had the opportunity to lead two sessions at a large sports tourism industry conference. Along with colleague Mike Chandler of Altitude Event Consulting, we presented “worst practices” on a myriad of topics – site visits, FAM tours, RFPs, and event bids.
In preparing for these two sessions, we conducted a survey of industry leaders on each topic. We uncovered some doozy responses. We heard of multiple cities losing a client on a site tour. More than one hotel tour went sour when a room being shown wasn’t vacant (not only not vacant, but other activities were taking place in the room when the site tour group arrived). Another site visit was completely forgotten about – with the client standing on the curb at the airport wondering of the whereabouts of everyone from the host city.
While the research for this program delivered numerous “worst case” scenarios, the majority of them pointed at a few best practice recommendations to avert these types of crises. Here are our top three takeaways on site visits….
- Be prepared – You have to know your clients. Ask them what they want to see on the site visit. Engage them in the planning of the trip to maximize their time and to manage their expectations.
- Book some down time – Over programming a FAM or site visit agenda isn’t the best way to sell your destination. This again is a great reason to engage the rights holder in the planning of the trip agenda. Keep it to what they want to see, toss in a special event and leave it at that. Simple scheduling is better.
- Be creative – Without trying to show the client every unique aspect of your city, choose one differentiating characteristic of your product that will resonate with the client and play off of that asset. On the flip side, rights holders shouldn’t spend the whole visit going into every little thing about their event. Pick 3-4 key elements that you need and work through those during the visit.
No matter how you market, engaging the target audience in the process will garner increased buy-in and often improve your relationship with that client. FAMs and site visits are staples in our business, and need to be planned accordingly. Of course you can take the position of one of our survey respondents who said, “Really? Cities still do FAMs?”
Note – We want your best FAM ideas. Send us a great idea that makes your FAM tours unique, and if we use it in a future Monday Huddle Up, we will send you a Starbuck’s gift card.