Could taking children on fam trips be a breakthrough for suppliers and agents? Charlotte Flach investigates the benefits of the family fam
The selling power of family fam trips
Fam trips are one of the biggest and most celebrated perks of working in the travel industry, viewed as a reward or incentive for the long hours and hectic workload travel agents endure.
Being away from home for long periods on a trip can take its toll on family life, however. So would letting children attend fam trips ease the burden on parents?
Dani Thomas, a partner at 360 Private Travel in Sevenoaks, thinks so. She says shes missed out on fams due to family commitments. “Ive had to turn down several trips because of childcare issues.”
“I dont tend to put my name forward unless its a destination I really want to visit or I have someone to look after my children,” agrees Paula Hardman, a homeworker for Travel Counsellors.
Allowing kids to go on fams would “enable people to go that wouldnt ordinarily be able to because of family commitments,” says Kerry Kelly, travel specialist and office manager at Elite Voyages on the Isle of Man.
Not just a jolly
Companies including Classic Collection and GP Associates allow agents to bring their children on selected fam trips.
Thomas describes a recent fam she attended in May with a colleague and their four-year-old daughters. “We paid for our own flights and Elounda Gulf Villas in Crete hosted us for four nights. It was great – we saw hotels while the girls enjoyed the kids club together.
“Agents value the opportunity of being able to share their experience with loved ones. I dont like to leave my family behind,” she adds.
Family trips are also important to help partners and children understand that fams are hard work. “I took my son on a trip to Sicily with Azure,” says Kelly. “We were with about 10 other agents andthey each had a child with them. We did the hotel tours and the kids tested out the kids clubs. My son got to see that when I go on a trip, Im not just relaxing.”
“A lot of people think fam trips are a jolly,” agrees Hardman. “Its not a holiday but sometimes family doesnt understand that. It is great for them to experience how much hard work goes into them.”
It can also help family members feel included, says Sally Hislop, travel consultant and owner of Destination Anywhere in the Wirral. “Ive done three trips with my seven-year-old son. Weve been to La Manga with Classic Collection, Elounda Peninsula in Greece with GP Associates and Costa Navarino with Inspiring Travel Company [which was ITC at the time]. He loves coming away with me – it makes him feel like part of my work and the business.”
Several agents agree they would be happy to pay for their families if given the option. “If they charged extra for children and it wasnt a crazy amount, I think most agents would pay,” says Hardman.
Through a child's eyes
Children provide invaluable behind-the-scenes information and can test-drive family facilities, believes Kelly.
“My son was able to tell me what the facilities in the kids club were like, how the staff were and what sort of food was on offer. You also get to see if the hotel genuinely welcomes children and how well catered for they are,” she says.
Its worth thinking about the suitability of the destination to the child, however, particularly if they are very young.
“There are a lot of excursions, site visits and other commitments on a trip, which is hard with a small child,” says Hardman. “You cant give the trip your undivided attention. An older child or teenager would be fine, though.”
Gemma Lazenby, agency sales manager at Classic Collection, on the suppliers family fam trips
How often do you run family fams?
We try to do one a year, starting a couple of years ago. Our first trip was to Tuscany and the Belmond Villa San Michele and the second to La Manga Club Hotel Principe Felipe. We pay for accommodation and transfers for everyone and flights for the agent, but the agent makes a contribution towards the cost of seats for their child.
What is the advantage of letting agents bring families?
It can be a solution for the childcare worries that sometimes prevent agents
from attending educational trips. It also really helps to highlight facilities for children, allowing first-hand expRead More – Source