Congratulations, you won the business! Now what?
Regardless of industry, the crucial next step after winning a new piece of business is onboarding. Sometimes it’s a short process, while other times it takes months. Sometimes it means countless hours of reading, a series of meetings with company executives or even trying out the product firsthand.
Because travel is an experience, our onboarding process is a bit different (and, might I add, very fun!). Immersion FAMs (short for familiarization trips), as we call them in the biz, are critical to understanding a client’s travel product – they help us accurately describe the experience to others, such as journalists and influencers. These trips require a commitment of time and financial resources, typically on both the agency and the client sides, but they are well worth it.
I recently returned from a whirlwind immersion FAM throughout the state of Rhode Island as part of our onboarding with new client Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. Over the course of three days, five of us traversed each of the six regions via train, plane and automobile. We took a scenic flight over Block Island on a puddle jumper; ate our weight in local oysters, clams and wieners (do NOT call them hot dogs in Rhode Island); received behind-the-scenes tours of historic mansions, mills and hotels; met with regional PR representatives; and even took in the gem of Providence, WaterFire.
Not only do these immersion FAMs allow us to fully absorb the experience, they also give us an opportunity to cultivate personal relationships with our clients and develop ideas for pitches, social media posts, press trips and more.
I’m not going to lie – at the end of three days we were pretty exhausted, but the knowledge we gained was invaluable.