There’s ‘always one’ on a fam trip, says Sarah, and if you’re not sure who it is, it’s probably you!
As the Greek music bounced around the room and the audience clapped along to encourage me up to the stage, I had the familiar feeling of ‘why always me?’
On my recent fam trip to Elounda Gulf Villas in Crete, I was the one who was summoned to the dance floor. With the guitarist playing in his chair, I didn’t know exactly what he expected me to do – a lap dance, maybe? In the end, I danced in front of him; there’s some video footage somewhere that I never want to see.
We’re very lucky in this industry to go to lots of lovely destinations, but my recent jaunt got me thinking about how when we’re thrown together at the airport, we all take on certain roles.
There’s the mum who misses her kids, the big drinker, the smoker, the comedian, the one who’s fussy about food – and the one who always gets reluctantly dragged onto the dancefloor (me). I think that’s what makes us so good as travel agents: we are great at building relationships and accepting people for who they are.
However, if we’re being honest, there is also ‘always one’. This is the person who moans; who doesn’t want to walk around the hotel to do a site inspection; who is reluctant to spend a penny; and who apparently sells 10 times more than anyone else. I think it’s so important to portray not just yourself but also your company in the right manner.
In this industry we are so lucky to have the opportunity to experience destinations and resorts that some people will never get to see. On my recent trip to Crete with Exsus Travel, I was fortunate to be with a group of fantastic people, but on other trips there have been those awkward experiences. Once, I had a room-mate who thought it was acceptable to smoke in the shower and borrow my clothes without asking. I’ve also seen people go missing, not turn up for events and even get a plane ticket home. I believe if you live by the rule that you respect each other and treat everyone the way you’d like to be treated, you can’t go far wrong.
But the biggest shout-out on any fam trip has to go to the hosts from the tour operators and hotels. They are on hand to deal with everything that’s thrown at them, and that can be anything from sickness, lateness, or moaning to just general bumps in the road. But there’s always a smiley face at the end of it. (Neil Sealy of Exsus, that’s you I’m talking about!)
My own personal commitment from any fam trip is to ensure that we make a booking for that hotelier and operator to show my appreciation. Fam trips also give me the knowledge to recommend resorts and hotels to the right client. That’s what makes the travel industry special. In the strictest sense, we’re all competitors on a fam, but often come back as friends.
Anyway, remember when you’re on your next fam ‘there’s always one’. And if you’re not sure who it is, it’s probably you!
More families are wanting to explore the US
The US has always been a popular destination for us, but with the steady fall in the dollar exchange rate, we’ve seen a small decline in enquiries. One thing I would say that has changed with the US market is that families are more willing to do new experiences and multi-centres rather than the fly-and-theme-park-flop.
We’ve seen more people wanting to visit ranches and cities. I made one such California booking last week for a family and it offered the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.
It’s essential to keep our US knowledge up as it’s ever-changing. We recently attended a dedicated USA day with Aspire, which was brilliant. Florida has long been a favourite of mine; however, on my wish list would be a trip to Montana to experience the wilderness adventure at The Resort of Paws Up.
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