In our office, the word FAM is thrown around a lot. But many of our new employees often don’t know what that word even means. Some think it might be shorthand for “family” or in texting it could mean “for a minute.” But at Thompson & Co. Public Relations, FAM means familiarization. Specifically, we use that term when learning about a new tour, business, or destination as it relates to our travel and tourism clients.

Several T&C team members were able to FAM Orca Island Cabins late in the travel season to experience the yurt accommodations on a private island inside Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay. While on the visit, our T&C employees got a tour of the property, captured video b-roll and learned what a visitor experiences during a stay. Our office operates the social media channels for Orca. So in this case, the FAM was also an opportunity for our staff to experience the property and gain a better awareness of how to showcase Orca Island Cabins on social media. We find it’s always better to learn by doing than just reading about something on a website or listening to a presentation.

The agency also traveled with Alpha Aviation to FAM Sheldon Mountain House in Denali National Park and Preserve.  The property is named for well-known Alaskan Don Sheldon. He was an innovator in Alaska’s aviation sector and perfected glacier landings on Denali in the 50s and 60s, paving the way for tour operators to offer flightseeing and glacier landing trips today. The Mountain House has since been renovated, and the Sheldon family also added Sheldon Chalet—a lux, fly-in property that caters to high-end travelers. A visit to the property is rare as it is mostly booked with guests. On that FAM, our team was able to view both properties located on a glacial outcropping, learn about the activities offered and get a better understanding of the layout of the properties. This will help with pitching the property to national travel writers who are always looking for what’s new and noteworthy about Alaska.

Another FAM took place earlier in the summer, when T&C enjoyed an evening cruise on Major Marine Tours’ new high-speed catamaran, the Kenai Fjords 360. We learned how the catamaran was designed to minimize its footprint on the environment – plus, were treated to whales surfacing right off the side of the boat. For Major Marine Tours we pitched national and instate travel journalists on the new catamaran. After our staff experienced the FAM, they shared their experience, including pictures and video, with the rest of the agency to ensure that we were all pitching the new catamaran how the client wanted.

Many of our staff members are also responsible for coordinating FAM trips for national travel journalists. Their FAM trips are used as a way to gather information, pictures, and background for their stories. At T&C, we will reach out to our partners in the state to acquire a FAM experience for journalists that can be as straightforward as acquiring passes to the Anchorage Museum, or as extensive as planning a multi-stop trip to various lodges and destinations paired with multiple tour operators around Alaska.

So whether it is an internal FAM for someone in the T&C office, or our office arranging FAMs for travel journalists, we appreciate the opportunity to learn more about our clients and partners to be able to share the uniqueness of our state. Experiencing FAMs is just one small aspect of what we do to make sure we are learning what’s new about Alaska for our travel clients. Clients that provide the resources for these FAMs always find a strong return on their investment and our ability to speak with journalists about real-life experiences often sets us apart.

Find out what else we do by visiting the “Services” section on our website.