Planning through a Pandemic: This CVB’s Virtual FAM Tour

Experience Grand Rapids’ Virtual FAM Tour

During a pandemic, Michigan’s second-largest city leveraged technology, entertainment value, and sales and marketing strategy through a virtual FAM tour to stir up destination awareness and future interest in business travel.

The Brief Backstory: 

Hello COVID-19. Goodbye in-person site visits. 

What’s a destination marketing organization to do when travel is limited, but future meetings still need to be planned? 

Throughout one of the most uneasy periods in the meetings and conventions industry, Experience Grand Rapids (EGR) kept their cool, hosting an engaging, monthly virtual FAM tour to stay top of mind while tourism seemed bottom of the barrel. 

Experience Grand Rapids Virtual FAM Gift Image The Attention Grabber:

  • Limited occupancy for virtual attendance to increase demand
  • An exclusive gift from a local Grand Rapids business sent to FAM participants

Experience Grand Rapids Virtual FAM Education ImageThe Execution:

  • Marketed USPs (unique selling points) to attract and increase online attendance while EGR shifted to more virtual destination selling
  • Worked with the EGR team to market the FAM incentive and destination appeal—this power couple differentiated EGR from competitors in a noisy and hesitant marketplace
  • Co-strategized with EGR on ways to blend a virtual FAM with entertainment value, which created high planner engagement
  • Developed content for social posts and ads, emails, and a lead-capture page to grow online FAM registration
  • Leveraged USPs and expanded reach and interest on social platforms and in e-communications, which led to FULL FAMs each month 

Experience Grand Rapids Virtual FAM Activity ImageThe Rewards:

  • EGR qualified all planners who attended the FAM, which produced quality over quantity in leads and interest. 
  • Because of its success, the initially scoped three-month FAM series evolved into three additional FAMs for quarter one of 2021. 
  • The virtual FAM helped strengthen relationships with locals and industry partners because local businesses and hoteliers were a part of the series.

“I wanted to let you know that you and your team did a wonderful job on the virtual site visit last week. I am very impressed and loved the interaction, videos, discussions, and learning about the candle company. Even more, I am looking forward to the day when I get to visit and bring a group to Grand Rapids!! Great Job!! Everyone should be proud of themselves!!!”

~Vanessa (Huff) Revlett, CMP
Conferences and Events Manager
AMR Management Services

To learn more about our work with Experience Grand Rapids, view our portfolio, or reach out to see how we can assist your destination. 

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