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Monday,  July 22, 2024   5:17 PM
#ThrowbackThursday with Guy Marchand, ACV

Guy MarchandOrganizing a FAM can either be really fun or a total nightmare, according to Guy Marchand, Air Canada Vacations' general manager, sales - Eastern Canada.

Throughout his career, this industry veteran has had to deal with a lot of situations forcing him to become a master of FAM trip crisis management.

"It can be funny, embarrassing or not funny at all," he says.

A number of cases come to mind as he shares his experiences.

For example, on one particular FAM, a travel agent did not want to visit the properties mentioned on the itinerary because he had already seen them.

"That person obviously did not understand that a FAM trip is a tool for agents to enable them to improve knowledge of the hotel, as well as a tour offering," Guy says.

Another offender who he describes as "eccentric" had decided to visit his friends during a FAM in Florida... disappearing with one of the cars rented by Guy for the purpose of getting to and from site inspections.

The stories continue.

In one instance, a FAM participant showed up wearing a t-shirt bearing the logo of a competing brand to the company hosting the trip.

"It may sound trivial, but I had to tell that person to change," he says.

With all these "learning experiences" under his belt - and this is only mentioning a few - there came a point when Guy thought it would be beneficial to introduce a protocol outlining rules of good conduct for FAM participants.

Apparently, they went unread by some as not long thereafter, during a hotel visit, he entered a room with the hotel manager to see a travel agent jumping on the bed - to see if the mattress was hard or soft.

In addition to all of this, there have also been cases of death or serious injury, difficult situations which Guy admits are made more complicated while overseas due to the logistics of coordinating with local officials, hospitals and family - all while managing the rest of the group.

In anticipation of such mishaps, Guy took the initiative to train his sales teams in first aid... just in case.

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