TA Fams General FAQ
Because our business model is so unique, we get a lot of questions about how we work.
First things first, we only work with Travel Professionals* and our main focus is familiarization trips. We are here to help travel agents and coordinators familiarize themselves with new and exciting destinations by offering vacation properties at up to 80% off normal rental rates as well as escorted fam trips. Our suppliers create these discounted offerings to be exclusively sold to travel professionals. Our validation process ensures that those exclusive offerings are NOT sold to retail travelers.
* What is a "Travel Professional"?
Our Villa Fam and Escorted Fam Tour products are intended for verified travel professionals which we refer to as a "Travel Professional" or "Verified Agent". In short, to be qualified for our offerings, a person must be selling or supporting the sale of travel to others as a profession. Those working in group or company travel may qualify if they meet the following standards.
To be validated as a travel professional, you must meet two criteria.
You must have active membership on one of our accepted travel industry programs (IATA/CLIA/TRUE/ARC) or have an individual IATAN or CLIA ID, AND;
A verifiable online public presence as a travel professional. That public presence can be a personal or business website that shows that you sell or manage travel for others.
Q: I don't have a website. Why do I need a "public presence"?
A public presence shows evidence that you are selling or servicing travel products to the public. If you do not have any public presence online, we may be able to accept other evidence that you are a travel professional. These requirements are set by our travel partners as qualifications for their offers.
Q: Why don't you accept some Host Agency credentials?
Many of our suppliers are quite stringent as to their rules regarding qualifications for fam rates and do not recognize membership from a number of Host Agencies as adequate proof that an individual is a practicing travel professional. They control their qualifications and we are required to enforce them. In those cases, we notify the inquiring agent and offer them alternative methods for validation.
VILLA PROGRAM FAQ
Q: How are these villas sourced?
Most of the villas we feature are part of vacation property trading groups that allows members and selected travel professionals use of their properties. Most are rentals and the owners decide what weeks they will allow into the system so not every week is available for our program.
Q: How far in advance can we request weeks?
Typically we can issue a request for a week 3-6 months in advance of arrival. Some owners are willing to entertain requests further out and, as noted above, some may not be willing to host in peak demand times until last minute. You may be put into a waiting list for a particular property or area.
Q: Are all of your villas on the website?
No, actually we have access to almost 1000 villas worldwide. The villas online typically represent a sample of locations that we have recently included in a promotion. Please feel free to inquire about your travel interests and time frame then we will respond with any options we might have.
Q: How do I find out about promotions?
We have a newsletter that is delivered to verified travel professionals via email. Inside each of these notes we provide descriptions along with special rates for villas, fam tours, or other agent-only travel offers. There is a link "Newsletter Sign-up" on the menu at the top of this webpage.
Q: Why are the rates and availability for the Villa Fam properties not on the website?
Because our rates are so deeply discounted, our supplier will not allow up to publish them on a public website for concerns that a client may see these rates and it will devalue the villa. We do expect to be able to publish rates in the future (targeted for 1/1/2018) on a secure site for agents with login credentials.
Q: Are all villa fams weekly (seven nights)?
Yes, you will be given a week's worth of rental for the fam fee. You party is NOT required to stay all seven nights but the rate cannot be prorated for a shorter stay. Although some in the party may come an go during the week, you as the agent MUST be present every night that the villa is inhabited during your fam week.
Q: What does the price include?
The fee covers the cost for the accommodations only.
Q: Besides transportation and personal expenses, what's NOT included?
We will include in our quote to you any known extras that you will be responsible for. These are typically paid directly to the owner PRIOR to arrival. As an example, villas with a staff sometimes include a fee for the staff and gratuities are that are expected and not included. Some may have optional or required food and/or beverage plans. Some properties will have an additional cleaning, insurance, or pool heating fee. Again, we will notify you of any of these in the context of our quote.
Q: How many people can I have in my party?
Unless stated otherwise, you will receive the entire villa and can have up to the maximum listed occupancy. If the occupancy is not listed, it is usually safe to figure on two per bedroom.
Q: Who can I take with me?
You can take whoever you are comfortable taking as long as you are present and that includes family and prospective or former clients. However, you are responsible for your entire party should they cause any damage. In some cases, owners may require damage insurance and/or deposits.
Q: Are pets allowed?
Generally not. If you have a pet that you take with you on vacation, please let us know in advance and we will inquire with the owner.
Q: What is required of me when I visit a property?
Although we may refer to the trip as a "fam", we do not require site inspections of our villas. You should always leave the property neat and clean when you leave- even if there is a cleaning fee. The owners are doing us a great favor by allowing us to have use of their property. Please respect it. The main thing to do is HAVE FUN!
Q: What is the Villa Fam booking process?
After we determine the property is available and provide you a quote, you will have the option to make the formal booking request. We will generate a form to be delivered and signed electronically via DocuSign. Once the form is signed, an invoice is generated for the booking fee. We do require a deposit as acknowledgment of the terms and conditions before we forward the formal request to the owner. Those deposits and fees ARE refundable if the property owner does not accept to host the requested fam.
Q: How long does it take to get a booking confirmed?
Typically we hear back from villa owners within 2-3 business days of the request being made however some may take longer.
Q: Why would they say no?
There are two main reasons. First, the property may not actually be available after all. We base availability of a villa on published rental calendars but sometimes owners do not maintain those closely. Second, they may not yet wish to give up the week for client rentals. This is especially true for "high season" dates and holidays which both are prone to last minute bookings.
Please note: If you receive an notice that the villa is already booked, it’s nothing personal. With most of our villa fams, we only have 1-2 weeks of availability and will get multiple responses to each property. They are submitted to our supplier in the order in which they are received. When a property is advertised as available for multiple months (such as April –July) it does not mean that we can get each and every week during that time. Normally, the owner is open to hosting for no more than 1-2 weeks within that time frame.
Q: Can I get travel insurance for a villa fam?
Yes, we highly recommend travel insurance since the booking is non-refundable, non-movable, and non-transferable. However, once the fam request IS confirmed by the owner, all deposits and fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and any balances are due immediately. Once the full invoice is paid, confirmation documents with owner contact info is distributed so you can make arrangements for access and any other trip planning.
Q: How do I request rates and availability for a villa?
We now use an automated tracking quoting system to respond to agent requests. We ask that everyone use our Villa Fam Inquiry online form for any requests for rates and availability.
You can find that form here: Villa Inquiry Form
Q: Can I request bookings for clients?
This is case by case but for some villas, yes. Not all of the villas we are able to book fam weeks in are available for client rentals and some others will not offer any agent commissions. If they will work with agents, we are happy to facilitate the booking.
Escorted Fam Tours FAQ
Q: Who can go on a tour?
The rules for each tour are set by the tour provider, but in most cases a qualified agent may take one non-agent companion as long as they are sharing accommodations.
Q: How does the rate work?
Fam tour rates are typically are advertised for agents and double occupancy. The second person in that room will also be paying for the tour at a rate equal or greater than that rate. Non-agents are typically charged a slightly higher rate and if you you wish to go alone, the "single supplement" surcharge would be added to you rate.
Q: Why do non-agents pay more?
The tour provider is discounting the tour as a form of advertising to attract those who will sell their products to clients. Non-agents by definition, would not be selling future tours to clients. They ARE still receiving a partial discount as a courtesy to the agent.
Q: Can I bring more than one companion/ Do you offer triple or quad accommodations?
In most cases no, but if that option exists, it will be noted in our PDF tour descriptions and online.
Q: When do I pay?
Every tour will have different terms but typically there will be a deposit and final payment schedule outlined in the tour description.
Q: Are Fam Tours Refundable?
Once finalized, all fam tour deposits and fees are NONREFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE unless otherwise noted in your booking forms. As always and especially for international tours, we recommend travel insurance.
Q: What about passports and visas?
Each tour description may include the travel documentation requirements, however, it is the tour takers responsibility to ensure that they have all of the necessary paperwork to travel documentation. Some tour providers may require photo-copies of your passport showing it is valid with an expiration date at least six months beyond the planned arrival date. Again, this will be disclosed in the tour description and booking forms.
As a travel professional, we expect you to understand the rules for domestic and international travel.
Please fee free to reach out to us ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you have any additional questions or need help finding a great villa or fam tour!