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When Site Selectors Come to Visit: 8 Tips for a Memorable FAM Tour
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When Site Selectors Come to Visit: 8 Tips for a Memorable FAM Tour


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There's no substitute for seeing a community firsthand - especially for site selectors who live and breathe business location decisions every day. …

There's no substitute for seeing a community firsthand - especially for site selectors who live and breathe business location decisions every day.

And since it's estimated that site selection consultants advise mid-sized to Fortune 500 companies on up to 40 percent of all business location decisions, it's critical for economic developers to get their communities on the radar of this key audience.

Bringing site selectors into your community for a hosted familiarization (FAM) tour is one of the most effective ways to do just this, allowing you to directly communicate and showcase your region's assets and advantages.

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  • Rachel:Welcome to DCI’s Webinar: When Site Selectors Come to Visit: 8 Tips for a Memorable FAM TourAnd thanks for joining usPlease feel free join the conversation on Twitter at @aboutdci or using the hastag #DCIFAMTipsAlso, if you have questions during the webinar, please feel free to ask them on Twitter or through Go-To Webinar, and we’ll address those at the end
  • My name is Rachel Deloffre. I’m as Senior acct. exec at DCI.And I’ll be your moderator during today’s webinar.Personally assisted and hosted several FAM tours across the countryDoing everything from helping tosecure attendees, to organizing logistics andtravel details, to actually hosting the FAM tour on the groundI’d like to introduce our first panelist,Susie WebbSusie is a Sr. coordinator with Cassidy Turley’s Occupier Services group, based in DallasShe’s been in the commercial real estate business for 15 years, and has had site selection component during her entire career in commercial real estateShe’s been on numerous FAM tours across North America – from Vancouver, BC, to Memphis Tennessee. Next, I’ll introduce our second panelist, Elisabeth Kulinski Elisabeth is a Sr. associate with the Indirect Tax Credits & Incentives group at Ernst and Young, based in LAShe Specializes in site selection and incentive negotiations and has negotiated incentives across the United States and Canada Elisabeth has also been on numerous FAM tours – from Southwest Michigan to Puerto Rico
  • Rachel: I know many of you are familiar with us, but just a brief word about DCI… Development Counsellors International (DCI) is the only firm in the world to specialize exclusively in marketing places. We have worked with more than 400 cities, regions, states and countries, helping them attract both investors and visitors, since our founding in 1960Over the past two years alone, DCI has planned and executed dozens FAM tours and site selection consultant events across North America.And one of our core competencies is helping our clients develop relationships with site selection consultantsDCI has also developed a database called, which includes 300 influential site selection consultants, many of whom we’ve taken on FAM tours
  • Rachel:Why are FAM tours important? Some of you might have done FAM tours before and you know how valuable they are – some might be planning your first. DCI’s Winning Strategies Survey found that dialogue with industry peers, meeting with EDOs and business travel are some of the top influencers when it comes to executive decision makers’ perceptions of a community's business climate.Before we get into our tips, I’d like for Susie and Elisabeth to share with you why FAM tours are so important from their perspective. Elisabeth, let’s start with you. (3 reasons - short)Susie, could you please share your perspective? (3 reasons - short) (I realize there could be some overlap here, so we can tweak as needed)Time so far 4min
  • We hope that with these 8 tips from Susie Webb and Elisabeth Kulinski, you’ll feel ready to host your next FAM tour
  • Rachel:Our first tip is to send an enticing invitationAnd I’ll let Susie talk a bit more about thisSusie:Use this as intro slide to this tip.We receive dozens of invitations for these types of trips, so it’s important to stand out.Point out briefly that this is an actual example – why eye catching
  • Susie:Here’s a closer look at what makes up a good invitation.*Point out why this invite got your attentionIt also works well to send a Save the Date prior to the invitation, so that we’re aware of the dates further in advance
  • Rachel to intro this slide:The next tip we have is to make the best first impression – and this starts with accommodationsLike with anyone who comes to visit your community, you want to put your best foot forward And top notch hotel accommodations and meals make a difference.Especially since Site Selectors are on the road so often
  • Rachel:First, it’s important to consider where you’ll be staying. Think about where the meetings will take place, and where would be convenient but also upscaleAlso, keep in mind it’s important to show a nice part of your community. Next, It’s important to work with the hotel to make sure everything is set for check in – might seem obvious but we’ve seen mixups happen… Then, as you plan meals, think about cuisine and restaurants that are unique to your region.So whether you’re on the coast and have great seafood,or if there’s a special dish that’s known in your region, or if you’ve got some great craft beer or local wine – that’s great to incorporate. You also want to be sure you’re aware of any dietary restrictions.Elisabeth, I’d like to get your thoughts here. Could you share an example of a FAM tour you’ve been on that perhaps had really great accommodations that really stand out in your mind? And talk a little about the importance of where you stay.And also touch any examples you’ve seen of regions incorporating unique dining options?10-11 minute mark
  • Rachel: Along With making a good first impression, our third tip is to be sure site selectors feel welcomed into your community.I’ll let Susie elaborate here….
  • Susie:Most communities we visit leave a welcome packet for us at the hotelIt’s certainly not required, but it’s a nice touch, and arms us with more background and information before the tours startGetting info about the region the evening before can be helpful to prepare for the trip. Sometimes it might be the first chance we have to understand what your region has.Some things to include might be:Articles about your regionMapsBrochures/Marketing MaterialsWe’ve also received letters from Mayors or Governors – which leaves a great impression.
  • Rachel: I also wanted to touch on welcome/thank you gifts. This isn’t a requirement, but we’ve seen communities give some really memorable gifts that fit within their budgets.And we’ve found that a unique gift from your region can help site selectors remember your community – when the see something sitting on their desk, or in their kitchen.You’ll see here that we have some memorable gifts on the slide – like KitchenAid mixer made in SW Michigan where Whirlpool is headquartered, Kentucky Bourbon from Louisville and a John Steinbeck book from Salinas, Calif., where John Steinbeck was born; Vera Bradly high end bag – made in NE IndianaThink about an Iconic brand or something really uniqueConsider Shipping Rachel:Susie and Elisabeth - did you want to weigh in - we realize we're telling them to give you gifts, but what are your thoughts on thank you or welcome gifts for FAM Tours15 minute mark
  • Rachel:Next tip is to arrange high-caliber meetings with politicians, business leaders and members of your EDOAnd it’s critical for these three groups to be involved so that site selectors get their perspective on your community’s biz environmentI’ll let Elisabeth go into more detail about why this is so important. Pause here for Elisabeth’s intro 
  • Elisabeth:Politicians might include your governor or local mayor – Governor is one of the most important people we can meetIf meeting with a high level official, such as a governor, if possible, make sure the group will be small enough so that the site selectors can ask questions and have a conversation. Give an example of when this worked well in the past, and perhaps when it didn’t
  • Elisabeth:It’s critical to have knowledgeable company spokespeople who really know their industry.Choose leaders who really serve as great ambassadors to your region, and can speak honestly about its strengths/challenges – add an example from your experience?Someone that might typically be difficult to access, like the CEO or high level person at your city’s biggest employer, is good to include, if at all possible. Site selectors really appreciate the opportunity to speak with them and this can be a big draw for the trip.
  • Elisabeth:It’s important for a senior-level person from your organization help host the tour and really engage with us – if you’re not an active participant/host it sends a negative messageIt’s a chance to showcase your organization There’s no substitute for us getting to know you, and you sharing your knowledge of your community firsthandWe find it very valuable to form relationships with economic development organization officials – so that when we need information, we know who to call.**Have you had any projects come as a result of FAM tours? Perhaps share an example of why these relationships are so important?
  • Rachel: Tip Number 5 is – Show off Your Key Assets. I’ll let Susie explain more:Susie:Often the three main assets we like to see are research facilities, major business or manufacturing operations and your biggest employerThe key is to make sure to include a wide variety, so that we can really get a feel for your industries and business climate
  • Susie:When choosing which companies to highlight, choose companies with something special, like a recent expansion, or something that’s interesting and new, for example, if the company is using emerging technology or cutting-edge research **Give a recent example from a FAM tour that was particularly impressiveIt’s also important to show companies in different industries Perhaps talk about hands on tours vs. presentations – why both can be importantJust knowing about your educational institutions is helpful, but we don’t necessarily need to tour them unless there’s something really unique that really sets it apart. Some site selectors may also find it helpful to look at some of the real estate you have available. Depending on what the feedback is, it may make sense to schedule a “drive by” or tour of the facility, even if it’s empty. It’s can also be helpful for some SSCs to see what the inside looks like. (Elisabeth and Susie to share thoughts on this)20 Minute Mark***
  • Rachel: The next tip is incorporating quality of life. I’ll let Elisabeth talk more about that… Elisabeth:There's a lot of discussion around how important quality of life is in making these location decisions. At end of day, it comes down to numbers, but we hear it's really important to CEOs – especially for headquarters decisions,trailing spouse, relocations (you agree, Elisabeth), It’s important for us to experience your region’s quality of life and some of your key tourism assets – especially if they are staying over a weekend.
  • Elisabeth:Showing your quality of life assets allows site selectors to explain more to their clients than just numbers off the Internet. Allows us to talk about your location from firsthand experience. Some site selectors won’t attend unless there’s a fun bonus activity, and others just want to get down to business.Consider offering the main “fun” activity towards the end of the FAM, so that site selectors who aren’t interested can head out early.**Share your perspective on thisThat’s why it’s often best to schedule these types of activities towards the end, so that people can opt out if they only want to go for businessMake your fun activity unique – not something they’d necessarily be able to do if they visited the place by themselves. **Give example from a FAM tour you participated in
  • Rachel: Tip #7 is Find a Good Pace. What you chose to include in your FAM tour and the timing of your trip can have a big impact on attendance and success of your FAM tour.Susie, I’ll let you talk about what economic developers should keep in mind as they’re putting together their FAM tour itinerary.
  • Susie: As mentioned, it’s generally best to avoid the weekends, but nice to time the trip so that if site selectors want to stay the weekend to explore on their own, they can.*Give example of a time this worked particularly wellWhile you want to pack in as much as you can, keep in mind that we may have an unexpected client call come up – or prior commitment – and a little downtime can be helpful. By giving us downtime, we’re better able to focus during meetings/toursAlong those lines… being accommodating is very helpfulInstances where you had to arrive late? Take an urgent meeting? Client Call? Talk about how this often happens on these types of trips. So it’s important to be accommodating when site selectors have something that comes up or need special travel arrangements.Appreciate an organized schedule that you stick to during the trip. We like to know what’s next and what to expect. Be sure to add in an element of fun. Even though the purpose of the trip is to learn about the city and its business climate – having fun on the trip is importantExample?
  • Susie:Here’s an example of how things might flow. This was an itinerary for a FAM tour I attended in Salinas, Calif.You can see how meetings are scheduled back to back, with a short break in the afternoonThe meetings include some of the key elements we’ve talked about – breakfast with the mayor, tour of the biggest employer, a wine reception/fun element*Point out why this schedule works well…
  • Rachel: The last tip is to continue to stay in touch with the SSCs who have visitedSSCs typically don’t mind filling out a quick survey about the FAM tour – and this can be really helpful insight as you look to plan another one.It can also help you discover something new about your industry clusters. You’ll probably get that from feedback during the FAM tour, but..For example, you might think your region is great for a certain cluster, and data seems to support that, but the site selectors might disagree. On the flip side, they may realize your region is great for something you never thought of….It can be a great way do a gut check on your key industries.And an excellent way to get candid feedback on your targeted industry clusters In addition, we find that SSCs also often like to have the contact details everyone they met with on the trip and business cards often get lost – so in your follow up correspondence, it can be a nice touch to send out a contact listRead last 2 tips from slide*Elisabeth – could you share an example of how communities have stayed in touch with you after FAM tours?
  • Rachel:Just to recap – here are the 8 tips for a memorable FAM tourWe’ll also post a blog with 8 tips and some of the info that’s been shared today Will email everyone the blog post
  • Now, we wanted to take some time to answer some of the questions from our listeners… FAM Tour Webinar Sample Questions Walk me through one of the best FAM tours you've been on and why?Can you give an example of how a FAM tour really changed your perception of a particular place? When meeting with a company – what works best for you in terms of the presentation? Do you like PowerPoint, actual behind-the-scenes tours, talking with the CEO in the conference room, or a combination of those things?In your opinion, what's the ideal number of site selectors to bring on a FAM tour?Is there one time of year that’s better than another to host a FAM tour from a site selector availability perspective?What are your thoughts on site selectors bringing significant others? Is it standard to accommodate them as well?What’s the main reason you might turn down a FAM tour invitation?Can you give an example of how a FAM tour might have influenced a short list for a client? 
  • That’s about all the time we have for questionsThank you again for joining usAs mentioned, blog will be postedI’ve listed my email address here – along with Elisabeth’s and Susie’sFeel free to reach out to any of us if you have questionsThanks again…
  • Transcript

    • 1. When Site Selectors Come to Visit 8 Tips for a Memorable FAM Tour @aboutdci, #econdev, #DCIFAMTips December 10, 2013
    • 2. Presenters Rachel Deloffre Senior Account Executive Susie Webb Senior Coordinator Occupier Services Elisabeth Kulinski Senior Associate Indirect Tax Credits & Incentives
    • 3. About DCI • Development Counsellors International (DCI) is the only firm in the world to specialize exclusively in marketing places. • Since 1960, we have worked with 400+ cities, regions, states and countries, helping them attract both investors and visitors. • DCI has planned and executed dozens of FAM tours and site selection consultant events across North America. • DCI’s database,, houses information on some of the most influential site selection professionals.
    • 4. Why FAM Tours? • Form relationships with the local economic development organization. • Meet face-to-face with political and business leaders. • Gain invaluable knowledge of a city/region by seeing it in person.
    • 5. 8 Tips from 2 Site Selectors
    • 6. 1. Send an Enticing Invitation
    • 7. Invitation Tips Mention high-level government or company officials Catch attention with a fun activity Send 2-3 months in advance Include sample schedule Send a “Save the Date” teaser
    • 8. 2. First Impressions Count
    • 9. Select Stellar Food and Accommodations • Location, location, location • Communicate with hotel to make check in seamless • Eat somewhere unique to your region • Ask about dietary restrictions/give options
    • 10. 3. A Warm Welcome
    • 11. Welcome Packet      FAM tour schedule Articles about your region Maps Brochures Welcome letter from mayor or governor
    • 12. FAM(tastic) Welcome or Thank You Gift • Gifts help site selectors remember you • Consider giving something iconic that’s made in your area • Be sure the gift relates to your location • Consider shipping something after the trip, depending on size
    • 13. 4. Arrange High-Caliber Meetings 1. Politicians 2. Business Leaders 3. Members of your EDO
    • 14. Meetings with Civic Leaders Do This: Meetings to Consider: • Mayor • Governor • Other high level politicians Not That:
    • 15. Corporate Executives • Leaders from your business community • Spokespeople who know their industry • CEOs from your biggest industry clusters • One of your biggest employers
    • 16. Members of Your Organization • Help host the group • Chance to form relationships with site selectors • Be a resource/tour guide
    • 17. 5. Show off Your Key Assets 1. Research facilities 3. Manufacturing operations 2. Biggest employers
    • 18. More specifically… • Choose companies with something special or new (i.e. recent expansion, unique technology, etc.) • Show a diverse range of companies/industries • Don’t necessarily need tours of educational assets • Consider looking at real estate
    • 19. 6. Incorporate Quality of Life The quality of life aspects of your city/region are often key differentiators
    • 20. Tourism Attractions & Quality of Life • Quality of life assets allow site selectors to explain more than just numbers to their clients • For some site selectors, the fun activities are a big draw, for others, they’re not as important • Make the trip more flexible and appealing by scheduling fun activities towards the end
    • 21. 7. Find a Good Pace
    • 22. Itinerary and Scheduling Tips • Make weekends an add-on option, but not key part of the FAM • Pack in as much as possible, but allow a little downtime • Be accommodating and flexible • Stick to your schedule • Add an element of fun
    • 23. Sample Schedule City officials Biggest employer Short break Element of fun
    • 24. 8. Stay in Touch • Consider a short survey to get candid feedback • Send out a contact list or load V-Cards onto branded USB stick • Add SSCs to your newsletter list • Send updates/a phone call once in awhile
    • 25. 8 Tips from 2 Site Selectors 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Send an Enticing Invitation Make Your First Impression Count Extend a Warm Welcome Arrange High-Caliber Meetings Show off Your Key Assets Incorporate Quality of Life Find a Good Pace Stay in Touch
    • 26. Thank You! • Presentation will be posted on a blog tomorrow at • Contact information: