Everything you need to know about travel MLMs

Careful consideration and research are essential when deciding between travel host agency and MLM business models to ensure your chosen path aligns with your professional goals and values.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the travel industry, opportunities abound, and choices demand careful consideration. Among these choices, the concept of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) emerges as a contender, promising avenues for income and growth.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will dissect the intricate workings of travel MLMs, shed light on their mechanisms within the travel sector, and ultimately, explore why steering clear of them in favor of a traditional host agency is a prudent choice.

Understanding Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

Multi-Level Marketing, often referred to as network marketing, employs a unique business model where participants not only earn from their direct sales but also from the sales of the individuals they recruit into the network. The structure resembles a pyramid, with multiple tiers that cascade down, theoretically generating income for those at each level.

MLMs, recruitment

Here are 30 essential questions to consider to determine if you are working with a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) entity:

  1. Is There an emphasis on recruitment?
  2. Does the company place significant focus on recruiting new members rather than selling the actual product or service?
  3. Are you encouraged to recruit others into the program as a core part of your role?
  4. Are there membership fees?
  5. Are you required to pay other upfront fees or purchase a starter kit to join the program?
  6. Are there ongoing fees or minimum purchase requirements?
  7. Is earning dependent on recruiting others?
  8. Do you earn a significant portion of your income from the sales of those you recruit?
  9. Are there different earning levels based on your recruitment success?
  10. Is there a complex commission structure?
  11. Does the compensation plan involve multi-tiered structures where you earn not just from your sales but also from the sales of your recruits — and then their recruits?
  12. Are there complicated calculations or requirements to understand how you earn income?
  13. Are earnings promised to be enormous quickly?
  14. Are you presented with stories of individuals who have achieved substantial earnings within a short time frame?
  15. Is there a strong emphasis on the potential for quick financial success?
  16. Is the product or service secondary to recruitment?
  17. Is the primary focus of discussions and training on recruiting new members, rather than on the features and benefits of the product or service being offered?
  18. Is the product or service overshadowed by the earning potential from recruitment?
  19. Is there a tiered ranking system?
  20. Are there different ranks or levels within the organization, and is advancing in these ranks tied to recruitment and sales targets?
  21. Are you encouraged to aim for higher ranks to unlock additional bonuses or benefits?
  22. Are there limited products or services offered?
  23. Does the company seem offended if you focus on the products or services that you are required to promote instead of focusing on recruiting?
  24. Are these products or services often connected to the recruitment process?
  25. Is there a high turnover rate among members?
  26. Do you notice a pattern of members joining and leaving the program relatively quickly?
  27. Is there a lack of long-term commitment among participants?
  28. Is the company operating legally and ethically?
  29. Have there been legal controversies or investigations involving the company’s business practices?
  30. Are there concerns about the company’s reputation or ethical standing within the industry?

Remember, these questions are intended to help you critically evaluate a business opportunity and make an informed decision, even if the questions may seem repetitive. If you suspect you are dealing with an MLM, it is crucial to conduct thorough research, seek advice from trusted sources, and consider alternative options that align with your professional goals and values.

Travel MLMs in the Travel Industry

Within the travel sector, travel MLMs have gained attention as a potential avenue to monetize one’s passion for globetrotting. These entities promise agents the allure of flexibility, independence, and significant earnings. Agents often purchase travel packages, memberships, or exclusive deals to resell to their network. The agents earn a portion of the sales, and when they recruit others, they earn a slice from their recruits’ sales as well.

MLMs, money levels

Why Caution is Essential

1. Risk of Pyramid Schemes:  Travel MLMs often resemble pyramid schemes in disguise. The emphasis on recruitment and building a network can sometimes overshadow the actual travel product being sold. Pyramid schemes, which are illegal in many countries, operate by recruiting members who invest money with the promise of future rewards primarily based on the recruitment of new members, rather than actual product sales.

2. Limited Focus on Genuine Travel Expertise:   In the world of travel MLMs, the priority may shift from becoming a knowledgeable travel professional to being a skilled recruiter. Authentic travel expertise often takes a back seat, which can be detrimental to your long-term career growth.

3. Hidden Costs and Earnings Hurdles:  Engaging with travel MLMs may entail upfront investments, including membership fees and purchase obligations. Additionally, the promised earnings may come with demanding sales quotas and stipulations that are hard to meet, often leading to unfulfilled financial expectations.

4. Sustainability and Ethics:   MLM structures can sometimes lead to an environment where aggressive recruitment takes precedence over delivering value to clients. The emphasis on recruitment can strain relationships and tarnish the genuine spirit of travel advisory.

Why Choose a Traditional Host Agency

Opting for a traditional host agency offers a robust alternative that ensures your success is anchored in genuine travel expertise and sustainable practices.  Here’s a quick comparison of the points made above between a host agency and a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) entity, highlighting their key differences:

Focus and Purpose

  • Host Agency:  Focuses primarily on providing support, resources, and tools to independent travel agents.  Aims to enhance agents’ travel expertise, client relationships, and business operations.  Success is measured by the quality of service, customer satisfaction, and agents’ ability to curate exceptional travel experiences.
  • MLM:  Emphasizes recruitment and building a network of members.  Often centers on selling products or services within the context of recruitment.  Success is often measured by the number of recruits and sales generated within the network.

Income Generation

  • Host Agency:  Agents earn commissions by booking travel arrangements for their clients.  Income is directly tied to the value of sales made and services rendered.  Agents focus on delivering excellent travel experiences to clients to build a loyal customer base.
  • MLM:  Members earn income from sales of products or services as well as from recruiting new members.  Earnings can be dependent on the success of recruits within their network.  Recruitment and building a large network become integral to maximizing income.

MLMs, expert secrets

Training and Expertise

  • Host Agency:  Offers training programs, resources, and mentorship to enhance agents’ travel expertise.  Focuses on building agents’ knowledge about destinations, travel trends, and customer service.  Encourages agents to continuously educate themselves to provide exceptional service.
  • MLM:  Training often revolves around recruitment techniques and building a network.  May lack a comprehensive focus on developing deep travel expertise.  Training may prioritize recruitment skills over the actual products or services being offered.

Reputation and Ethics

  • Host Agency:  Established host agencies often have a reputable track record in the travel industry.  Emphasizes ethical practices, professional growth, and maintaining client trust.  Focuses on providing valuable travel advice and experiences to clients.
  • MLM:  MLMs can have varying reputations, with some facing criticism for resembling pyramid schemes.  Ethics can sometimes be compromised due to the heavy focus on recruitment.  The focus may shift from delivering genuine value to aggressive recruitment tactics.

Sustainable Growth

  • Host Agency:  Offers a stable platform for long-term growth in the travel industry.  Agents can build a loyal client base and develop lasting relationships.  Success is built on a foundation of expertise, quality service, and continuous improvement.
  • MLM:  MLM success may rely on continuously recruiting new members to maintain income.  High turnover rates among members can hinder sustainable growth.  Income can be inconsistent if recruitment efforts wane.

As you can conclude, a host agency provides a supportive environment for independent travel agents to grow their expertise and businesses while focusing on delivering valuable travel experiences to clients. On the other hand, MLMs often emphasize recruitment and building networks as primary income sources, which can sometimes overshadow the actual products or services being offered. Careful consideration and research are essential when deciding between these two models to ensure your chosen path aligns with your professional goals and values.

Traditional host agencies prioritize training, continuous learning, and providing the necessary tools to navigate the travel industry effectively.

In the labyrinth of choices that shape your travel career, the allure of travel MLMs might seem captivating, but a discerning eye reveals the complexities beneath the surface.

Choosing the path of a traditional host agency not only guarantees a solid foundation of knowledge but also promises ethical practices, professional growth, and the potential to build a rewarding and sustainable career. The world of travel is your oyster – make a choice that ensures your journey is marked by authenticity, expertise, and long-term success.

Meet Pickles Travel Network: The Host Agency That Makes It Easy to Start and Scale Your Travel Business

Whether you’ve just started your travel agent journey, or you’ve been on it… Pickles Travel Network has the tools and resources to help grow your business. Unlike other host agencies, we believe in letting our members choose what works best for their business. Pickles Travel Network allows you to choose your commission rate, along with whether or not you want to charge planning fees. As a member, you’ll receive instant access to our list of suppliers, several marketing platforms and monthly coaching/trainings. 

IATA | CLIA Membership

PTN IATAN code: 45769253

PTN CLIA number: 00032299

When you enroll with suppliers, you must use PTN’s codes to receive a commission from us. Want to sign up for your own CLIA or IATA numbers for exclusive travel benefits? See below.

Get your own IATA/IATAN ID Card:


The IATA/IATAN ID Card is the industry-standard credential to identify bona fide travel professionals. Key benefits include access to concessionary incentives from industry suppliers. Just added, the IATA MemberPerks program provides cardholders with daily savings at over 300,000 merchants across North America.

To be eligible, you must be registered with IATAN under PTN’s IATA number 45769253, working a minimum of 20 hours per week and earning a minimum of $5,000 per annum in commissions. You’ll need to send PTN a support ticket asking for approval. Once approved, we will send you a PRIN # to allow you to register with IATAN and ask for an ID card.

Get your own CLIA EMBARK ID:


Obtain a CLIA EMBARC ID for travel discounts and FAM (Familiarization) trips. Join CLIA as an Individual Agent Member, under Pickles Travel Network CLIA #00032299.

Once you’ve registered, submit a support ticket to let us know, and we will approve your registration.