This past weekend I stumbled upon an ad while I was looking at Instagram stories. The person in the ad was claiming to be the #1 travel agent in the U.S. 🚩🚩🚩
None of the top agents I know have ever claimed to be the top agents, FYI. Right off the bat I realized that this was probably a scam, so I scoped out their website and social media to see what info they put out there.
It irked me so much because I'm sure plenty of fellow travel agents have been duped by scams like this, so I wanted to share some of the things you should be wary of before making any sort of investment in the travel industry, particularly with host agencies (which this person claimed to run and was recruiting for).
Here's what I found that you should be aware of in terms of predatory tactics:
🚩"I made a million dollars in my travel agency and I'll help you do the same": No ethical host agency would ever make an earnings claim on what they can help you achieve. This feels all too much like a spammy MLM sales tactic. Do not fall for it. Also, did you actually make $1M--if so, back that up with an income report, so we can see fit that money is gross revenue or net profit--two very different numbers.
🚩 Claiming 30 years of experience: The guy looked like he was barely 30 years old.
🚩 Claiming to have won awards: But the awards look like they have gone to parent company that also looks sketchy.
🚩 Claiming to have 500+ agents: But I've never heard of them before, and I've been in the industry over 12 years.
🚩 Has claimed supplier affiliations, but no mention of industry organizations: Surely anyone who claims to be making huge sales and had a huge collection of advisors would be affiliated with ASTA, CLIA, PATH, The Travel Institute, or Host Agency Reviews.
🚩🚩🚩 No mention of Seller of Travel License: This agency is based in California. California is the second more stringent state on seller of travel protections. If you have the license, you're supposed to display the information on your website; there is no mention of this on their website. They even mention that no license is needed. 😲 AND if they have the 500+ agents like they're claiming they would also be licensed in 4 other states, so their agents could be able to sell there too.
🚩Small grammatical errors: Make it so blatantly obvious that they aren't who they claim to be. They write on their website that "DisneyWorld" is a preferred supplier. For someone claiming to have 30 years of experience with $10M in sales, they should know better that at the very least Disney World is two words, but it would have been better to say Walt Disney World, and even best to Walt Disney World Resort.
I could keep going at this, but I'll stop myself for now. I just wanted you to be aware of the predatory "get rich quick" type of scams that can plague our industry and things you should be on the lookout to avoid their scammy traps.
If you ever have a question about investing in your travel business and the legitimacy of a company, feel free to post up in The Strategic Travel Entrepreneur Group in FB. We'd love to help provide you some guidance and direction along your journey.
Until next time,
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