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Become a travel agent to get discounted travel? Scam or true?

So, yesterday my wife and I attended a presentation about how to get heavily discounted trips, airfares, cruises, hotels etc. According to this company, once one pays a significant fee, one is officially a travel agent under their umbrella, and allegedly can purchase discounted travel through this travel agency company. I was skeptical and we declined. Seems either fishy, or just not as good as they make it out to be. Anyone have any idea about this?

Posted by
30932 posts

rob,

I'd probably be skeptical too. There's more to becoming a travel agent than simply paying a "significant fee". Regulations in your area may be different, but I believe agents in B.C. need to be licensed.

Posted by
5286 posts

After you pay the "significant fee" you may not hear from them again.

Posted by
326 posts

Well, the main thing that they were selling wasn't so much the chance to be a regular travel agent, but rather to access all these alleged deals that having a travel agent license would allow one to have. They have a brick and mortar office in the next town over from us, but my guess is that most or all of these discounts weren't as good as they make them out to be.

Posted by
11411 posts

My friend is the manager of a large travel agency in Vancouver BC. I also have a friend who works for an airline.. so is often able to get access to deals afforded TAs.

The discounts are ok.. but not mind blowing. Travel agents do not get great deals on airfares as a rule ( obviously my friend who works for airline does though!)

Travel agents do get some great trips free or very cheap. These are referred to as "Fam" trips. Short of Familiarization trips.. meaning resorts offer greatly reduced visits so agents can then endorse them based on personal experience. Such trips are usually short 3-4 days at most. And in many agencies these trips are awarded to individual agents as incentives and rewards for sales. Big agencies that sell a lot get offered more Fam trips then smaller ones.

I think you encountered a scam. A licence is not hard to get ( I almost got mine by taking courses at community college.. and it was not that expensive) .

I would not pay a fee for a piece of paper that would likely get you few discounts if any.. as first question would be " which agency do you work for " .. and if you claimed to be independent.. you would likely get offered minimal discount, if any.. as you have no track record of referring sales to resorts.

Posted by
4947 posts

You might find that just having a certificate does not obligate any one to give you a discount. I understand that you would be asked for more proof that you are actually doing business.

Posted by
11613 posts

Many of the fam trips and discounts are scheduled for off-season, usually at resorts.

Posted by
552 posts

Definitely sounds like a scam. I know a couple of travel agents and they do get some discounts, but only because of the number of sales they have made. Hotel chains, for instance, will give points to agents for each sale they make, and the agent can then redeem those points for products, or nights at that hotel chain. They can get good deals on airfare, but are always flying stand-by. The familiarization trips are just for agents who work for a travel company that regularly sell trips to that destination. I doubt there are many good deals available to people who don't actually work as agents. If you want to be a travel agent I'm sure the course to get the license isn't as expensive as the fee this company was trying get you pay. I would say it's a scam and might consider reporting it to the proper agency.

Posted by
1 posts

This is a pyramid scheme.

It's structured so you need to "recruit" more travel agents under you to break even.

Also, ask yourself: Who pays a fee to get a job?

It's a scam, but there are plenty of Herbalife, Amway, Cutco, Mary Kay, and Avon apologists who would beg to differ.

Remember: If you are being sold the job, it's a pyramid scheme. If you are being sold a product or service, it's a normal B2C sale. Do car salesmen pitch you the job of being a car salesman and then ask for a one-time fee to become "certified?" No, they sell you a car. This guy is selling you the idea of being a travel agent disguised as joining discounted travel network.

It's a scam and you made the right decision to walk away.

Posted by
516 posts

yep, sounds like a scam. I cringed at the first sight of "...attended a presentation"

Anything that isn't a straightforward sale but rather, requires some kind of "presentation", begs suspicion.

Plus, their use of self-servicing discounts as a tactic for getting you to "become a travel agent" is, for lack of a better word, a bit sleezy. You should choose your vocation based on your interests/passion for that particular field or industry, in the case of travel agents, because you enjoy travel and want to help others experience travel with the same ease and joy. It's kind of like inviting people to train to be real estate agents so you can get first dibs on the best properties yourself. While there certainly may be many people who do specifically choose their jobs based on such benefits, as the sponsor it's just plain sleezy to advertise it.

Posted by
2353 posts

That is very much a scam - it can be done for almost nothing. There are a few reputable online agencies that do the same thing. One of them can be done for a $39 one time fee - there are of course services you can purchase. Any reputable firm will require you book a minimum ratio of your trips : trips you book for others. The requirement for minimum sales is what keeps everyone from just becoming a TA.

You were wise to walk away.

Posted by
23393 posts

remember that this is a zombie thread. It was born and died on the same day a week before Christmas - it has only just been reawakened.

Posted by
3224 posts

Scam!

Anything that requires you to make a "significant" investment in order to get some not clearly specified "discount" is a scam. At their best possible discount, how long would it take to even just break even? What guarantees are there that where you want to go is where the discounts are? Most likely, as soon as the payment clears, they (and your money) will disappear.

Nigel, I like zombies. They are fun.