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The Truth About MLMs in the Travel Industry

There is a lot of hostility surrounding MLMs in the travel industry. We're here to break down why MLMs may not be the best option for you.
The truth about MLMs in the travel industry

Over the years, we’ve received many questions from travel agents regarding MLMs and the hostility between them and traditional travel agents. When considering both sides, it’s important to take a step back and remember we’re all in this together.

The Stigma and Lack of Potential with MLMs in the Travel Industry

It’s no stretch to say that there is a stigma surrounding MLM agents. At a first glance, MLM agents tend to be considered “not as reputable.” This is often due to their lack of access to the same tools, support, and experience.

If you are a part of an MLM right now, we want you to keep an open mind and know the facts that we’re sharing are to benefit everyone.

Oftentimes, MLMs make promises to people that they’ll be able to make X amount of money or receive gifts and high commissions. More often than not, that potential they promise really isn’t there.

In Cyndi’s experience, she’s trained hundreds of agents to build their businesses to a point where they’re making $100k(+) a year. It’s worth mentioning that she’s never come across an MLM agent that was anywhere close to hitting that mark.

Check the facts

One thing that can be helpful when looking into MLMs is looking into their income disclosure statements. Any public MLM is required to release these statements annually to be transparent about the roles they employ and how much those employees truly make each year.

When checking these reports, the most important thing to look at is the “Average Income” column to see the average amount that employees at different levels are making across the board. You also want to reference the actual percentage of people making that amount.

Sure there may be someone making $700k(+) each year, but what’s the percentage of people actually making that? Most times, it’s less than 1% while a majority of employees are in that wayyy lower range.

Like it or not, the MLM travel agents are actually bringing the travel industry standards down. On paper, these agents are real travel agents, but the lack of training, experience, and income makes people hesitant about what it truly means to be a travel agent and wary of the success that can come with it.

If you’ve been sucked into an MLM, you probably had high hopes going in. If we had to guess, you’re probably now feeling a little deflated and demoralized. It’s easy to turn a blind eye, assuming that MLMs are the way of the entire travel industry world. But, that’s just not true. And we can tell you this out of authority. Cyndi has coached hundreds of agents out of MLMs and into their own businesses. And now, they’re productive and making amazing income they never imagined possible.

The reality is, the fast majority of MLMs travel agents are making nothing, while traditional travel agents with different structures are knocking it out of the park.

Recap of the Pros and Cons of a Travel MLM


  • You’ll never make a substantial income
  • You’re not getting the right support and resources that traditional agency has access to
  • MLMs are invested in gaining members, not helping you sell travel
  • You won’t be taken as seriously in the travel industry

Some Positives

  • If you’ve been able to sell through an MLM, it means you’re a self-starter because you did it without a lot of support
  • You will learn about recruiting which can help you grow your own business down the line

What You Should Do if You’re Stuck in an MLM in the Travel Industry

If you’re currently in an MLM and want to transition, this guide will be perfect for you. This tool shows you how to screen travel hosts, show you which organizations are MLMs, provide top travel hosts, and so much more.

Need some help scaling your travel business or leaving an MLM?

In our Careers on Vacation certification program, we’ll help you get there with lessons on automations and processes to set your business up for even more success.

Watch More Here!

3 Responses

  1. Please help me… I signed up because I have participated in more than my fare share of cruises, and they promised free cruising opportunities. what happened was I was just trying to save my bottom line, however, Virgin Voyages invited me for a weeklong ‘treat me like a rockstar’ treatment cruise in their niche cruise industry. I have slowly come to the point that I cannot go to my regular 9-7 job anymore, so I began working hard to make the transition.
    I have certifications in over 20 cruise lines, river, ocean and expedition. I was preparing for this once in a lifetime, yacht experience with some of the coolest people in the world.
    Fast forward to yesterday, I finished up my course work for MSC (I’m studying luxury liners right now) and when it was complete, MSC offered me a balcony room for 2 on either a 5 day Bermuda, and their ‘Cay’ island or an 11 day western Caribbean cruise (MY GO TO PLACE BECAUSE I HAVE FRIENDS THERE).
    This is the dilemma, I can get excited all day about the liners I have sailed with, but those I haven’t… I just can’t do it and look people in the eye. I have to see to believe. So I called my leader and asked how I would be able to attend the FAM trips that my agency sent me personal invitations to (only saying I had to have the course work finished and not sailed with the liner before). My leader informed me that I would have to have a $60,000 year in order to be considered for a CLIA id card. Now, I’m not ignorant by any sense of the word and I know that CLIA has about 20 or so ‘premiere members’ who can forgo the regular stipulations to help newbies out with fam trips. like the IAM, that would suffice. But my leader took pleasure in stealing my joy and excitement.
    I have spent 3 weeks personally building a website to feature ocean liners that are very popular in the demographic of my audience. He loved the website, but not the thought I would go somewhere for free.
    also. my booking is gone that is fully paid for in February and I can’t find it on
    I have everything I need to do this job and to be successful at it. Another company I talked with charges a $65 fee per month and you get your card and you keep 80% of the commission (whereas at my current co. they keep 60% and don’t pay me for the commissions I make off of drink packages and other things that many lines are now paying commissions on.
    I have taken Air Travel codes, I have access to two of the best apps for good seating and direct flights for very affordable rates. I have published a what to bring and what not to bring on several itineraries. I am certified with uPLIFt financing and AIG Travel insurance. I am a Carnival, Celebrity, Viking, and Virgin genius. But those ships aren’t for everyone. I will say that Carnival is the cheapest for the comparable accommodations, and the vibe on the ships, is that of fun knows no age and people are content to let others be themselves without any haggle or frustration. I really love the people I meet on Carnival. Celebrity cruisers are a few years younger than me, but their children are young and mine are grown so there is that divide there, but the luxe design of the new Celebrity is amazing.
    I connect with people very easily. I have been a newspaper editor for over 9 years and It is too much for one person to do all alone. I am ready to do something that I love.
    I know of all the hospitals and major medical clinics in our 8 county area, and I think group travel may just be the thing to jumpstart my business.

  2. I keep getting told that the company I am with is not an MLM but I have my doubts and the part about not having the resources and proper help to get going sounds just like who I am with. I can’t afford a big start up cost so I thought this was the way to go. Now I have too much invested to stop but I am not making any money so idk if I should continue. I also question it some of the things I have been told are accurate. Idk what to do.

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