So, this post was inspired by a question I seem to get quite a bit.
While I am well aware that starting my 4th year in this industry in no way makes me a “seasoned agent”, I still wonder why the following question continues to pop up.
“Are you still “doing travel?””
Yep. That’s the question. Why am I writing a blog post on a seemingly simple question? Well, keep on truckin’ and you’ll find out.
I usually don’t mind the question if I’m honest, and I answer it with a smile while explaining that yes, I am still a travel agent and plan to be for a long, long time. I love what I do, and see no reason to stop. So it’s not really the question itself that strikes me as odd. It’s more so the reason the question is being asked. And this may totally be an assumption, but this “popular” question has made me wonder if people consider what I do as a hobby, not a career.
I know there aren’t a million travel agents under 30 these days, so maybe this question is linked to the topic I covered in my first post “You’re a travel agent?? Those still exist?” So, that could be it. Maybe the industry of what I do still needs to make the world aware that we still exist. But I have a feeling there’s another reason why this question arises so often.
Travel Agency MLM’s.
(If you aren’t aware of what an MLM is- google it and come back to me).
It’s not that I think every one of these pyramid-scheme type companies as a whole are particularly “evil”. Heck, I’ve even tried a few of the products that some of them offer. I have nothing against anyone jumping on board with some of them to earn a little extra cash. I do however, have an issue specifically with Travel Agency MLMs. Still not following? Maybe I can help.
Ever seen adds on Facebook, Instagram or other outlets of social media from people (or even friends) sharing statuses that sound anything like the following:
“WORK FROM HOME AND TRAVEL THE WORLD…FOR FREE!!!”
“I GOT TIRED OF MY OLD JOB AND DECIDED TO WORK FROM HOME AND TRAVEL FOR FREE- JOIN ME!!”
*Insert eye-roll, face-palm, etc. etc.* If you could honestly travel for free, don’t you think the entire world would be travel agents??
Honestly, I think some people confuse what I do with Travel Bloggers- who typically DO get paid to travel. So, since my job title isn’t “travel blogger” I do not in fact get paid to travel. I actually don’t even get offered to attend work trips until I’ve proven that I’m committed to my job and my clients and show promise within the industry.
Travel Agents + Travel Bloggers = Apples and Oranges
So coming back from my rabbit trail- why do these MLM “travel agencies” bother me so much?
Personally because of how they market their “business” and how it effects me as a legitimate agent, as well as the rest of my fellow agents that consider being a Travel Agent a CAREER. These MLM “agents” are offering highly discounted/free trips, trying to recruit you to become an agent “under” them so that they can benefit off of you… and the vicious cycle continues. If you’re a past client of mine, or are considering my services for future travel…don’t worry. The only thing I’m going to “sell you” is the vacation you came to me asking about in the first place.
I think I’m mostly defensive of the industry I’m in because I’ve personally experienced the sweat, tears and dedication it takes to really even sort-of make it in the world of travel agents. And it really irks me when people make a mockery of it by becoming an “agent” with the sole purpose of trying to travel for free, with no real intention of doing what it takes to get accredited and commit to the job.
If you’ve followed me all the way to this point, thank you. Your job now is to spread the word of these scams and book your next getaway with a legitimate, accredited travel agent that doesn’t try to recruit you. If you do happen to fall into one of these traps unknowingly- R.U.N.
One way to ensure that you don’t fall into any schemes is to contact me for your next getaway. After all, this isn’t a hobby..it’s my career.