Two new multilevel marketing companies (MLMs), also referred to as network marketing companies, are hoping to garner the industry's attention by insisting they are travel companies first and foremost but just happen to be built on an MLM model.
Ron Archer of Archer Travel Services is the CEO of recently launched Evolution Travel. He said interest in Evolution is growing, in part because he's putting the credibility of his 63-year-old Archer Travel Services agency behind it.
"Our company is dedicated to selling as much travel as we possibly can," he said.
"We want a balance between recruiting and selling. This is the only way that you're ever going to get to pass muster not only with the [states'] attorneys general but with the travel agency community. We have no intention of being a card mill. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme."
To keep the focus on travel, Archer said he is emphasizing training; specifically, training about how to sell travel, which will be similar to what he offers the independent contractors he hosts through his agency.
Meanwhile, Dusty DeVaughn recently launched Travelution. DeVaughn got his start in travel at YTB and has worked in the industry ever since. Like Archer, DeVaughn is also emphasizing training.
Before an agent with Travelution can begin selling travel, the individual must complete a 40-module course that takes about 15 hours, including quizzes and a final exam.
"We're going to set the standard for building travel professionals," DeVaughn said.
Travelution's training starts with the basics of running a business, then rolls into selling travel, including topics like customer needs, the booking process and effective marketing.
"We're a travel company first and foremost," DeVaughn said, asserting that the network marketing aspect of the company is not its emphasis.
Archer said there are many viable network marketing companies today, "because their business structure has a solid foundation, and their products are good, their systems are good, their customer service is good. Like any business, if it's not a good business from cradle to grave or top to bottom, it's going to fail."
While admitting that network marketing has a bad reputation, Archer said, "But it can be so powerful if done right. If it's done correctly, it's extremely powerful."