Model and TV personality Danielle Lloyd has become the latest celeb to set up a travel business and she’s urging the rest of us to do the same. We can, she says, make money while we travel, just like her.
The former Miss GB has set up a new Instagram account in which she appears to be selling luxury holidays.
And on her new website she says she’s a specialist in holidays to the luxury Dubai resort of Jumeirah, a favourite of celebs and stars of reality TV shows Made in Chelsea and TOWIE.
Former TOWIE star Mario Falcone also seems to have set up his own travel agency, in 2019, and guess what, he is also urging followers of his social media accounts to do the same.
In fact, both Danielle Lloyd and Mario Falcone are recruiters for Inteletravel, a work-from-home travel agency franchise which launched in the US and expanded to the UK several years ago. It was granted ABTA membership last year.
Inteletravel claims anyone can launch their own travel agency from their home and earn commission on every booking they make.
You can sell holidays full time, as a side hustle, or just book your own trips for family and friends and earn back the commission every time you do. Or so it says.
But is it true that we can make money while we travel like Danielle Lloyd and Mario Falcone?
Yes, it is possible. But it’s just as likely that you’ll lose money, especially during the pandemic.
Danielle claimed on her Instagram account that ‘travel is never going to stop’. She appears not to have noticed that travel has literally stopped.
Even when we can all travel again, it is not as easy as Danielle Lloyd or Mario Falcone claim to make money selling holidays. I’d be interested to know how many holidays each of them has sold.
It’s true that if you’re a travel agent you will earn commission on every booking you make. But the money you make might not cover your costs.
You’ll have to pay Inteletravel a joining fee of £132 and a monthly fee of £32. This means in the first year you’ll pay Inteletravel a total of £516. Danielle claims you can make commission of 8% or 16% on sales – so you’d have to make between £3,225 and £6450 of sales in year one just to get your money back.
If you travel a lot or you have family and friends who’ll let you book their trips , you might make a profit, but bear in mind that you’ll be limited to Inteletravel’s range of holidays. You can’t put together your own trips because it isn’t licensed to sell tailormade travel, only packages. However, it says it has product from 60 suppliers and it has applied for a licence to sell DIY holidays.
How much do Inteletravel agents earn?
Good question. Let’s drill down into the figures. Inteletravel says its 10,556 UK travel agents will sell £25 million of holidays this year, which is an average of just £2,368 per agent. Even if they earn 12% commission (which is higher than the industry standard) then they’re only making £284 each. That’s £232 less than they’d pay Inteletravel in their first year.
Of course, some agents will earn more, others less, and if you’re good you could make a living as a travel agent. Inteletravel told me that the average transaction value for its UK agents has risen from £834 last year to £1,710.
But since Inteletravel won’t bring you any customers, you’ll have to rely on friends and family, word of mouth and your own ability to market your services if you’re going to make it as a travel agent.
Why are celebs like Danielle Lloyd encouraging us to become travel agents?
That’s simple. Every time they recruit a new agent, they get paid. And what’s more, they get paid for every booking their recruits make. In fact, Danielle and Mario seem to be putting far more effort into recruiting new agents than actually selling holidays.
This is why some people have described Inteletravel as a pyramid scheme. Its detractors – of which there are many in the travel industry – say it makes its money from its agents’ sign up fees and monthly subscriptions, not from selling holidays.
Inteletravel has denied these claims, it says it doesn’t pay its agents to recruit new members – but it does have a partnership with a company called PlanNet Marketing which does pay Inteletravel agents to recruit new members.
PlanNet Marketing tells potential recruits that they can earn a small fortune in ‘leveraged income’ by recruiting other agents. In a video sent to me by Danielle, it says its agents can “live like actors and rockstars” earning “tens of thousands of pounds a month”.
It says its highest earnest ‘directors’ (top level agents) are rewarded with bonuses, including a blingy diamond-encrusted Rolex.
You can see why it would appeal to TOWIE celebs! But before you sign up, even PlanNet Marketing points out that some of its agents “make no money at all”. And there’s a catch – if you want to become a recruiter like Danielle, the sign-up fee for both Inteletravel and PlanNet rises to £152 with a monthly charge of £46 a month.
Are there better alternatives to Inteletravel?
To be honest, I wouldn’t consider setting up as a travel agent just yet. Danielle confidently says in one Instagram post that travel restrictions will be lifted ‘in a couple of months’ but that seems unlikely. Even if she’s correct, no-one in the travel industry really expects things to get back to normal until 2022.
If you sell holidays for travel this year, it’s likely you’ll spend just as much time refunding them later if they have to be cancelled. Last year millions of holidays were cancelled and agents did little but process refunds.
That said, travel will resume at some point and 2022 holidays are already on sale, so if you are keen to become a travel agent, now is a good time to explore your options.
There are lots of travel agency franchises that offer varying degrees of support for independent travel agents working from home. Most offer training, but some only accept experienced agents.
Most charge more than Inteletravel, but they might offer more support and more opportunities to earn. For instance, some have calls centres or websites that will source customers for you. That said, if you just want to book holidays for yourself or for your family and friends, Inteletravel is probably going to be your best bet, assuming it sells the sort of holidays you like. Just make sure you do your research first and work out if it makes financial sense. Do the math, as they say in America.
Here are just a few of the other travel agency franchises that accept recruits with no travel agency experience: