The concerning rise of travel MLMs

The concerning rise of travel MLMs

author: Helen Fox

By Helen Fox


An MLM is a multi-level marketing company that provides products and services to consumers. The business model is based on independent contractors selling to their customers with the aim of earning commissions on their own sales, as well as on the sales of the people they recruit to sell for them.

The world of MLMs has been steadily expanding. As of 2023, there are a staggering 7,534 MLMs, up 0.6% from the previous year.

In the United Kingdom alone, the influence of MLMs has reached new heights, with over 631,000 individuals involved in these ventures, as reported by the Direct Selling Association UK (DSA). Amidst the vast array of MLM industries, one sector has emerged particularly popular: travel.

In the travel industry, MLMs attract their recruits and customers by offering members access to discounted travel packages, as well as the opportunity to earn commissions by recruiting new members. However, there are some concerns about travel MLMs, including:

  • The high cost of entry - In order to become a member of a travel MLM, you typically have to pay a start-up fee, as well as monthly or annual dues.

  • The difficulty of making a profit - To make a profit from a travel MLM, you need to recruit a large number of people into your downline (a network of members you have recruited).

Searches for travel MLMs have increased 136% in the past year, according to Google Trends

Interest in travel MLMs appears to be on the rise, with searches for ‘travel MLM’ increasing by 136% over the past year across the globe.

One travel MLM which has seen an increase in Google searches is PlanNet Marketing.

According to PlanNet Marketing’s website, 92% of their reps earn on average just $41.69 (£32.40) a year, which they estimate is based on working two hours a week. However, considering that it costs $239.40 (£186.01) a year to be a member, on top of the $19.95 (£15.50) initial start-up fee, many members will be losing money based on these figures.

It appears that to earn money as a travel agent for an MLM, members need to recruit reps. If you enrol three reps at PlanNet Marketing, you become a Bronze Builder. Bronze Builders earn on average $844.43 (£656.19) annually. But, minus the membership fee, that’s £470.18 a year. PlanNet Marketing estimates these earnings are based on working five hours a week.

If you are considering joining a travel MLM, it is important to do your research and understand the risks involved. Not all MLMs are bad, but before you consider partaking in one, it’s vital you have a full understanding of their business model and what the realistic returns look like. You should also be aware that there are a number of legitimate travel agencies that offer similar services without the high cost.

You can find tips on how to spot an MLM, and how much money these businesses really make in our global report.


Conversions between USD and GBP correct as of 20th July 2023 and made using Google Finance.

Travel MLM search popularity sourced from Google Trends data in July 2023.

PlanNet Marketing data taken from their website.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

The concerning rise of travel MLMs The concerning rise of travel MLMs