Traveling is great, visiting new cities, getting lost and finding my way has always been half the fun. Cheap unlimited 4g data sim cards, travel apps and google maps have made international travel so easy. So when a friend who travels just as often as do I, tells me I could “travel more for less with Worldventures”, of course I was interested. Hence I started digging into Worldventures (WV).
The word “travel” is large umbrella for many different types of travel including tourist packages, hotel+flight packages, DIY hotel + flight, back packing, road trips etc. When a WV recruiter asks if you’re interested in travelling, of course the obvious answer is “yes”. Travelling is a constant part of our lives.
WV is a Multilevel Marketing/Pyramid selling organization that offers “membership access” to a private porthole of ROVIA’s website (booking flights, hotels and dream trips tour packages). ROVIA’s main platform is readily available to the public and works just like booking.com etc. Some people say WV doesn’t offer a tangible product or service, but this is debatable. At face value WV only offers nothing more than a membership, but this membership allows users to book bottom dollar dream trip packages which are exclusive to members,US$69 cruise really do exist. Many people are afraid of MLM organisations and think everyone will get brainwashed becoming annoying sales zombies. Unfortunately, many people do get sucked into MLM whirlpools when they lose perspective (this is why MLMs are so controversial). However, if a product has value why not understand it and know how to maximise it.
At first glance, there are lots of negative comments about WV. The biggest question of all, is it a scam? My conclusion is NO. Learn the rules, play the game right and those cheap cruises and packages are as good as yours. Is it a great Ponzi, well, considering what happened to the banking sector, my conclusion is NO. But it also depends on the sales pitch; some desperate recruiters may have pitched false information. Complaints I found online were members not being told about having to refer people to make money, they were misguided thinking “travelling would earn me money”. The most complaints were members couldn’t find people to join and wanted a refund.
The product – “dream trips”.
Dream trip packages do indeed have good prices and value. Packages can be purchased outright with your credit card or by using the points. There are also other ways to earn points too, finding members, finding cheaper flights or hotels on rival websites as ROVIA will refund 150% of the difference in points etc. Monthly fees get turned into points (dollar for dollar) but the catch is that they expire and points can only be used to offset dream trip packages costs.
Unfortunately flight tickets or hotel costs booked through the ROVIA website cannot be deducted with points, they can only be paid straight up with a credit card.
Here’s my analysis on the dream trips:
– Cheap packages (excluding airfares) including airport transfer, respectable 4 or 5 star hotels, breakfast, dinner, parties, scheduled itinerary to visit tourist hot spots
– Tours start reasonably late so there won’t be any 6am morning calls.
– Packages can be relatively short, 3 or 4 days. After the dream trip has finished you can join another dream trip or extend your stay according to your own travel arrangements
– There’s a shared butler/assistant offered to you or your group. He/she can even plan your day off or arrange for special requirements.
– Just booking the hotel on ROVIA or a rival website may cost the same or a little less. But it’s just for the room and maybe breakfast, that’s it. No airport transfer, no further meals, parties or tours.
– You can meet people from all around the world
– Travel with 200 – 300 other dream trippers (this could be a pro if you like large groups)
– Some packages have no free days to spend by yourself or loved one
– You must follow the schedule provided by WV and join the local tours planned
– It’s a no brainer trip, just follow the leader
So who could really benefit from joining WV?
i) If you’re an enthusiastic traveller and/or entrepreneur and your bank account already has enough for the membership fee plus annualised subscription fee BEFORE joining WV, why not right? Money is not an issue, you can get cheap packages already prepaid by you and can travel with 200 other holiday goers (imagine all beer and beach girls!!…oh and guys too). You might even find new members and make some money along the way. Also, once you join there are regular member meetings which you can socialise and join groups who intend to travel (i.e. maybe even find your soul mate). WV can really boost your lifestyle.
If my observations are correct, most of the happy and smiling members you see in the videos belong in this group.
ii) If you’re a shotgun salesman – for sure, you will become rich and make lots of money.
The only downside is when WV no longer matches your lifestyle and you leave the WV organisation. Members who just wanted to travel and never thought of recruiting members, they’re bound to lose some prepaid points. Shotgun salesman will lose points and forego future residual income built up over the years. These two groups are the ideal market (note not the target market). It’s a win-win relationship plus a great lifestyle. Many of those who actually travelled with WV packages thoroughly enjoyed the trips and never regretted it.
So why the ruckus?
Travel is a luxury product that many people would love to have or have more of. When you join WV, you’re committed to spend travel arrangements with WV to use those reward points. The pledge is not just a one off membership fee, there’s a life time monthly fee attached. Of course, the monthly fee will be waived if you recruit four active members. However if one member quits, you’ll need to replace him/her otherwise you’ll be charged the monthly fee again. Pitchers will no doubt say, “you won’t just have four members, you’ll be consistently finding new ones”.
WV’s MLM scheme allows members to join for a fee. The fee includes a membership registration fee, immediate cash back in points, a WV support fee and ultimately a commission which is given to the referrer. You get commission when you recruit members, when your members recruit members you’ll also receive a commission and so on, hence the pyramid. There’s a requirement before you get commissions (i.e. recruit 14 members I think). In theory it works, slowly the pyramid structure will help you snowball a healthy income. But in some countries MLMs are illegal.
WV’s financial success is heavily biased towards members failing or quitting (this is a fact but it is common in other industries and yes, expect to lose friends you’ve recruited as members). You are selling them a luxury product that people can do with or without. Many members are too short sighted and have inscribed in their heads “I will be filthy rich soon” or “trips are going to be free”. After joining, many members fall flat on their faces and fail to recruit even one additional member (recruiting four members didn’t sound too hard at the beginning right?). They’ll end up miserable and pay the monthly fee whilst blaming you.
The actual target market of WV recruiters are 18-25 year old (souls who are eager to try something new; love the idea of international travel; not well financially equipped to weather financial fluctuations; plans change constantly; travel may become less important over time; other agendas will have priority over financing a future holiday). Some may feel paying a monthly fee of USD100 too burdensome or it slowly becomes a pain in the butt and simply quit. For those members who haven’t even earned a dime and the fact that their bank account is dripping dry, they will become depressed, feel “it’s not worth it” and quit. Even for those content paying members, they will lose out on some points. Let’s do the math, you might take five or six holidays a year but maybe only travel two with WV. Is it likely you’ll use all the points before they expire? In a nutshell, WV is the banker (e.g. similar to a casino or insurance company), they will never lose.
The controversial WV sales tactics:
WV recruiters often prey on peoples’ desires that are often just a dream and stay a dream. Isn’t it ironic the packages are called dream trips? Recruiters will surely take advantage members who are weak and those who are uncertain of their life’s objectives.
WV’s sales side is hazy and controversial. Seminars and meetings are often held to introduce cutting edge sales tactics to increase members or are used to invite new prospective members (but that’s nothing special, just like the personal insurance/finance industry). The underlying motive of these gatherings lean on social psychology, group behaviour empowers members to unite and fulfil the goal of recruiting new members. Not that it’s bad, sometimes we do need some encouragement from others. It’s only bad if you focus and perspective too.
For those who need the residual income from WV to pay for trips (those bound to lose focus and perspective), please don’t even bother joining because you’re statically engineered to fail. The blame is more on the greedy recruiters who don’t bother screening applicants as the initial outlay isn’t much and promises are so big (sounds so much like the housing crisis).
Members who slowly fall behind on monthly payments fall into bottomless pit, they’ll start to borrow money just to pay for their future trips and see every friend as money.
Failing members that had so much hope in WV offering income and cheap travel will become the WV zombie sales force. Their objectives will get side tracked and will get brainwashed into recruiting every human being possible. They turn into selfish individuals who are desperate for money and end up not even participating in one dream trip holiday. There’s a huge conflict of interest. However, there are success stories (the lucky 0.02%).
A friend gave me this opinion: For those who start a “business” partnership with WV, if the core business and job function (for you, up-line and down-line team members) is to recruit and nothing but recruit new members, is it really a business?
To me, a “real friend” would say “I’ve joined WV, they offer damn cheap packages let’s travel together”. Members can invite up to 7 friends and family, but that’s not the WV slogan. I really thought hard about joining WV as it does offer some cheap interesting packages and ROVIA sometimes has cheaper hotel rates than booking.com etc. If I was single and heart broken, I would probably give it a try since travelling with strangers would be fun…haha. However, my gf strongly opposes group travel so WV is not for me. The lifelong commitment, so many rules, meetings blah blah…I’ll pay the price premium and keep my options fully open.