Joining the right travel club or membership club seems to standout as the hardest choice to make when you make your decision to join a club. Travel clubs come in pretty much every share and size imaginable and to top it off they all claim to have the best of the best. Over the last few decades we have listen to multi-millionaire membership club owners getting sentenced to 20-30-40 years in prison for stealing, lying and cheating consumers. Although most of the crooks in the industry has already been busted or is currently not permitted to run another membership club there is still a great deal of so called travel clubs that you should stay clear of.
Keep in mind that you can always do a google search for travel club scams to see what is going on out in the market place.
Finding the right travel investment club can be troublesome, especially on the off chance that you don’t know how to select one. What may be a solid match for a friend may not be a solid fit for you so we encourage you to consider the following before you settle on a decision.
Understand How Travel Club Memberships Are Structured
Membership clubs can differ – a lot of the clubs will only allow single enrollments and some will allow family enrollments. In most cases if you want to use your membership for your immediate family you will be required to pay an additional fee. A few membership clubs offer lifetime membership cards but majority of the newer programs offer only monthly or annual memberships.
What Discounts Do They Offer?
This should be your first objective, to find out what kind of discounts they offer. Most membership clubs are called Closed Loop programs which mean the only way you can see the savings is to be a member. They are not able to show the discounts to the public or people interested in becoming a member. Let’s look at Hotel discounts for example. Let’s pretend you own a hotel and you have an advertised rate that you are promoting as well as the other sites like Expedia, Travelocity and etc. Then you discover someone selling your inventory for 10-80% off their rates. How would you feel? You would be upset as a hotel owner, right? Most membership clubs have to keep their discounts behind locked doors so search engines do not index the discount and make it available to the public.
There are a few companies like Hotels Etc. that will give you a demo account in order for you to test the system before you join. However majority of the travel membership clubs will not do this because they are not convinced on their own discounts. Personally you should not join a membership club unless you are able to demo the system. Here is one thing you need to keep in mind when demoing a system. Do not go into the system with one thought in mind and that is to “Find your next vacation at a discount”. You should check out the system with an open mind and view several properties, discounts and etc. to ensure you can benefit from the long run. Although most people want instant gratification so they expect what they want now but this could affect you for the long run. Just because they may not have what you need NOW does that mean you are not able to benefit from the services in the future. When and if you get access to a system then you should check out everything.
Try to find a program that has a built in rewards program. This is a sure fire way for you to get free vacations, free car rentals, free cruises by simply redeeming your accumulated points. If you are a business traveler then it is imperative that you join the right travel club. Just because you assume that you are getting the best rate because you “always” go to this hotel and they know you so they give you a special rate. Regardless if you work for a company and they have “corporate” discounts for a particular brand/s. Programs like Hotels Etc. dominates corporate rates more often than not. Matter of fact their discounts are so deep that they supply some very large companies with employee benefits or even supplies discounts to other “membership clubs”.
One of the biggest things you will notice when exploring the various types of travel membership clubs it that their lack of discounts. You could go negotiate with a few hotels and put them on a website and start selling memberships to consumers. With the right marketing you could make A LOT of money. How long will you last? Not long! So when picking the right discount travel club be certain to check out the time in business, BBB complaints and complaints on the internet however also be sure to check out the positive comments on the internet. You know that people are willing to put negative comments about a company for ANY REASON. When was the last time you put a positive comment on the internet about any company? Probably never! When researching any type of company including discount membership clubs it is imperative that you not only review the bad comments but also review the positive comments. Keep in mind how long they have been in business, how many members they have, how big is the company and most important how many positive and negative complaints that have and what out ways the other. If a company has been around since 1996 and sold millions of membership cards but you find out that there is 9 negative comments on the internet at that point I will start searching for positive comments. If you take the first suggest and request a demo of the system before you join then you will be pretty safe no matter what company you choose to go with.
Be aware of companies that partake in one of the following
· Additional fees when booking (when checking out a discount be sure to take the page all the way to the last page and you are forced to put in your credit card. This is the final price)
· Advertise only limited brands or locations
· Companies with bad records or recently launched. Conduct a “Who is” search on google. Once you find the “who is” link click on it is. The next page enter travel clubs business website into the box and it will show you who owns it, when they launched and etc.
· Be cautious of companies not having a valid “Who is” report. Companies that make their info private are typically not a reliable company. Be sure to check their actual website URL, not any of their internal links which could be a white label or private to product clients.
Here are a few things to be look out for when joining the right travel club. We encourage you to follow us on one of our many social media accounts and book mark our website to stay up to date on money savings tips, travel tips and family saving advice. You can sign up for our newsletter and get updated weekly on our amazing discounts on hotels, cruises, car rentals, restaurants, golf, theme parks, dinner shows, recreation, entertainment, movies and much more. Although we focus on hotels, resorts, condos and travel discounts, we also include discounts on any form of family activity or entertainment.