Apr 24, 2013

More Info On The Fallout Between YTB and First Travel Alliance

We have obtained an email sent by Jeff Scott, president of First Travel Alliance regarding the recent split from YTB.

As predicted more than a year ago, it appears to be the questionable business practices of YTB that has unraveled yet another deal.  According to this email, First Travel Alliance received the commissions from vendors and passed them along to YTB who, in turn, re-directed the payments to key directors (recruiters), founders, and executives.  This is textbok ponzi scheme--take money from the new entrants to pay off the liabilities of the older ones.

The email alludes that YTB changed the booking engine from FTA's to their latest Travelocity managed one without any type of notice to FTA and simply with an announcement to the RTAs.

Now it seems that FTA is looking to publicly set the record straight and is trying to retain or convert as many RTAs into their host program--a more traditional model. The email highlighted that YTB was charging the high fees which are unnecessary to sell travel via the FTA program.

Jeff Scott is currently out of the country, but we have reached out to him for comment.

Hello Everyone 
I wanted to keep the lines of communication open and be crystal clear as we move through this transition from YTB. First and foremost, I wanted to apologize to all of you that have had your business disrupted by this unfortunate turn of events and for the turmoil it may have caused in your lives. All of us at First Travel Alliance want your career in travel to be enjoyable, fun and financially rewarding. We know you don’t need this kind of aggravation. 
We have heard, and you will continue to hear the untruths and inconsistencies from those leading the diversion away from the real issues. These strategies have been used many times over the years with several of the businesses YTB International has attempted but failed to do business with. We are not saying YTB itself has made these assertions, but we understand that some directors have made incorrect or untrue statements. 
We need to clear the air on a couple of issues that have surfaced over the last two weeks. First and foremost, YTB, not First Travel Alliance, is delinquent in payments of commissions to RTA’s. YTB has apparently continued to divert funds that were scheduled to be paid to RTA to other members and to pay executive and founder salaries. This diversion of funds continued the non-current payment status they are in today. 
Speaking of commissions, let’s talk about payment of commissions. For the last year you have been paid through YTB on travel booked through First Travel Alliance. YTB has been in control of the payments and when those payments were paid out. In fact, YTB has been paid over $4.0 million in revenue from vendors and revenue received by First Travel Alliance passed through to YTB for payments of commissions. Unfortunately, we do not know when, how much or to whom they have paid commissions. YTB has either retained or received payment for all commissions owed to you. We will continue to encourage YTB to pay you the commission money it has received from First Travel Alliance for commissions earned through March 31, 2013.Starting with commissions received from vendors on or after April 1, 2013, First Travel Alliance will pay commissions directly to First Travel Alliance agents for those commissions received from April 1, 2013 onward. The first direct commission payments will be made on May 25, 2013. First Travel Alliance is assuring those who have travel booked, but commission not yet received, that First Travel Alliance will pay those commission timely and in full. For example, if you currently have a group cruise booking that sails in September, First Travel Alliance will pay that commission to you directly the month after the commission is received from the vendor and you will no longer have YTB as the middle manIn addition, First Travel Alliance will not continue YTB’s prior policy of stretching commission payments over several months based on the date travel occurs, which YTB implemented years ago in an effort to catch up on commission payments (by delaying some of them). We will pay your commissions in the month after they are received. 
As you may have noticed, YTB recently redirected your travel portals to a new booking engine, but rest assured that we are addressing that through the proper channels and expect to have that corrected promptly. While we expect to have a bump or two in the road because of YTB’s actions, we look forward to focusing exclusively on travel and continuing to provide you with the best travel products available. 
Now let’s move to the more positive side of this note. We have and always will take great pride in our ethics and integrity in this industry. First Travel Alliance is strong and expanding rapidly with agents that are true sellers of travel. We are very interested and excited about the opportunity to continue to offer many of you the ability to sell travel through our company. We are not interested in you trying to sell non-travel products or recruiting for recruiting’s sake. We want only to help you sell as much travel as you would like while making money and enjoying the benefits that the travel experience brings. 
First Travel Alliance is pleased to remind you that you can be a First Travel Alliance agent without paying any upfront fee or the $49.95 monthly fee. Why worry about “3 and Free” when you can be a First Travel Alliance agent for $19.95 per month and the first 3 months are free. That is -- not paying an upfront fee that goes to marketing and then a large monthly amount to pay down-lines. It is also not selling time share memberships and travel certificates that create the “SIZZLE” used previously and suggested time and time again by YTB. 
For those who are interested in selling travel, let’s get going!!! 
It is time to truly “HAVE FUN AND MAKE MONEY” 
If you are currently an Independent Contractor/ Out Side Sales Agent, you have signed your agreement and you are currently booking under the First Travel Alliance CLIA and ARC numbers. We will be sending you additional information for building your profiles.
For those of you who have not signed up, we can get you set up quickly with a 3 step process.
Step 1. – Send an email to Registrations@FTA-Vacations.com requesting to become a First Travel Alliance Agent.
Step 2. - We will send you the Independent Contractor agreement.
Step 3. – Sign and return the agreement to the address on the email.
That is it… 
Once approved, you can use the First Travel Alliance CLIA and ARC numbers when booking travel direct with all of our vendors. You will book as First Travel Alliance Agents and receive the commission rates that you have for the past year. Again, your commissions will be paid directly by First Travel Alliance, as explained above.
The First Travel Alliance executive team is proud that we have continued to provide our members the highest level of quality and the best vendors in the industry for you to completely support your clients. 
Now, let’s everyone do what we do best *** HAVE FUN AND MAKE MONEY ***
If you have any questions or comments, we invite you to contact your First Travel Alliance support team at _314-830-4900_. We invite you to join us and look forward to answering any questions you may have. We also invite you to join the Friends of First Travel Alliance Facebook group.