Anybody can be a travel agent. Even you.
The world of travel is wrought with twists, turns and surprises along the way, and it’s often better to be prepared for them. Earning commissions on those bookings? Even better. A company called TRVL does just that, and more.
With its slogan, “Together we’ve been everywhere,” the company implores the curious and adventurous to step out of their comfort zones. That includes finding yourself jet-lagged on a Costa Rica beach, existing in the middle of nowhere in an Arizona desert, or experiencing the zip of motorbikes as they rush past you in Saigon.
Jochem Wijnands, founder of TRVL, spoke with RewardExpert about his company’s encouragement of travel — all with a little help from strangers.
The light bulb moment
Wijnands knew what others wanted due to his own travel-based background. A photographer, writer and general global wanderer, he went to Paris at age 16 and immersed himself in the experience, by himself. He then backpacked across Europe before he turned 20 years old.
The unmatched power of a personal recommendation, from one traveler to another, was the basis for starting TRVL. That is how he found himself on the crescent-shaped beach of Yelapa, Mexico, and had his “light bulb” moment.
While at Apple he asked fellow coworkers for tips and suggestions when visiting Mexico. A female recommended a tiny village named Yelapa, but she warned that the destination could only be discovered by boat. She even recommended a nice beachfront hotel with a natural pool, and the rest was history.
Not only can individuals act as travel agents for others and provide helpful advice, they also earn a commission.
“TRVL is, in itself, a major reward program because it rewards you for the time and effort it takes to organize a trip with a commission on every booking,” Wijnands said. “TRVL doesn’t sell flights, but we’re often able to help you get hotel points when you book through us.”
He said rates are low and consistent, adding that the reason why is obvious.
“You get a commission off the lowest rates of the major booking engines, like Priceline and Expedia,” he said. “On top of that, you can earn money by helping other travelers with your travel advice. How cool is that?”
A different future
Becoming a TRVL agent takes seconds, via a sign-up screen on the website’s homepage. If you’re 18 years old, you can start making money. Wijnands assures there are no hidden fees, such as subscription fees or booking fees.
Moving forward, he aims to make travel better by empowering travelers to help each other by soliciting free, on-demand and personalized advice in real time.
“We’re changing the way millions of people book their trips online,” he said. “Connecting with a local expert is such a normal thing to do that it is hard to imagine the days before TRVL made this service available — the same way TripAdvisor once entered our lives. Can you image making a reservation at a restaurant before checking the ratings?”