------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Online Travel Business Blog: 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

YTB International Partnership with Shanghai Spring International Travel Service for Exclusive 2008 Olympic Tour Packages

YTB is forging into new terrain! This month, YTB Level 2 Directors traveled to Europe and China to work out the details of some very exciting and exclusive travel packages that will benefit our clients. Read below to see the latest and greatest happenings in YTB!

YTB International Partners with Shanghai Spring
International Travel Service for Exclusive 2008 Olympic Tour Packages

Alliance May Provide More Tours Than Any Other Travel Agencies

December 12, 2007: 04:56 PM EST

WOOD RIVER, Ill., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- YTB International, Inc. ("YTB" or the "Company"), a provider of Internet-based travel booking services for travel agencies and home-based independent representatives in the United States, today announced an exclusive partnership with Shanghai Spring International Travel Service to market and sell tour packages to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The packages will be available from YTB beginning on or before January 11, 2008.

In an effort to provide more tours to China for the 2008 Olympics than any other travel agency, YTB and Shanghai Spring International Travel Service, the largest privately owned travel agency in China, will offer exclusive 7 to 11 day tour packages and tickets for the Summer Olympics in August 2008. Through this strategic partnership, YTB's Referring Travel Agents (RTAs) are positioned to benefit from Shanghai Spring International Travel Service's dominant position within the Chinese market, and pass these savings on to their customers. YTB's customers will recognize value not only in terms of cost savings, but also in terms of the exclusive access to sold out events, attractions, and hotel accommodations.

"We are excited by our partnership agreement with Shanghai Spring International Travel Service, and welcome the challenge to become the largest tour provider to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Our RTAs have the resources needed to rise to this challenge, and we are confident that we will be able to provide our customers with the most professional service at the most competitive rates," stated J. Kim Sorensen, President and CEO of YTB Travel Network. "The Olympics remain the preeminent sporting event of our time, and serve as a major draw for travelers around the world to visit new destinations, and to enjoy live competitive sports. We look forward to providing our customers the opportunity to partake in history, as China holds its first Olympics."

The YTB and Shanghai Spring International Travel Service Tours will include round trip air to and from China via Los Angeles, Four Star accommodations including tips, baggage fees and taxes, daily meals, guided local tours, and admission from two to four Olympic events based on package and event preference. In addition, the YTB and Shanghai Spring International Travel Tours will also include safety insurance for visitors to China.

Shanghai Spring International Travel Service was founded in 1981 and started Spring Airlines in 2004, and currently operates eight aircraft traveling to 28 destinations in China and will be adding nine new airplanes to the fleet by 2009. The company is currently the only travel agency that owns and operates an airline in Asia.

"We chose YTB International because we wanted to work with the best Internet travel agency in the U.S. and one that would have access to thousands of potential customers," said Jenny Hu, Deputy General Manager of Shanghai Spring Tours. "YTB's high standards and great reputation, combined with their innovative business model, made partnering with them an easy decision."

Shanghai Spring has successfully purchased event tickets more than six times the number of any other purchasing agent or travel provider worldwide. In addition, Shanghai Spring has also reserved more hotel accommodations than any other agency to date.

To get more information on YTB's Olympic packages, e-mail travelinquiries@ytb.com.

About YTB International
Recognized as the 35th largest seller of travel in the U.S. in 2006 by Travel Weekly, YTB International, Inc. provides Internet-based travel booking services for travel agencies and home-based independent representatives in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. It operates through three subsidiaries: YourTravelBiz.com, Inc., YTB Travel Network, Inc., and REZconnect Technologies, Inc. YourTravelBiz.com division focuses on marketing online travel agencies through a nationwide network of independent business people, known as 'Reps.' YTB Travel Network division establishes and maintains travel vendor relationships, books travel transactions of online travel agents (RTAs, now numbering over 135,000), collects travel commissions and pays sales commissions. Each RTA sells travel through a personalized Internet-based travel website. The REZconnect Technologies division builds online reservation systems for suppliers within the travel industry. For more information, visit http://www.ytbi.com/investor.

About Shanghai Spring International Travel Service
Founded in 1981, Shanghai Spring International Travel Service has been engaged in diverse business activities, including travel, hotel, flight, conference & exhibition, sports & games, real estate, trade and transportation, etc. Spring International Travel Service is the first ICCA (International Conference & Congress Association) member in China. Spring International was appointed as the General Ticket Agency of 2004 F1 Shanghai Grand Prix of China. Persistent and concerted efforts by its more than 3,000 staff members (including tour guides) coupled with entrepreneurship have made it possible for Shanghai Spring International Travel Service to increase its asset value and sales revenue at an annual rate of 30% to 50% in the past years. Since 1994, Shanghai Spring International Travel Service has been doing so well in domestic tours that it has been commended as the No.1 travel agency in domestic tours in the country by China National Tourism Administration for 13 consecutive years. Shanghai Spring International Travel Service has established a network of branch offices in 33 major Chinese cities and 55 retail outlets in Shanghai and the surrounding areas, totally linked up by Internet. Seven overseas branch offices have started doing business in other countries around the world, with the U.S. being the most promising market with the announcement of YTB uniting as their exclusive U.S. partner.

Statements about the Company's future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, and the Company's actual results could differ materially from expected results. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances.

Media Contact:
Greg Wilson
Levick Strategic Communications for YTB International, Inc.
Phone: 202.973.1328
Mobile: 202.210.6201
Email: gwilson@levick.com

Investor Contact:
Garth Russell / Yemi Rose
KCSA Worldwide for YTB International, Inc.
Phone: 212.896.1250 / 212.896.1233

Friday, November 23, 2007

YTB Distinguished as a Leader in Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly has a lot of good things to say about YTB. It was just about a month or so ago, that YTB was listed on Travel Weekly's Power List of Travel sellers (top 35 world wide for general travel and top 11 in leisure travel). Now J. Kim Sorensen, Ceo, YTB Travel Network, has been named as one of the 33 most influential people in the travel industry. To read the post in Travel Weekly, click on this link

Read the info I was sent about this great honor, and Kim's response to it:

Travel Weekly Names J. Kim SorensenOne Of 33 Most Influential PeopleIn The Travel Industry
Travel Weekly, in an article dated 11/20/2007, has named YTB Travel Network CEO, J. Kim Sorensen, to its list of the 33 most influential people in the travel industry. The article states that the "most influential" list is filled with people who have veered from the status quo and succeeded so spectacularly that they have influenced the course travel is taking in 2007, and will be just as influential in 2008.
"I am truly honored and humbled to be included on this list," said Kim. "Especially since YTB is not about me, but about the great team and the huge network of representatives and referring travel agents that were willing to take a chance on a new way to sell travel. I speak for the entire company when I thank Travel Weekly for recognizing the huge potential of YTB." Travel Weekly's 2007 Power List named YTB the nation's 35th largest seller of travel and the 11th largest agency for primarily leisure travel for the year 2006.

Monday, October 29, 2007

RTAs Get Onboard with Trip Tailor!

YTB has instituted one-stop shopping via Trip Tailor, and RTAs can sign up now!

YTB recently announced the addition of Trip Tailor, a new, agent-only travel booking resource. Trip Tailor offers one-stop shopping for dynamic tours including air, hotel, car, events and attractions. You choose the destination, transportation and activities your customer wants, and put it all together for them in a complete package.

Until November 11th, RTAs can receive $50 off their first booking by using Promo Code TRYUS102207 on the order.

For RTAs looking for a Rewarding Experience, Sign-ups are available for Sabre Rewards Plus.
Sabre® Rewards Plus has an agent appreciation program that allows RTAs to earn points each time you sell TripTailor Vacations or Agent59 packages. Points can be redeemed for great merchandise, gift cards, travel perks and training.


YTB has a new online training for its RTAs (Referring Travel Agents).
Announcing.... the YTB E-Campus Online Training!

Yes, folks, it's true. The YTB Travel network is excited to announce the opening of our new E-Campus online training program! Initially consisting of 10 courses, the web-based instructional series will be one of the most ambitious and comprehensive ever offered by a host agency.
The first training is an Overview of the Travel Industry, and it is already up and running. This training will be followed by courses on lodging, tours/groups, cruising, air, rail/car rentals, sales/service/marketing, and three courses on destination geography. The intent is for each course to be challenging, interactive and instructionally sound, yet entertaining.

YTB is determined to stay on the cutting edge of its technological and educational programming to ensure that YTB RTAs are able to compete in the marketplace. The YTB program of studies is being designed by Marc Mancini Seminars and Consulting. Website design and program fulfillment will be handled by TheAcademy.com, a San Antonio-based firm that specializes in travel-related training solutions. The company built and manages several of the industry’s most prominent certification programs.

Marc Mancini is one of the travel industry's most highly respected and best-known speakers, educators and consultants. It's estimated that nearly 300,000 travel professionals worldwide have benefited from training programs that he has designed or delivered. The more professional our RTAs become and the more they know about travel and how to sell it, the more profits they'll be able to generate!

If you're not already a part of YTB, now is a great time to join! Join YTB at http://regina.vacationmedia.net/

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Is YTB A Pyramid Scheme?

When I was fortunate enough to be introduced to and join YTB about a year and a half ago, I had no idea how many times I would be confronted about whether or not YTB is a pyramid scheme or not. It didn't matter whether or not I was talking to friends, family or complete strangers about the company, this question always seemed to surface. So I thought it would be a good idea to start this blog by addressing this issue. Is YTB a Pyramid Scheme?

First, I think we must define exactly what we're talking about when we use this term. As its name indicates, the pyramid scheme is structured like a pyramid with one person, the initial recruiter, at the top. This person recruits a second person, who is required to "invest" "X" amount of money that must be paid to the initial recruiter. In order to make his or her money back, the new recruit must also recruit more people under him or her, each of whom will also have to invest money. The process continues until the base of the pyramid is no longer strong enough to support the upper structure because there are no more recruits.

In short, when speaking of a pyramid scheme, most people will say that: 1. You must recruit others to join the company in order to make any money at all, and 2. Only the people at the top make money while those at the bottom spend and lose money.

This is indeed a pyramid scheme, but what some people may not know is that it illegal. It is a fraudulent means of getting people to pay money into a company or business enterprise with the promise of getting unusually high returns, but without giving them anything of substance for the money that they invested. In other words, not only is running a pyramid scheme against the law, but one way of clearly determining if a business is a pyramid scheme is by evaluating the product.

The questions that need to be asked are: 1. Does the company provide a product or service in exchange for the investment received? 2. Is the product or service truly valuable and worth the investment? In short, if there are no substantive products or services offered for the investment, the business very likely falls into the "pyramid scheme" or "scam" category. Conversely, if the company does provide a viable product or service, it is not likely to be a pyramid scheme or scam.

Now that we understand what a pyramid scheme is, back to our question: Is YTB a Pyramid Scheme? Why not evaluate it to see.

1. YTB is a publicly traded company. Why is this significant? Because since pyramid schemes are illegal and not legitimate businesses, they cannot be publicly traded. As a publicly traded company, YTB is tightly scrutinized by the Securities Exchange Commission. One of the duties of the SEC is to ensure that the companies that they regulate uphold the highest ethical standards possible for the protection of investors. This year, YTB's application was approved to be listed on the American Stock Exchange. This approval further substantiates the credibility of YTB as a legitimate and legal corporate enterprise.

2. YTB offers substantive products to sell. The YTB product includes seven travel business websites which include:
a. Marketing
b. Travel Booking Engine
c. Sporting Events, Concerts & Theater Tickets
d. YTB Flowers
e. YTB Cars
f. YTB Golf
g. Honeymoon Registry

These products that the YTB business owner receives is a business unto itself, opening the way for consumers to make purchases of the same products from the same suppliers that they would be buying anyway, and paying the business owner up to 60% of the commissions.

3. Recruiting is not the only way to make money in YTB. The YTB companies offer two unique and powerful business opportunities, that of referring travel agent or "RTA" and that of independent marketing representative or "REP". The travel agent opportunity has an initial fee under $500 and a monthly license fee of $49.95. There is no fee or travel agency purchase required to be a REP. You may choose to participate in one or both opportunities. If anyone joins YTB and chooses to focus solely on the travel side of the business, they can make a great living by selling vacation packages, cruises and many other travel-related products. You can also earn commissions simply by pointing people to your websites to book their own travels. The key to success in YTB, as in any legitimate business, is to treat the business as a business and not as a "get rich quick scheme." If you do this, a lot of money can be made on both or either side of the business.

4. YTB is an approved member of the DSA. On September 18, 2007, the Board of Directors of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) approved the membership applications of 11 direct selling companies, including the one submitted by YTB! YTB has met all requirements necessary for full membership in the association. As part of those requirements, the DSA reveiwed YTB's marketing and business plans to ensure compliance with all provisions of DSA's Code of Ethics.

"The members of the Direct Selling Association pride themselves in their commitment to the highest standards in business ethics," said DSA's President Neil Offen. "By applying for membership in the association and going through a rigorous approval process, these companies are saying they take their ethical obligations to their field salesforce and to the ultimate customer seriously and are willing to make a public pledge to that effect."DSA's Code of Ethics gives the direct selling industry one of the strongest self-regulatory codes in business today. All member companies are not only required to comply with the Code to be admitted to the association, but must also continue to uphold and promote the Code as a condition of continuing membership in the association. DSA's Code is enforced by an independent code administrator who investigates and prescribes remedies in response to salesforce and consumer complaints against member companies.The Code itself includes provisions requiring truthful disclosure of product information regarding price, grade, quality, quantity and availability. The Code expressly prohibits pyramid schemes, deceptive or unlawful consumer or recruiting practices, misrepresentation of earning or sales potential, inventory loading and unreasonable entrance fees. DSA is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers. Among its more than 220 active and pending members are companies selling both via a party-plan method and in the traditional person-to-person style. In 2006, U.S. direct sales were more than $32 billion with more than 15.2 million direct sellers nationwide. The vast majority are independent business people - micro-entrepreneurs - whose purpose is to sell the product/service of the company they voluntarily choose to represent. Approximately 90 percent of direct sellers operate their business part-time. For more information on direct selling,visit the DSA website at http://www.dsa.org.

So the short answer about YTB is that while it, like most businesses and organizations including corporations, churches, the military, nonprofit organizations, etc. has a pyramid STRUCTURE, it IS NOT a pyramid SCHEME. There is a world of difference between the two.

Regina Osei is a successful mentor and coach who teaches her YTB Team members and other business owners how to succeed in business and how to market their businesses using diverse strategies and approaches both online and offline. If you are interested in starting your own online travel business and want the benefit of a mentor who is committed to your success, join our team today at http://regina.vacationmedia.net. If you have questions, e-mail me at: reginaosei@gmail.com or call 901-221-1630(1)