Dear Travelhost Associate Publishers…What’s YOUR Number?

I’m pretty sure I used to be a “number 1.” That was somewhere around the time I was asked to sit on Travelhost’s Advisory Board.

Now…well, now I’m most definitely a “number 3.”

There’s a good chance, if you’re a regular reader here on my blog, that you’re probably at least a “number 2.” It may depend on how many “red flag” words you’ve used in recent communications with Travelhost in Dallas.

What’s all this mean, Brian? What are you mumbling, something about numbers?

Well it seems that our friends down in Dallas at Travelhost Headquarters are very “organized” at covering their asses, and assessing us AP’s for our “Travelhost Friendliness.”

Yes, that’s right, assessing us. See, it’s been brought to my attention recently, that Travelhost assigns all of us AP’s a number, according to how “risky” the relationship is. If you’re a low-risk, happy with Travelhost, and not concerned (or aware) of the fraud…then you’re a “number 1.”

If you’ve raised some concerns over their (lack of) business ethics, overcharging for printing/production, or just plain called them out on their corporate bullying…then you’re probably a “number 2.”  (Call yourself an “investor” or a “franchisee,” that ought to get you on “the number 2 list.”)

And, if you’re like me, and you’ve just plain had enough…enough to publicly call them out on their actions, and demand they do something about it…well then I’m probably a “number 3.”  (meaning high-risk, keep an eye on him!)

Why would Travelhost assign every AP a “risk number?”

Well, when you’re used to having to covering your ass, everywhere you turn…I suppose it’s a great tool for measuring your “temperature” on a weekly basis.


Did I mention, that Travelhost also has weekly meetings, every Tuesday morning…to assess markets “under watch,” and assign “damage control?”

For the poor folks going broke every month (around 3 on average), there’s a meeting to ensure all bases are covered…and to talk about who might be a problem from a legal standpoint, etc…when it’s time to sign the “pots right” agreements. (meaning, they hope you’re so broke, that you sign away your ability to go after them…for a lousy concession.)  (watch your emails with Travelhost, it appears they copy and paste each one for your file, in case they need it later.)

It’s all part of the grand-scam.  They cover their ass, so when you go broke, which you inevitably will…they’re covered.

One last question for the day…

Why does a (relatively) small company like Travelhost have a corporate lawyer on staff anyway?

Any company that operates ethically, within common business practices, would most likely utilize a local law firm…when they need them.

I suppose Travelhost relys on legal council every day of the week, with their track-record…eh?

5 Responses to “Dear Travelhost Associate Publishers…What’s YOUR Number?”

  1. Former Employee Says:

    I’m saying former employee because I cannot have my name published. I don’t care if you publish this anyway, I just want you to know this. Thank you.

    I’m finding this information, along with other websites of other dissatisfied APs quite interesting. I do not know anything about the numbering system or their Tuesday meetings as they may have started this after I left, but it sounds completely possible.

    When people first began saying Travelhost is a fraud I dismissed it as sour grapes by APs who just didn’t know how to sell, as was commonly said. But over the years since I have left and joined another successful publishing house I began to see it plain as day. They are in business to sell distributorships and print, that’s it. They have no concern, nor any staff, to accommodate a real magazine. Their Managing Editor is not technically a managing editor in the true sense of the word. They edit nothing. It’s title only to impress readers and future APs. What’s printed is what is submitted and never goes through a trained proofreader or trained copy editor — only people who check for accuracy against submitted copy. Once in awhile you get a proofreader who knows their stuff but that does not say much.

    As for APs, those who sell more are appreciate more. I can understand that, but one BIG mistake you’re making is calling this a franchise. NEVER use that word. It is a distributorship. If it were a franchise things would be different. It’s laughable but I was once told that if it were a franchise Jim Buerger would have to control everything in each office, down to the unforms and the color paint. And he doesn’t want that kind of control. How stupid did they think we were!! They didn’t call it a franchise because they did not want to disclose information, as has been said. I hate being played a fool. Just hate it.

    Yes, you are probably on the shit list, no doubt. You’re questioning the authority and the structure. NOBODY does that! Just wait until the awards ceremony. You won’t even be thought of. The awards will go to Denver and Ft. Lauderdale and Branson — you know, the big issues and those who have made money and kept their mouths shut.

    Oh the stories I could tell! Then you would know why I’m no longer there! I wish you luck on your issue, really I do. I just wish that you started you own with your own title. Travelhost has absolutely no market value and very little name recognition. Believe me, I know.

    Former Employee

    • bdhickey Says:

      Hello, and thank you for your response. Much like the AP’s in this Travelhost network, the employees at HQ are treated with little respect either. Since Jim Buerger likes to control the business like a Nazi dictator, I can’t imagine how much fun it must be to work there. I’m assuming you weren’t aware of this system, because they only let the “higher level execs” who are part of the scheme in on this info. It’s a shame, really…because this business could be so much more, if they utilized the tremendous talent of their employees and associate publishers.

      Travelhost is most definitely a franchise, when you consider the criteria. And, the threshold is actually quite low, so they’re fooling themselves if they think it’s not, in my opinion (and the opinion of many others who are a hell of a lot smarter than me.) You and everyone that worked down there at TH HQ were trained from day one, not to use certain words or phrases that might point to this fact. I’m sure you, in whatever capacity you worked there, were largely unaware of the fraud taking place every day…but you may have had an idea. Just no one talked about it.

      Well, I’m talking about it…and no one seems to be arguing with me.

      I have yet to receive ONE drop of evidence from ANYONE, including TH HQ, that anything in my blog or website is FALSE.

      Good luck in your new venture, and in your career. I’m sure you’ll go a lot farther, and be a lot happier, now that you’re working for a REAL publisher!


      AKA “The Publisher’s Advocate”

  2. Former Employee Says:

    Thank you for your response.

    My job at Travelhost included work in production and working with APs and future APs. I knew many of them personally after the years and was always struck with their sincerety and desire just to make it — for the most part. I helped to prepare for conventions and attended them, taught TIPS class, sat in on endless meetings in both middle management, sales and many with Jim Buerger himself. Strangely, after ten years of employment I was still not aware of the fraud. I heard bits and pieces about it by “disgruntled former APs” but marked it up as sour grapes.

    Yes, Buerger does run the office like a Nazi dictator, and is proud of it. It’s miserable working there for the most part. The older employees rush around from desk to desk and he nears the production end of the plant saying “Mr. Buerger is coming! Mr. Buerger is coming” which sets off a flurry of activity of clearning off one’s desk, hiding drinks and sitting up straight. One former employee who worked there well over twenty years, now retired, would actually run to her desk and apply her lipstick and brush her hair and end of gushing over the man. It was pathetic.

    But the most important thing is that the truth come out in the business plan, and that new APs coming in are aware of it. Yes, there is money to be made if done correctly, as many APs do, but the devil is certainly in the details here and are worth pointing out.

    Their corporate attorney, John Price, is on staff to be sure every i is dotted and every t crossed, and I’m sure he keeps up with every posting you have. I do find it interesting that they never challenge what you’ve written. The truth is never sladerous, as they say.

    Former Employee

  3. Dave Shockley Says:

    Well, I’m sure you saw it–Portner is done. Looks like he knew something is coming down.

    • bdhickey Says:

      Dave knows it, and I’m sure the rest of them will learn soon enough.

      I’m glad Dave did the right thing. It’s obvious they’re paying attention – from them taking down the franchise advertisement two days after I posted a link, and now Dave stepping down two days after I posted the warning letter. Good to get out before the “shit hits the fan?”

      Maybe more people will follow in his footsteps when they learn the liability involved with what they’re doing?

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