This Posting Is Dedicated To David Portener, Chief Marketing Officer Of Travelhost

Dear Mr. CMO of Travelhost,

I’m no attorney, nor do I give legal advice, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to be a lawyer in order to recognize fraud when you see it. I suggest you and the other executives at Travelhost Magazine in Dallas pay close attention to this posting, because what I’m about to suggest could be vital to your careers and the way you spend the next few years of your lives.

Mr. Portener, your company violates franchise laws in 15 states, including the state of California where you operate Travelhost of Palm Springs. This violation is a felony in several of these states, and the law is crystal clear when it comes to identifying a business as a franchise. Travelhost meets these qualifications hands down, yet you do not follow the law requiring disclosure of failure rates for investors.

Why does Travelhost advertise itself as a franchise on the internet? And, why did Travelhost take down the internet ad on “” two days after I posted a link to it on my blog? Why do you continue to mislead people, Mr. CMO?  Dave Portener, YOU as the CMO are responsible for this posting (and others like it) marketing Travelhost as a franchise:


If I were you, I would consult an attorney about the implications of your actions at Travelhost Magazine. Have the attorney read my blog posts about: fraud, deception, franchise laws, and non-disclosure. I also suggest your attorney reads Jeff Loudon’s blog from early 2009. I have a copy if you need one.

Dave, I wouldn’t consult your in-house attorney, because I don’t believe that he would give you the same advice that your own private attorney would. Mr. Price obviously believes that the way you operate Travelhost is completely lawful, or he would not be a part of the operation at all, as his bar affiliation relies on him following the law at all times.

Furthermore, you and Travelhost perpetrate fraud on investors, which is also punishable under state AND federal law. Dave, you and your “market expansion staff” will not be protected by the corporate veil that Jim Buerger and Mr. Price lead you to believe you’re protected by. You are liable personally for what you’re doing down there in Dallas, and you will likely be prosecuted for it this year. Though some current and past Travelhost employees can legitimately plead innocent, you Dave, can no longer plead ignorance to these laws.  You know what you’re doing is wrong.

Dave, I’m suprised that you didn’t accomplish what you originally set out to do…change Travelhost for the better. You convinced everyone in the network that Travelhost needed to change in order to survive, and that you were the guy that could make it happen. We all believed in you. In reality, all you did was become Jim Buerger’s partner-in-crime.  Now you’re just a liar and a thief.

Perhaps Jim Buerger would like to know how you REALLY feel about him, Dave?

Consider this your official notice that members the Travelhost network of associate publishers intend to hold you personally liable, and go find yourself personal counsil. Ask this person if they think you’re liable, you’ll be surprised at their answer. Or, maybe you won’t be…perhaps you realize that it’s only a matter of time before you’re prosecuted along with the rest of the brass at Travelhost HQ.

Good Luck,



For those who are interested in reporting Travelhost for violating your consumer rights, contact:

Richard Cleland
Bureau of Consumer Protection

It won’t take long, I’m sure he’ll be familiar with your call.  In the message you can say Travelhost has been ripping off people for decades, hiding their nearly 100% failure rate. They don’t comply with franchise laws, but they advertise themselves as a franchise.  Proof is in the link above.

When this guy gets enough calls he’ll have to do something about it.  And, so will Travelhost!

2 Responses to “This Posting Is Dedicated To David Portener, Chief Marketing Officer Of Travelhost”

  1. ali carter Says:

    The publisher’s whose photos appear in the house ad — do they bear liablity for perpetuating fraud? In other words, if their name/photo are used to promote, can they be held liable in the event that a class-action is brought against the company for fraud? If so, these people better yank off their photos– quickly.

  2. travelhost AP Says:

    I find it very interesting that Travelhost is promoting their business with current APs touting their markets, especially one. That one specifically mentions billing over $1 million dollars last year. To those of you who are contemplating investing, this is no where near the “normal” market. What she isn’t telling you is she publishes 3 products and has been in her market for nearly 30 years. Please ask Travelhost to disclose average billings for most markets – they will tell you they don’t know, of course. Ask for current AP names and ask them yourself. Do your homework. Travelhost can be a great business for you, but you must take a critical view of your market.

    Just some suggestions for your due diligence:
    1/ talk with your local convention & visitors bureau, are they friendly to the publication and the service it offers? Or do they view you as competition to their own publication?
    2/ is their publication “sold” to advertisers or are ‘advertisers’ included automatically as a service?
    3/ what other visitor publications are in the area? Don’t forget to look for map products, menu products, computer kiosks located in the hotels, etc.
    4/ find out the frequency of these other competing products, are they annual, monthly, etc.
    5/ if there are other visitor publications, find out what their rates are to give you an idea of the competitive landscape. Travelhost will tell you to set your rates where you want them to make your target return, but if your competition is selling similar space at half of your rate sheet it won’t matter.
    6/ take a hard look at the “publishing” rates (printing rates) charged by Travelhost. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, they are not wholesale prices. They do average about twice the cost of commercial printers. This is where Travelhost makes their money, instead of charging a percentage of revenues like most franchises.
    7/ Figure out what your costs are and how many pages of ads you will have to sell to cover these costs. It’s a lot!
    8/ completely disregard the Branson and Ft. Lauderdale market discussions with Travelhost. These are very special markets, they are exceptions to the rule. It is highly unlikely you will be able to replicate their market position in your market. They love to “tease” you with those success stories. Don’t be lulled into thinking it will happen for you. Always think about the worst case scenario and not the best!
    9/ and please know there are great people working across the country under the name of Travelhost. Hard working, honest people. Talk to them! Lots of them! And not just the names given to you by Travelhost. Look online at the magazines. You can find the contact information for the current APs on the masthead on the table of contents page.
    10/ and lastly, if you don’t have any selling experience, especially with advertising, ask yourself if you truly think you are able to do this. It is not easy, it is hard work.

    Note: if you find a magazine online that has no date on the cover and no local contact information in the masthead, it is a dead market. The magazine is online but that market is not currently served by Travelhost in print, just online. My latest review (3/10) of the website shows about 80 markets currently served by a Travelhost AP and about 80 markets have a magazine posted online but are no longer active in the market. Another 110 markets are completely blank online.

    Good luck to you in your due diligence.

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