Online travel industry is one of the most lucrative in terms of global value of transactions. Getting into travel affiliation will set you on the way of getting nice revenues if you have access to any sort of audiences online as anyone travels at one point. There are all sort of products and services to promote from the travel industry, from the popular hotel bookings and flight tickets, to local tours, car rentals or even travel insurance. As an affiliate in online travel there are limited marketing options to choose from, as the industry is fairly standardized.
Just as with other affiliate industries, activating in travel affiliation requires access to users/visitors to promote to. Therefore you either need a website, an email marketing list, a mobile app, a social media group with users or any mix of above. But if you do not have any of these, than see our guide to getting a website online as this is the simplest and quickest way of starting. Once you have any access to any of these means, you are one step away from becoming a travel affiliate.
Getting Started with Travel Affiliation
The best conversion levels in any affiliate industry are reached when the audience you promote to have an interest to the product or service advertised. That means that in travel affiliation you will get the best conversions if the audience you are promoting to are into traveling. The best part in travel, is that at the end anyone is a potential customer as we all travel every once in a while. So, if you are running a travel blog, hotel rates comparison, flight search (just as few ideas), you already have access to users with a strong interest in spending money on some travel services/products.
What is Travel Affiliation?
Travel industry includes a wide range of services and products such as hotel reservations, flight tickets, car rentals, cruises, tour bookings, travel insurance.
Identify the Best Program to Promote
Activating as an affiliate in travel industry requires the promotion of such products. First of all, you need to properly identify the product that would best cater to your audience. Hence, if you have a blog with city attractions, then promoting tours in that area or hotel for tourists would be a better option then promoting cruises.
To be a successful affiliate you need to promote a service that is right for your audience, contrary you would just waste your traffic and time – you need to work with an affiliate program that caters to your audience to assure the best conversions and the best earnings potential.
Check our travel affiliate programs directory for a list recommended programs.
Selecting the Travel Product
There are many offers in terms of travel services and products available both globally and locally. While your audience may have some particular interests, that is no reason not to also try to cross-sell complementary services. You may focus on s single product that works best for your users/visitors, let’s say hotels, but that doesn’t mean they might not also be interested in car rentals or flights to a destination.
Selecting the Brand
It is important to partner with the right brands as this will affect conversions as an overall. Offering a good user experience will translate in loyal visitors and the possibility to sell them a travel service over again.
Therefore, when choosing the travel partner or brand you should make sure it is a trusted company, offering a service that is straightforward and easy to understand by your users, a company that tracks your sales and calculates your commissions fairly. Ideally, the company you partnered with also offer support in the language of your visitors in order to keep a good conversion rate.
PPS – Pay Per Sale is widely present among hotel reservation and car rental affiliate programs. PPS is sort of a revenue share program as it pays out the affiliate a commission calculated as a percentage of the sale generated by referred users. Each program may calculate a bit different the commission share, either as a fixed percentage or a tier based commission percentage that relies on the number of bookings referred each month.
CPA – the CPA model is popular mainly among flight tickets, cruises and travel insurance affiliate programs. On the CPA payment model, the affiliate gets paid a predefined amount for each new sale referred.
PPC – Pay Per Click pays the affiliate on clicks / visitors sent towards the affiliate program, regardless if those visitors turn to buy something or not. The PPC payment model is available with several programs, mainly rate comparison websites.
Start your Marketing Campaign
The time has come to start your marketing campaign now. Based on the type of audience you have and marketing channels you own, you can start creating content and publishing affiliate links and banners so you can refer new users to selected travel affiliate programs.
If you are a website owner, you will be required to implement banners / affiliate links within your content. For best conversions, brands should be well integrated within your content. Just publishing some banners may not give the best results – so it is best to go the extra mile here, and be innovative in terms of how you promote the travel service to your users. For example, as a travel blog owner you may write different articles about places to visit – that is where you can include some recommended hotels for different budgets or close to different points of interest; the hotels in this case can have affiliate links integrated to refer your users to a hotel booking program for reservation. Similar, you can also try to push flight tickets here as part of your users may need to get from farther away.
If you have a mailing list – then this requires creating an email template and content with a call to action for your subscribers to book a travel service with the brands you’re promoting. Ideally is to promote some special deals here in order to have a better conversion.
You will need to continue this implementation work on a regular basis, followed by campaign optimization based on the affiliate statistics you get; don’t be afraid to try new things and optimize your campaigns based on the results you get. Make sure to write down what works best, around what time of the year or events so that you can replicate your results with other similar occasions.
- PPS revenue – for affiliates opting for PPS revenue model, you can create a nice revenue if you have loyal returning visitors to your website as this model pays for continued marketing performance
- wide range of products and services to promote in this industry, from direct travel services to complementary services
- high competition in all travel markets making it difficult to get traffic in this industry
- the need to always stay on top of all promotional deals offered by your partners as with the PPS model they can easily target your referred users with email campaigns and overwrite your tracking resulting in new sales not being paid as commissions
- Can I work with a travel affiliate program if I don’t have a website? Yes, you can. If you have access to an audience like mailing list, social media group, or maybe you will simply buy out media (banner placements, pop-unders, interstitial..), you can still work with an affiliate program. However please note that spam is not tolerated, and if you will be buying media placements, then speak with the brand representatives for approval. Travel affiliate programs also have restrictions on PPC campaigns (keywords bidding restrictions)
- Can I work with multiple affiliate programs and/or brands? Yes, you can. Affiliate programs in travel do not restrict you in working only with their brands.
- Will I get paid for every PPS user I referred? Yes, with the programs offering the PPS revenue model you will get paid for every sale generated by one of your referred users if purchase is made during the validity of the referral period, regardless if that user purchased or not before from that website.
- Can I make a booking from my own affiliate links? Yes, you can. In this case you will also get a commission on the purchase you made.
- Can I refer my friends to the brands I am working with? Yes, you can. This is absolutely fine with all affiliate programs.
- How does the affiliate program know which are the customers I referred? The most common way of tracking users is through the use of affiliate links. These affiliate links set a cookie in the visitor’s browser when clicking on that link. Cookies are small tracking files that are used widely by all websites for various purposes, affiliate tracking included. Cookies have an expiration date, so that means that if someone that clicked on your link makes a booking with the brand at a later time (not necessarily same day as clicked on the link), you will still be credited for that client. Cookie duration differs from a program to another and from a product to another and can be anywhere between 7 days validity to lifetime.
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