Travel vertical used to be the dream come true niche for affiliate advertisers during the summer months. And even though the last summer season brought the worst-case scenario, with the biggest travel destinations closing their borders due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 summer season is going to be nothing like that!
Airports all over the world have noted some of the busiest days the travel industry has seen since the pandemic started, COVID-19 vaccines are more and more accessible, and people can’t wait to get their travel passes and hit the road to enjoy the sun and the thrill of adventure.
And what does that mean for us, affiliate marketers? It means that the travel money season is back on!
So, sit comfortably, put your shades on, pour yourself a cold drink… and get ready to scale your summer season campaigns with this affiliate marketing guide to travel niche in 2021!
What is the travel vertical in affiliate marketing?
Putting the whole coronavirus situation aside, the travel vertical has long been known as one of the most popular, profitable, and highly in-demand sectors of the affiliate marketing industry. What’s important to note is that travel is a much broader term than many advertisers may initially think. That’s why it’s often categorized as the Travel or E-commerce & Travel vertical.
This is mostly because various smaller niches relating to a general concept of travel may also fall under the e-commerce category. For example, promoting luxury luggage deals may fall under either one of the two, or a combined category, depending on the advertising angle, offer details, and internal guidelines of both affiliate networks and traffic sources.
Talking about various smaller niches that come under the travel vertical umbrella term, here’s a collection of the most popular ones:
✔︎ Accommodation (hotels, hostels, long or short-term rentals)
✔︎ Transportation (flights, fares, cruises, railway and bus tickets)
✔︎ Trips and cruises (packaged deals offering transportation, accommodation, etc.)
✔︎ Rentals (cars, bikes, scooters, water equipment)
✔︎ Travel equipment (luggage, gadgets, electronics)
✔︎ Travel insurance
✔︎ Financial services
✔︎ Medical services
Mind there are many more, already existing niches on the market, while new ones are constantly being added depending on the market needs. And as always — where there’s demand, the affiliate marketing supply follows. That’s why choosing the right offer for the travel vertical does not need to be limited to the most obvious choices.
Advertisers should also remember that finding a unique and unsaturated niche equals hitting a jackpot in affiliate marketing terms. Less competition, more traffic volume, bigger reach, and higher profits are all one needs to succeed with their campaigns.
Is running travel niche offers worth it in 2021?
But how are the things looking for the travel vertical during the summer season of 2021… and the post-covid reality we’re all still enduring
Luckily, things are looking good.
Even though the travel industry was estimated to bring a truly thrilling number of $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP (that is $8,900,000,000,000 in full number to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about), and although everything went sour in 2020, the industry has already noted an uptake since the first COVID-19 regulations have been loosened.
But before we give in to the hopeful wishes, let’s have a look at some hard data collected and published by Statista in March 2021:
“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the tourism industry hard in 2020, as governments implemented travel bans and stay-at-home measures in order to contain the spread of the virus. In 2020, the market size of the global tourism sector declined over the previous year, reaching 1.54 trillion U.S. dollars. This industry’s market size was forecast to rise to 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021.”
The prognoses for the whole of the travel and tourism industry look promising this year. As opposed to the 2020 season where most of the world had to struggle with some of the worst scenarios the coronavirus pandemic had us imagine.
That’s why, as long as advertisers choosing to run travel-related campaigns remember to:
- select their offers and targeting options carefully,
- thoroughly research COVID-19 legal and safety regulations for relevant GEOs,
- stay vigilant and ready to adapt to the ongoing market changes,
- test various angles and strategies to feel the post-covid travel market before scaling their campaigns full speed ahead.
… the online travel vertical is expected to be well profitable for affiliate marketers during the summer season of 2021 and beyond!
How to choose travel offers that convert?
Choosing an offer for your affiliate marketing campaign is the most important step. Everything depends on it — the traffic source you’re going to use (and the ad formats the offer allows), your marketing angle and strategy, targeting and budgeting, and most importantly… your profits. That’s why advertisers should always think carefully about how to pick offers that convert.
#1. The first step would be to decide on the offer source — whether to pick one from your current affiliate network inventory (if travel niche offers are included in the network’s inventory that is) or whether to sign up to one of many travel affiliate programs.
#2. Then it’s about deciding on your advertising channel — whether that’s going to be SEO affiliate marketing, social media advertising, or paid advertising. Depending on your experience, budget, and how much time you’re able to allocate to promote travel affiliate offers.
#3. Once that’s decided it’s time to judge the best options that are both available to you as an affiliate advertiser, and suitable for your affiliate marketing business. This may be especially hard if you’re not an old sport of the online marketing industry, but thorough market research might be a good solution. That should allow you to decide on the best features a given travel affiliate program or a network offers for its advertisers.
#4. Also, regardless of the vertical of your choice, some tips are universal when it comes to choosing the best affiliate offers on the market. That would be the general market recognition, review of your fellow affiliates, or various partner recommendations. Again, whatever the vertical or niche, staying up to date with what’s generally happening in the industry is key.
List of travel affiliate programs & affiliate networks with travel offers.
Given the rising accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine, and millions of people getting their long-awaited travel passes it’s finally time to research travel offers for affiliate marketers. And as always, we here at Zeropark are quick to deliver answers to your questions. That’s why below you’ll find our recommendations and information on top travel affiliate programs and networks allowing paid advertising.
Travel affiliate programs:
Travel affiliate networks:
- Travelpayouts (travel offers only!)
- CJ Affiliate
Where does the travel niche perform best? [TOP GEOs]
Before we start answering that question, we need to make sure to distinguish between the travel industry as a whole and online travel marketing. This is because the regions that bring the most profit for the travel industry (usually top travel destinations) are not necessarily the same countries where the demand for travel ads is on the rise.
And the current post-pandemic situation makes the whole thing even more complicated…
This is because places that used to be the biggest travel goals for people all around the world before the pandemic hit, needed to restrict and limit the influx of tourists to contain the virus. Meaning, they had to cut down on what used to make them the most money to survive. And still, till this day, travel restrictions are imposed on many countries all over the world.
But as shown by various 2021 prognoses for the travel industry, things are looking up. On top of that, since the beginning of the year, we were also able to see more and more of our advertisers are coming back to running travel offers in Zeropark ad exchange platform. That’s why by combining the general market trends and looking through our data we were able to select top-performing GEOs for the travel vertical in Zeropark. Have a look below!
Naturally, given how dynamic the affiliate industry usually is, and how fast things get speeded up with the global pandemic situation, this is just an overview.
And whether your desired GEO is a currently top-ranking one, or rather to be avoided target country, needs to be checked on an individual basis per your offer, traffic source, specific ad format, or current legal and safety regulations. Each offer, campaign, and target country abides by different rules at the moment, so the one rule for all is definitely out of question here. For example, a campaign that would perform well for Russia (RU) might not work as well in the United States (US) due to the difference in travel restrictions in the countries.
That’s why, to make running travel offers just a bit easier for you, we found some useful links (courtesy of travel affiliate experts) to be checked before starting a campaign.
- An interactive travel restrictions map by Kayak.
- Most relevant travel news updates by Travelpayouts
- Collection of online travel marketing stats & facts by Statista
How to advertise travel offers for maximum profits? [TIPS]
Tapping into the right audience, at the right time, at the right place, and in the right way is the key to affiliate success. And that’s where it all gets complicated, especially given the 2021 summer season.
This is because people may generally still feel a little apprehensive about international travel… or any travel at all. On the other hand, there are billions of people who are dying to finally go away and visit their long-awaited vacay destination. How to target the latter group while skipping the former? As difficult as it sounds, the key may lay in keywords.
Any sort of keyword-oriented or keyword-targeted campaign seems like the most reasonable solution at the moment. This is because this option of online advertising allows you to deliver just the content people are already looking for, when they’re looking for it, straight to the device they use to find it.
Now, keyword targeting (especially in terms of travel niche) seems a lot like mostly SEO-based advertising. But, for those who don’t know Zeropark that well just yet, keyword targeting is a huge part of programmatic advertising, too. Let us walk you through some of the programmatic ad solutions allowing for precise, keyword-oriented targeting, that binds the ad supply with ad demand.
Affiliate classics — pop and domain redirect traffic for travel ads.
Pop ads are a full-screen ad format featuring advertised landing pages that appear during users’ browsing sessions. Pop ads are usually displayed as a new browser window or a tab appearing over a currently viewed page (pop-ups) or beneath it (popunders).
The key benefits of pop ads involve:
- CPV cost model
- rates starting at as low as $ 0.0001 per view
- large testing sample size at a cheap price
- precise keyword targeting
- fast and easy campaign set-up
- effective optimization options
Additionally, Zeropark offers yet another form of pop inventory — that is injection traffic.
It’s generated by toolbars that users have previously installed in their browsers. And in this way, the browsers give a permit to display ads relevant to the currently browsed content based on targeted keywords. So when a user types in a URL into a browser with a previously installed toolbar, ads linking to affiliate offers are injected under the selected keywords.
The other well-known and very much-keyword-based ad format available in Zeropark is domain redirect traffic, also known as parked domain traffic or zero-click. It’s actually the oldest traffic format in Zeropark, a very consistent and reliable one when it comes to the online shopping/e-commerce sector, travel niche included.
The way domain redirect ads work is that they deliver users to your landing pages through redirects. First, a user needs to type in a parked domain URL in the address bar of their browser. Next, as the website loads, a real-time bidding auction among the advertisers begins. Finally, after the auction is concluded, the highest bidder’s landing page is displayed. Mind the entire process takes under a second!
The key benefits of domain redirect traffic involve:
- CPV cost model
- cheap rates starting at $0.0003 per view
- Redirecting users straight to your landing page/promoted content
- acquiring visitors based on their interests
- keyword and URL targeting
- fast and easy campaign set-up
- effective optimization options
Push ads & travel insurance niche.
Both push ads and in-page push ads are, in fact, a type of native ad format, offering a non-intrusive, user-friendly, and highly engaging way for advertisers to reach their audiences.
Proven to work well for almost any type of advertising campaign, these interactive ad messages are delivered directly to users’ mobile or desktop devices even when they’re not actively engaging with it (iOS included!). That’s because users voluntarily agree to receive push notifications from a website. Hence when your ads get delivered in the form of a push notification, when they click on it, your landing page or promoted offer gets displayed.
The key benefits of push traffic involve:
- CPC cost model;
- 100% real-user audience as users must subscribe to receive push notification ads;
- higher CTR leading to more conversions from highly engaged users;
- Option to A/B test your push ads campaigns by uploading up to 10 different copy-image combinations;
- Ad delivery even when subscribed users don’t browse the Internet or use their devices at a given moment.
Yet another reason why push traffic is the way to capitalize on the current travel demand is something we already stated at the very beginning of the article.
It’s sticking to a specific niche, and by observing push-traffic performance we’ve found one that this ad format fits best in terms of the travel vertical. It’s the travel insurance niche.
Push ads and in-page push traffic have always worked well with verticals like Antivirus, Finance, E-commerce, or Insurance. That’s why it’s not too surprising that this very specific niche of the travel vertical is the one that works best with push ads in Zeropark at the moment. Especially that the more responsible approach to traveling has been a natural and very in-demand consequence of the past year and a half.
And if you’d like to learn more about advertising life insurance offers, here’s an article by our friends at Voluum ad-tracker that’s worth a read!
Search Ads — a perfect match for online travel advertising! [NEW]
When it comes to running travel-related campaigns in Zeropark during the 2021 summer season, we cannot not mention the latest addition to our inventory, which is Search Ads.
Search ads are a new, brand-safe, non-intrusive ad format designed specifically to instantly match brands with customers. There are also two ways users can interact with your brand’s ad. These are the Suggestion Tiles (mobile and desktop devices) and Instant Search model ads (mobile devices only).
The way Zeropark search traffic works is through keyboard apps displaying the promoted brands suggestions. Depending on the user device, brand suggestions may be shown with brand Tile ads that are matched based on keyword targeting; or via URL autocomplete suggestions triggered upon detecting user input.
The key benefits of search ads involve:
- CPC cost model;
- 100% accurate targeting;
- High CTRs thanks to delivering just the content that people are searching for;
- Improved customer journey as search ads significantly shorten the advertising funnel;
- Instant match as users are delivered to your content even before they finish their search;
- Unparalleled customer experience with keyboard apps predicting the brand suggestions.
… and there are no cookies involved!
So investing in search ads means investing in a future-proof solution as search traffic doesn’t rely on cookies or any third party-trackers.
Please note, though, that search traffic is a premium ad format in Zeropark and can only be available for chosen advertisers after prior approval. This is due to strict compliance guidelines. For example, the landing page must strictly drive traffic to the brand the keyword is targeting.
Targeting & optimization tips for scaling your travel campaigns in 2021
As with every campaign type, some targeting tips are universally applicable. And regardless of what a great offer you’ve got from your travel affiliate program or network, if you don’t abide by the following rules, no amount of advanced tips and marketing strategies will work. So, let’s dig into the essentials!
✔︎ Budget setting — account for the testing budget, the campaign’s daily budget, and the total budget. You need all three to work with one another to make your campaigns run smoothly.
✔︎ Offer payouts — know how your offer payout works and calculate your budgets accordingly. Make sure you won’t suffer from cash flow obstacles on the way.
✔︎ Bidding — always check with the traffic source for current GEO, source, or target rates and bid high enough to win the right amount of traffic, or decrease your bid in order not to overpay for the traffic you’re already winning.
✔︎ GEO targeting — as stated, following the general trends can be tricky given the market fluctuations. It’s better to ask your traffic source representative for data and insights on what works best for your campaigns at a given moment.
✔︎ Adult Filtering — knowing the difference between mainstream and adult targeting may be a break or make an element for your campaigns. You don’t want the traffic source or an affiliate network to block your campaigns before they even get to run.
✔︎ Frequency Filtering & Day-Parting — this option may seem not too relevant but using it right can save you from cutting yourself from potentially profitable traffic, or spending money on traffic that doesn’t bring you conversions. That’s why broad testing at first and then filtering out the most profitable setup is always recommended.
✔︎ Device and OS targeting — as with the previous option, this targeting option needs to be used within reason. Going broad first and then narrowing it down to the whitelisted devices is essential to the success of your affiliate campaigns.
✔︎ Rule-Based Optimization — once all the testing is done and advertisers can draft a basic optimization scheme, it’s time to use the automated optimization feature available in Zeropark. This AI-powered tool lets you save both the time and energy of having to constantly watch over your campaigns, and does the work for you according to the rules you set.
Running travel-related ads will surely not be easy this year, as the world is still recovering from almost a year and a half period of permanent lockdown. On the other hand, we’re all thirsty for the thrill of travel and leaving the comfy confines of our couch.
So, maybe now really is the best time to get back on track with the travel niche and get a headstart with your campaigns before the competition gets tight again?
One thing we’re sure of, though, is that the affiliate marketing industry is as capable of adapting to the ever-changing industry trends as any other business. That’s why, whatever your doubts, it’s best to find a great offer and give it a go.
Oh, and don’t forget to ask us for personalized recommendations and tips. Just leave your questions in the comment section below or contact our Support Team. We’ll be more than happy to help!