Picking the right offer is something that can make or break your campaign. In fact, the offer is the underlying foundation of your campaign and the whole setup is dependent on it. The affiliate programs and offers you choose are either going to make you money or waste your time and resources.
This is why it’s so important to pick them well. Travel niche or not, this choice is not to be underestimated.
If you want to learn how to assess the potential of an offer from a travel niche, read this article and never make the wrong choice again!
Affiliate network vs. affiliate program
First of all, there is usually a clear distinction between travel offers and affiliate programs. Travel niche is a huge space encompassing anything related to travel, so it stretches across other verticals such as sweepstakes, downloads, finance, and e-commerce.
Travel affiliate programs are often managed by the given brand/company, so you are working directly with the provider of the offer. Such programs can have restrictions or requirements that make them only suitable for webmasters, travel bloggers, and people with large social media followings. So, travel affiliate programs such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, or Kayak, might not be ideal for affiliate marketing with paid traffic.
Affiliate networks on the other hand are hubs for all kinds of affiliate programs and offers. They aren’t limited to the travel industry. If you work with paid traffic such as pop, push, display, native, or search, affiliate networks such as Travelpayouts, MaxBounty, or Clickdealer will have a selection of travel offers (or travel-related offers) that will work for you. You can use the offers search box to browse the options.
While you should choose affiliate programs to best match your traffic, it works the other way when using paid traffic. Then, you should pick offers based on recommendations and spying. Ideally, you should ask your account manager or pick something from the top-performing suggestions.
How to choose the best affiliate program for your audience?
Placing your affiliate link or an ad in a good spot is one of the biggest factors in achieving good results. But the first step is not the ad placement. It’s the audience.
Just like we’ve mentioned in the previous section, offers you can find in an affiliate network are better suited for paid traffic (like the ones you can get from Zeropark). And travel affiliate programs are better for someone with an organically gathered audience. But let’s get into more details.
Travel bloggers and website owners
What travel bloggers and travel website owners have in common is making money online by creating content. Top destination rankings, best travel gear, detailed reviews of private apartments, and car rentals recommendations are only some of the popular travel industry topics. Having a travel blog or website with a sizeable audience and that kind of content makes you the perfect candidate for the top affiliate programs.
And sometimes, that’s a requirement. For example, Lonely Planet Affiliate Program requires you to have your own website if you want to participate in their program.
A person with their own website can easily become an affiliate marketer. Because placing a referral link in thematically related content costs nothing and can generate a solid passive income as long as you have high numbers of daily visitors.
In general, the bigger the traffic volume, the higher you can aim. Some affiliate programs have well-developed banner integration options as well as widgets and customizable ads. Travel sites and travel blogs are the perfect places to make use of those features.
Social media channels
Social media channels with a following allow you to earn money by advertising the best travel affiliate programs to your followers. This method of advertising is similar to the previous one. What you need to do is pick a travel affiliate program that suits your needs and your audience.
Things like hotel bookings, travel insurance, or flight bookings are kinds of offers that will work for someone sharing their holiday journeys via social media. It might be important to note here that while travel blogging attracts an audience that takes a genuine interest in some particular travel destination or holiday package, social media is more likely to reach a more varied audience.
Especially sites like Instagram, which revolve around sharing pictures, might prompt readers to spontaneously plan a trip. Hence – a longer cookie lifetime is especially important. Just give your audience enough time to arrange a trip to some destination they spontaneously fell in love with.
Affiliate marketers using paid methods
Affiliate marketing using paid methods such as native, display, email, social media, PPC, and PPV advertising is the last on our list. Some of the best travel affiliate programs might not be too keen on traffic coming from paid sources.
However, travel is still an extremely profitable niche for paid traffic affiliate marketers. There are plenty of offers that can make you big money and apart from the travel niche. Such a sub-niche as e-commerce is absolutely perfect for paid traffic and you can generate a sizable affiliate income from selling travel-related gadgets alone.
Hence, when choosing an offer that would work for your favorite traffic sources, you need to check what traffic is allowed and compare that to your previous experience.
How to judge the potential of travel affiliate programs and offers?
The best way to judge the potential of the offers is to check what other people are saying. Check the reviews and opinions and you’ll find out which travel affiliate program is worth your time. This is especially important if you’re one of the affiliate marketers using paid traffic. That’s when you need to carefully pick your affiliate programs so that the money you invest in promoting them isn’t lost.
If you’re wondering about affiliate marketing sites where you could compare the travel affiliate programs and networks, we’ve got a couple of propositions for you:
And if you’re interested in what the affiliate marketing community talks about on the forums, you should check out the following:
These sites are especially useful for learning about affiliate networks. Travel affiliate programs are, unfortunately, often excluded from such communities as they are aimed at all the travel bloggers, app creators, and website owners who can tailor the content so as to make a successful referral.
Affiliate networks usually deal with many verticals. The only exception is the Travelpayouts affiliate network, where you’ll see a variety of offers but from just one vertical – the travel industry. However, reading reviews on a community forum can give you a good idea of the minimum payment threshold, or revenue share, whether you get your own affiliate manager, how easy to use the platform is, and what are the expected earnings.
Community forums often also have follow-alongs where you see how another affiliate marketer chooses to pick and try affiliate marketing offers.
What features to look out for in travel affiliate programs?
If you’re a travel blogger looking for something to promote you should know what features are going to be the most helpful. While most programs are going to have some form of support and banner customization, there is more you should look out for.
Some travel affiliate programs that are designed to be promoted via travel blogs or travel websites offer search boxes that allow website visitors to look up the best prices for vacation packages or rental cars straight from an article or a subpage.
Also, affiliates earn money quicker with deep linking. Instead of linking to a whole website about travel essentials you can be specific and direct people straight to the referenced content.
And don’t forget about restrictions. Travel affiliate programs like, for example, Wego are extremely strict when it comes to requirements. If you are unable to meet their KPIs, you will be kicked out of the program. So, make sure to assess your capabilities before joining programs with high requirements.
Key characteristics of the best affiliate programs and offers
Travel industry or not, if you want to pick a good offer or affiliate program for your paid traffic, there are a couple of telltale signs you should look out for. Picking the best travel affiliate program depends on how well you do your research. So, here’s how to tell if an offer has potential.
They’re on spy tools
Popular affiliate programs might not always find their way to a spy tool’s inventory. That’s because spy tools are for spying on paid ads. And while a travel blogger might have no need to go there, an affiliate marketer going for the paid version of traffic is going to get a lot of valuable intel.
Filtering by volume or time the offer has been around gives you a good idea of whether the program is a popular choice. Usually, if someone chooses to run an offer for a longer time it’s a good indicator of the potential for more money to be made.
An additional benefit of using spy tools is getting insights into the creative aspect of the travel industry. What kind of ads are people running? Paid traffic is not about text links. You need landing pages, banners, and ads and sometimes there’s more money to be made with great copy and landers than without them.
They’re talked about in the community
Good travel affiliate programs get noticed by the community. The travel niche might be full of affiliate marketers that don’t use forums that often… but those that do, aren’t shy to share their opinions. If an affiliate program or offer is talked about in the community, it most likely means it’s worth engaging with.
Unless it’s not talked about in a positive light. Then that’s your clue to maybe skip that one.
In general, forums are where you can find great deals, bonuses, and special offers for affiliate programs, networks, and offers. You can also learn about the newest trends, changes in affiliate programs and you can engage in speculations about new features.
The best travel affiliate programs are not that hard to find. If there’s a new gem, the community will know about it.
They’re among the affiliate network recommendations
If you need good offers and you’re signed up to an affiliate network your best bet is to check out the recommendations. You can try asking your affiliate manager as they might have the most up-to-date information. But you might also check the list of top offers.
Most affiliate networks give you the option to filter by the hottest or most popular offers. The best travel affiliate programs will probably be on the top of that list. And remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to the travel vertical. There are apps, e-commerce products, and offers for various travel services that are perfect for paid traffic.
As long as the offer is recommended either by your account manager or an automatically generated report of the best performing offers, it’s got a fair chance of being profitable for most affiliate marketers who run them.
In affiliate marketing, promoting travel affiliate programs can be as easy as placing an affiliate link on your website, or as difficult as designing a funnel of ads, landers, and creative copy. But if you want to find an offer or an affiliate program that will generate income for you for longer periods of time, your best option is to research each program online.
The more carefully you pick your battles, the more money you can make. Compare and contrast the traffic or the audience you have with the requirements of travel affiliate programs and offers. Pick your best match, see what others are saying about it, and start earning.