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What Are Travel Affiliate Programs?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Travel companies looking to gain a powerful marketing edge while giving successful affiliates a way to earn money create travel affiliate programs. There are different types of travel affiliate programs dedicated to offering customers hotel reservations, plane tickets, car rentals and many other aspects associated with travel. Travel companies often combine several or all aspects of travel, giving affiliates more ways to earn money. Travel affiliate programs typically pay cost per sale (CPS) and rarely pay cost per lead (CPL). Some companies offer offline affiliate marketing, but most are for those with a blog or website.

Travel businesses often use affiliate programs to bolster sales by offering affiliates a commission, but only if the affiliate can make a sale or offer a lead. This ensures the affiliate is only being paid if he or she is successful, unlike employees that are paid by the hour, and keeps the travel company from paying money unless the company is making money. Third-party services often take over the responsibility of maintaining the affiliate program for travel companies, but the travel company sometimes will do this work without such a service.

Travel companies often offer customers myriad choices for traveling, which gives the affiliate more chances to earn a higher commission. The company will typically offer plane or cruise tickets, hotel reservations, vacation packages, tickets to theme parks or events and car rentals. For travel affiliate programs that pay affiliates a percentage of the total sale, this can lead to a large commission payment.

Most travel affiliate programs will only pay affiliates for CPS, meaning a sale has to be made through the travel company. Some travel companies pay a flat fee, or a percentage of the entire traveling cost, to the affiliate who made the sale. CPL means that when someone joins the travel company’s mailing list or requests a quote for traveling expenses, depending on the program’s terms, the affiliate will be paid for getting a new lead for the travel company. The CPL is very low, usually less than $1 US Dollar (USD).

Like most affiliate marketing, travel affiliate programs are made mostly for online use. Affiliates are supplied with tracking links and, when someone clicks the link and pays for travel, the affiliate responsible for netting the sale is rewarded with a commission. A few travel companies offer offline affiliate programs, which allow agents to make plans for a customer and receive a commission without having to own a website.

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Discussion Comments
By anon351841 — On Oct 17, 2013

There is no doubt that you have already heard about how it is to earn money being a travel affiliate. A lot of people possess the knowledge on how affiliate programs should be, but not all of them are earning big money as travel affiliates. It does not mean that these people are doing the wrong thing. Maybe these people lack a few things that will help boost their earnings as travel affiliates. Minor changes can turn one’s earnings into huge ones.

By bythewell — On Dec 17, 2011

@indigomoth - The problem with that is that people tend to write out spammy internet content, or false reviews, hoping to get people to click on the link and buy something. You see it all over the internet and it gets irritating.

If a person says upfront that they are including a link to a web affiliate program and don't try to be biased about the product, I don't mind it so much. But when people try to hide it, or post it in forums or whatever, it's really annoying.

Google also doesn't like it when people do that kind of thing, so often those sorts of sites don't get much traffic. If you are going to do this, my suggestion is to be upfront and honest about it, and provide me with something worth reading, that's going to give me value, or I won't bother clicking on your link, let alone buying something from the site it leads to.

By indigomoth — On Dec 16, 2011

@umbra21 - I think the most common way for people to make money from internet travel affiliate programs is to put links inside their blogs.

Often, all it takes is someone to click on the link and buy something for you to make a small amount of money.

So, instead of trying to be their "travel agent" you can provide useful reviews or interesting facts about a destination that they are planning to go and see anyway, and then let them do the rest of the work.

You probably won't get rich off this unless you have a huge audience though, and even then I think most people just make a living, rather than a comfortable living. But, on the plus side, once you have written the original article, generally you don't need to do much else except sit back and wait for people to click.

By umbra21 — On Dec 15, 2011

Affiliate links are a really good way to make a few extra dollars, or if you are very dedicated and link up with the right programs you can make quite a bit.

Travel agent affiliate programs should be approached with caution, however. They often seem like a wonderful opportunity (and, of course, they can be!) but don't give up your day job. There are just so many people who would love to make it as a travel agent that you are competing in a very tight marketplace.

Made all the tighter because it's all to easy to book your own tickets online these days. In fact, I personally hardly ever even bother using an agent, because it's easier to just look for myself.

So, if you want to get people to use your affiliate program, you will have to give them some incentive.

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