If you've read my post on how to make money with a travel blog, you will have noticed that I have clearly written that affiliations are the way I prefer to monetize the blog.
Why am I writing this post? I just realized that the travel blogger community doesn't have enough online resources focused solely on travel affiliate marketing.
The first thing I want to tell you is that it is not easy to earn in affiliations, at least at the beginning: in fact, if we are talking about a generic travel blog you must have a fair number of visits, be specialized on some topic, have created a bond of trust. with your readers.
The second thing I want to tell you is that I go first I have tested the products that I sell as an affiliate, again for that speech of trust between blogger and reader: for me my readers are the most important thing and I would never recommend something that is not convenient for them or something that could damage them (here we are talking about affiliates, not "scammed (cit ) "!)
The purpose of this post however is to tell you i travel affiliate programs for your blog, not to teach you a lesson on affiliate marketing (there are a few marketers who already do this)
This post is not meant to be an Affiliate Bible. Everything you will read here comes from my personal experience and even though the basic principles are the same for every website and industry, you will need to apply them considering your blog and your audience. This point is very important if you want to be successful with affiliate programs.
What are affiliations
If you are wondering what are affiliations here is a simple and precise definition of what affiliate marketing is:
Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting products or services on your blog. Every time someone books a service or buys a product from a link or banner placed on your website, you receive a commission ”.
It is very easy to set up and implement affiliates on your website, all you have to do is apply to join the Affiliate Program or "Referral Program" with the companies you are interested in working with, wait for their approval and start entering the links and banners on your website.
Beware that some agencies do not have their own program, but rely on gods Affiliate Network which contain many programs within them.
Later in this article I will talk about it and show you the ones I use and with which I am comfortable.
However (there is always a though) to start making good money is much less simple.
Many bloggers I know (and to whom I advised to try) gave up almost immediately. I don't want to blame anyone: what works for me doesn't necessarily work for others.
Many have asked me how you need to be framed to work with affiliations: it is necessary to have a VAT number as well as if you work with advertising.
Why am I telling you this? Because I would like you to know that if at first you will not have results it will be completely normal: To do affiliate marketing on your travel blog, it is not enough to put links at random. It takes a lot of study, a lot of A / B tests to understand what makes the most, a lot of research and study but above all it takes a clear strategy.
Without this, I know I'm brutal sometimes, you will not go anywhere.
Imagine affiliates as seeds: you plant them and day after day you take care of them, remove the weeds around them, remove the parasites and water them, until they become beautiful seedlings (which will bring you delicious tomatoes)!
At the bottom of this article you will find 4 tips on how to get started doing affiliate marketing on your travel blog.
But let's get to the point now: what they are the best travel blog affiliate programs? Below you will find the ones I use, tested in first person!
1 - Affiliate programs for hotels
As I told you some portals have their own affiliate program, others rely on Network and then there are some with which if you want to work you have to get in touch (it is not possible to register on the web).
For that it is very important, if you want to take this path, to participate in events for travel bloggers or events of Affiliate marketing sector.
1 – Booking.com
Booking.com it is by far one of the affiliate programs that work the most for me.
Why do I recommend using it? Why not use links from proprietary hotel chain programs (such as the affiliate program of a specific hotel)?
The answer came to me with experience: in mid-2018 I completely eliminated this configuration for a better way. One of the biggest reasons is that if I address someone to a specific hotel through their proprietary platform and the reader doesn't book, I lose the reservation.
But if I always send it to that hotel on Booking.com and the reader decides they prefer another, they will most likely keep looking for it on Booking.com and the hotel they book will bring me their percentages!
In short, the proprietary programs also worked, but I found through numerous tests that returning to Booking.com's wide selection of hotels is the best option for me.
So what do I do to get reservations on booking?
In addition to linking the hotel I've been to in the destination posts, I've also added booking forms dedicated to that destination at the end of most of the articles, customized according to the city or region of each article.
So why does this method work? Because readers want to be informed about specific recommendations.
Readers prefer to know that you have been to that hotel and that you have "tried it yourself" and to have a specific recommendation as to why you chose it, why you recommend it, whether you liked some things more and others less.
In addition to Booking.com, other platforms also have their own affiliations, such as Agoda for example.
After several tests, I found that Booking.com works the most for me.
You can register HERE at BOOKING.COM Affiliate Program
2 - Affiliation of products
1 - Amazon
Amazon is one of the affiliate programs used by everyone for the huge amount of products it offers: from travel items, to technology, to clothing.
Why does Amazon's affiliate program work? Because everyone uses it and therefore people trust (rightly) to buy. It works because probably every product you recommend is there, and there are also great alternatives. It works because if you recommend a suitcase and then a reader buys an iron, you'll get the percentage.
I've found that a good portion of my revenue comes from recommending specific products (like books), but a modest portion still comes from ancillary sales that I collect through bulk clicks.
The cons of Amazon is that the commissions are often very low! Over the past few years I have made a focused effort to promote higher priced items that have commissions in the € 5, € 10 and € 20 range as lower priced items almost always have commissions under one euro.
These small sales add up over time, but barrel of 20 cents at a time ouch voia to earn! Nothing is better than selling a 600 € camera (it happened to me) and getting commissions of 10 to 30 € per sale, that's for sure.
You can sign up here at AMAZON affiliate program
2 – Decathlon
The program of Decathlon it is not a program through the Awin platform (which has a lot of affiliations for all tastes).
For me it works very well for clothing: Decathlon is a well-known brand (people trust to buy), which has made the quality / price ratio its winning weapon.
For clothing or camping gear it certainly works much better than Amazon, so if in your blog you are focused on travel clothing, you shouldn't miss the Decathlon program!
Caution: due to COVID-19 Decathlon has currently suspended its affiliate program. I'll let you know when it's back in stock.
3 - Affiliate programs for tours and tickets
Below I put all the affiliate programs to sell tours, tickets and shows online.
They all work very well and even if they may seem the same, let's say that each one has its own well-defined peculiarity.
They also don't all sell the same things.
What do i mean? Since everyone was selling a different one, I just use them all!
In this way I was always able to give my readers an online resource on which to book what they were looking for.
I have only one consideration to make: before signing up ask if they want exclusivity, which means that if you decide to go with them, then you can't sign up for the others.
This is not good as in my opinion you need to offer your readers as many choices as possible.
Depending on the answer, however, evaluate well which program you prefer, which one you use most often and which one has the widest choice of tours.
1 – State
Civitatis it is a fairly new program, for this reason it certainly does not have the amount of tours sold on other platforms even if lately they are adding a lot of them to their catalog.
I was contacted directly by them (I didn't "find out") and I tried to use it, simply to do some tests and also for the fact that the quality of the tours is very high (personally tested): they often offer exclusive tours that they are not found on other platforms.
After trying Civitatis I decided to continue working with their affiliations, the whys are simple:
- I have a great time with their team: I have a relationship with them with my affiliate manager who has devoted a lot of time to help me optimize the links with free consultations, to give me information on sales and also allow the personalization of resources (eg Banners).
- Civitatis takes my feedback into account and those of my readers. This is very important to me: when a product does not go well, I communicate it to them and they take steps to improve it.
- Civitatis supplies specific products, ensuring an experience in the travelers' local language.
The percentage they give on tours is good and they also have free tours in many cities, on which you will still earn a small percentage.
You can sign up here at CIVITATIS affiliate program
2 – Tiqets
Tiqets it is an institution: it sells tickets to a lot of attractions around the world (especially in Europe) and has a very simple booking system.
It also sells tours, but let's say it works mostly for tickets to me.
You can sign up here at TIQETS affiliate program
3 – GetyourGuide
Getyourguide it needs no introduction: it is the largest retailer in the world for tickets and tours, it has a practically infinite choice on all destinations in the world.
Their affiliate platform also works really well: they often organize free webinars on tips for optimizing sales through the blog, and affiliate managers are always there if you need advice.
You can sign up here at GETYOURGUIDE affiliate program
4 – Viator
Viator is another huge name when offering destination tours and activities. The Viator Affiliate Program offers an 8% commission.
To help travel bloggers achieve these earnings, Viator has a fully dedicated support team and mobile-optimized widgets to convert bookings.
I don't use Viator simply because it is used a lot by foreign travelers and after several tests I found that it didn't work well for me. For that I prefer to have others.
However, if you have a blog also in English you should definitely take it into consideration.
3 - Affiliate programs for transport
In this part on transport affiliations I have decided to also include "car rentals".
Imagine my blog: its "mission" is to help you travel DIY from A to Z. For this I have to include everything: how to organize a trip, where and how to book hotels, the options to move from point A to point B, the activities and what to see in one place, and the tours.
It was therefore natural that, by entering transport, I looked for affiliate programs for buses, taxis and cars!
1 – Rentalcars
Credo Rentalcars.com we all know it: even before using affiliations, I used it for my travels.
Rentalcars.com, in case you don't know it, is a search and comparison engine for car rentals in the world: in short, a bit like Skyscanner, but for cars!
With Rentalcars.com you can book cars practically all over the world, allows booking and rental without a credit card and includes the best car rental companies.
Especially if your blog talks about "road trips" Rentalcars is a great product to recommend (but first if you haven't, try it out), but it's also great when it comes to destinations where people generally prefer the car public transport to get around (think travel to Mexico, or Iceland)
You can sign up here at affiliate program of RENTALCARS
2 – Suntransfer o Welcome Pickups
Two other programs that I am using with particular attention are those for transfers from the airport to the hotel.
The two I found myself best with are Suntransfer e Welcome Pickups
These are not two programs that I use to earn: they are two programs that I use because they are excellent and give an extra value to my blog: whoever goes to my post will find different options and choose the one they prefer.
If the reader decides to book the transfer, I earn, if he decides to take the subway or the public bus I don't earn a damn, but that's okay, it won't be with those who get rich and in any case they are useful for the reader: this is the fundamental point.
3 – Taxileader
Again for the previous speech: a reader who wants to move might want a taxi because it is faster and safer.
Taxileader has its own affiliate program. I use it with satisfaction and I am happy to work with them.
Here quoi subscribe to TAXILEADER affiliate program
4 - Omio
For everything else there is Omio!
Omio is the perfect resource for buses and trains from one destination to another.
The interface is very simple, clean and beautiful to use. It does not convert a lot but we always return to the same discourse: it is not only important to earn but to give the reader what he is looking for and needs.
This will help your brand awareness: if a reader is happy because he has found the best resource on the internet that perfectly meets his needs, this reader will return to your blog and if he returns to your blog you will gain confidence in the eyes of Mister G (oogle) , joy and sorrows of every blogger!
You can sign up here at OMIO affiliate program
4 - Airline Affiliate Programs
What is the first thing a traveler does, once a destination has been decided?
Book your flight!
There are several airline affiliate programs to include on your travel blog!
1 – Skyscanner
Skyscanner is one of the most popular sites used to check flight prices. I am the first to use it.
As a global brand, Skyscanner's affiliate program offers affiliates the ability to earn a commission on the sales share of flights, hotels and cars.
One of the program's benefits includes white label travel affiliate program offers for flight searches on your website.
It's one of the most popular travel programs, and the sidebar flight booking widget ensures quick sales, with one of the best and most detailed references.
I put Skyscanner on this list because that's what I'm currently using, but there are others: They offer affiliate programs from different airlines and portals like Momondo and Expedia.
Which one to choose is up to you!
Affiliate network that I use and recommend
Many agencies (some of which I have already told you about) do not have their own proprietary platform for affiliates, but rely on big ones like "aggregators", which are called Affiliate Networks, to which by subscribing you can join different programs.
How do they work? You subscribe to the platform, on it you will find the affiliate programs that interest you and send the request to be accepted as their affiliate.
The positives are that:
You have only one management panel, the link management is therefore very convenient because you have everything in one place.
You have a practically infinite choice of affiliate programs ranging from travel affiliations to product affiliations and so on and so forth.
The slightly less positive side (and lately this has been a bit of a problem for me) is that sometimes programs change, are suspended or even close (it's happening now for COVID-19): this means you have to keep a list of links and articles in which you have inserted them in order to remove or modify them and not risk that the link from your blog becomes inactive.
Attention that these platforms are not always accepted: some require a certain amount of visits or at least a blog.
1 – Trade tracker
I am really very comfortable with Tradetracker: has some interesting programs for bloggers (for example I use a couple for ferries)
Tradetracker was the first one I used. The only difficulty I encountered was figuring out how to join the various programs at the beginning, but otherwise I'm fine.
Associated programs often have banners that they make available to affiliate bloggers that you can easily use on the blog.
Another reason why I recommend you take a look is that affiliate managers are often very present and, if you work well, they will get in touch with you to propose new programs that may be interesting for your niche.
2 - Awin
Awin it is the second with which I "came into contact" and here too you can find some really interesting programs (like Tripadvisor for example or Decathlon I was talking about before).
Also in this case it took me a while to understand how to use the management panel, but don't be scared.
Remember to always read the ToS of the various programs carefully before joining: they are not all the same and you could risk being expelled if you violate the rules.
3 – Cj e Partnerize
CJ e Partnerize are two other programs you could try. They too have a good choice of partners and various tools that allow you to manage your stuff well, such as banners and deep links.
A few tips on how to use affiliations on your travel blog
As said before, this post is not meant to be the ultimate guide on affiliations, but an article for those who want to enter the world of affiliations with a travel blog.
For this, you will find below some tips to get started: don't worry, I was the first to make a mistake, I tested and searched for months before figuring out how it works.
These tips are in fact based solely on mine personal experience.
1 - Don't make the mistake of joining too many programs
This is one of the first mistakes I made in my life. I adhered to all possible and unimaginable programs. It goes without saying that their management soon became a pretty brothel. I lost track of the links, I had duplicate programs, I forgot which I had made and on what platform and I did not implement them, consequently getting ejected.
Here, too, less is more: use fewer programs and manage them as God commands.
2 - Know your readers
Know your readers e have a well-defined niche is the secret of success.
Beware that the secret to success is not to infest your blog with meaningless affiliate links. Less is more, as always.
Do you often talk about cruises and your readers follow you for that? Are you talking about road trips or trips with children or do you specialize in camping?
Beware that when I write Know your readers, I mean know For real your readers: what are their interests, gender and age? Are they young, old, married and romantic couples or single travelers and backpackers?
This is very important because only if you know who you are writing for can you give them the most useful thing for them.
Let's take an example: it is very likely that those who come to your blog looking for “what to see in X” are different and have different needs than those who search for “what to do in X with children”.
The first thing you need to do then even before writing an article is to ask yourself who you are writing it for. Who will read your post? Married couples with children? Young single travelers and backpackers? Okay, well, you understand.
3 - Be honest!
I will never tire of repeating it: readers are the real treasure of every blogger. Wouldn't we be fair if nobody read us?
Always treat them well and with respect: it is a moment to betray their trust and if they do not trust you, will they ever buy a product you are recommending? After all, would you trust to buy something from someone you think can sell you a package? Well, I sure don't!
Try to try the products you recommend first: hotels, tours, etc etc.
I know that sometimes it is not possible to try everything, and there is no harm in saying it clearly, for example: dear reader I did not do this tour, but in terms of reviews and price, after my research on the web, it seems the best on the market. You can read the reviews here, here and here.
Beware, however, that you must have done research seriously, do not invent them! I understand it's a hard job but it must always be done. The reader will then decide for himself if that tour inspires him or is right for him.
4 - Not all articles work: some work, some don't
This is something you learn with experience: some items work, some don't… And sometimes having a lot of traffic doesn't necessarily mean “winning”.
What does this depend on? From the keyword and what your reader is looking for.
Let me explain: if you are looking for "iceland by car" it is unlikely that you will book an organized tour by bus.
Another example: those looking for "books on India" are quite unlikely to buy a suitcase, don't you think?
It goes without saying that, however, a site with a well-targeted high traffic, makes many more bookings than a travel blog born the day before yesterday and that only mum and dad read.
So focus not only on earning first but about making your website grow (well).
FINAL NOTE: I would have continued to write for another 100 hours with all the things I would have to say about it, but that's not the topic of this post. Don't worry, I'm already going to write a great guide full of details with the best tips I have to give you to start making affiliations on your travel blog!
Have you started working with affiliations on your blog? How are you? If you have something to say, leave it in the comments!