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Affiliate Marketing for Your Travel Agency

Posted on the 05 February 2013 by Onqmarketing @onqmarketing

In the rush to promote your Travel Agency with the latest in PPC, SEO and Social marketing, it is easy to overlook affiliate marketing. I have joined more programs than I can remember, as well as having set up my own to promote I Want That Flight. If done carefully, it can be a great way to drive sales – though there are a few things to watch out for.

Pros

Other people/companies promote your business for you.
If you pay commission as a percentage of sale value, then you should make money on every sale.

Cons

Can be complicated/expensive to set up.
Affiliates may try to commit fraud.
You can spend time setting up affiliates and they do not bring in any sales.
The cons are big, but if you can find honest affiliates the fact that they are effectively doing your marketing for you is well worth it.
 
 

Setting up an Affiliate program

Affiliate marketing usually works like this -

The visitor is on the affiliate site and clicks a link to your site.
Your site detects that a visitor arrived via an affiliate link and drops a cookie on their computer. The cookie usually lasts 30 days.

If the user purchases something from your site while the cookie is on his computer, then the affiliate is credited with the sale and gets their commission.

This setup works great if all your sales are made online (think Amazon), but it gets harder if sales are made via email or phone. In the case of email sales, if you have a contact form (rather than your email address) then you can include the aff. cookie info when the customer submits the form. If you have phone sales, then I have heard of having different phone numbers display if an affiliate cookie is present – but I wouldn’t bother with this unless someone else is paying for the work.

If your sales mostly occur offline, then it is better to target something about your business that is purely online. A great area to focus on is your email list. Have affiliates promote your signup page, and pay them for each signup (it is prudent to get some extra details like name, age, IP Address etc to counter fraud).

If you choose to go with an affiliate company, then be prepared to pay a setup fee that will most likely run to the low $X,XXXs. They will (or at least should) take you through the installation of tracking software, protect you against fraud, help you find affiliates and may also assist making banners/promos. There are plenty of established Aff. companies in Australia like DGM, Clixgalore and JackMedia. If you are more hands on there a few different software platforms that will handle tracking & fraud monitoring. Probably the most popular DIY solution is HasOffers which is free for the first 30 days and then a low monthly fee.
 
 

Finding Affiliates

Even if you go with an affiliate company, it is still a good idea to promote your program directly via your website, FB page, twitter etc. Beyond that, there are a few places you can find affiliates:

Affiliate Marketing (or related) Forums. There are good ones, eg DNTrade, and ones to avoid – digitalpoint.com
Popular sites in related niches. If you can, get hold of a Hitwise traffic report for an industry and go through each site & see if it is appropriate for them to promote your site.
If you are setting up the program yourself you will probably want to sign up as many affiliates as possible, in the hope that some will turn out to be winners or that lots of small sales will add up. My feeling is; concentrate on potentially big affiliates/more popular websites. The advantages of big affiliates are:

- Bigger Affiliates are more likely to drive sales.
- Popular websites will have staff that are more technically capable, so can add your banners/install your widget etc without needing you to help.
- Bigger affiliates are less likely to commit fraud as they are most likely known in the industry and do not want to risk their reputation.
- They have better parties. Well, it’s possible

:)

Affiliate Marketing for your Travel Agency
Gath AdamsVisit My Website / View My Other Posts
Gath Adams is the owner of IWantThatFlight.com.au. If you have a travel-related site check out their Travel Affiliate Program. Add +Gath Adams to your Google Plus Circles.

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