Becoming a travel agent affiliate is easy.
Actually making money this way however, is a different story. You need to learn the right process, and put in the effort if you want the rewards.
I created this post to show you how it’s done.
How To Become a Travel Agent Affiliate [4 Steps]
There are FOUR main steps to become a successful travel agent affiliate:
- Learn the basics of affiliate marketing
- Build your audience
- Signup with a good travel affiliate program
- Promote relevant offers on your site
This article is not a series of steps about signing up to a given affiliate program, although I will cover this. This is about getting started as a travel affiliate in a way that makes you money. After all, you want to profit from this right?
Read on to see how it’s done in more detail.
1. Learn The Basics of Affiliate Marketing
This sounds like an obvious thing to do. And that’s because it is.
I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for several years now, and you’d be surprised at how many people get this wrong. They want to “make money” so they look for affiliate products to promote. Yet they have no idea how to promote them.
Please don’t be this person. You will not make any money. You will waste your time.
Instead, learn how to affiliate marketing properly.
Even if it’s just the basics. Because this way, you will be in a position to actually profit when you do signup for affiliate programs in the travel niche.
I personally recommend a platform called Wealthy Affiliate for beginners. This is how I learned to become a full-time affiliate marketer myself. So I know it works.
Anyways, whatever way you go about it. Whatever method of affiliate marketing you run with. Make sure you take the time to educate yourself.
On the same token, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself either. Or think you need to ‘know everything’ to succeed. You don’t. But it is important to wrap your head around the basics.
2. Build Your Audience
Assuming you understand the basics of affiliate marketing, it’s time to build your audience. This is THE single most important thing you could do as an affiliate. And it’s often the most overlooked.
What do I mean by “build an audience”?
Your ‘audience’ is just a group of people interested in what you have to say. This is also referred to as a niche.
You want to connect with the people in the ‘travel niche’ so you have people you can promote affiliate offers to. In other words, you will have traffic (people) to get your offers in front of. This is the very foundation of your business as an affiliate.
Without this, you’ll make ZERO dollars.
Makes sense right?
You need people willing to buy through your affiliate link if you want to earn commissions.
So, how do you build an audience? Let me explain…
2.1 Carving Out YOUR Niche
The first step in building your audience is to choose who you want to target.
Going after the ‘travel niche’ as a whole can work. However, a better approach is to carve out a specific niche for yourself. Doing so allows you to position yourself as the ‘authority’ in that space and compete with the bigger sites.
In other words, you want to consider the ‘groups of people’ within the overall travel niche. And look for ways you can help them better than the next guy.
This allows you to be the authority on whatever topic your site is about. People will come to your site when they want to know about ‘that’ stuff.
Heres some basic examples to get you started:
- Travel (broad niche)
- Travel tips (more targeted niche)
- Tips for travelling while on a budget or to certain destinations (targeted niche)
Try not to overthink or complicate this though.
The best thing to do above all is to take action. Otherwise you will overthink everything and you may end up doing nothing.
There are TONS of low competition niche ideas out there when you know how and where to look. This article isn’t about finding niche though. So this is where step 1 (learning how to do affiliate marketing properly) comes into play.
2.2 Connecting With The People In Your Niche
The next thing you need to do is choose how you are going to connect with the people in your niche. There are many platforms you can use here.
Some of the most popular are a blog (website), YouTube channel or a social channel like Facebook or Instagram.
I prefer to do affiliate marketing with a simple website.
This is one of the best ways you can build an audience and make money with affiliate marketing. It’s effective, low cost, and it works. It does take time, like anything worthwhile.
Building a simple website is the best way to dominate as a travel agent affiliate.
- The costs are extremely low
- The profit potential is very high
- Companies will take you more seriously
- You have an asset you can use to promote anything relevant
Your costs are low because you are not going to be paying for traffic. Period. Which means you get lots of potential buyers clicking on your affiliate links for zero dollars. This is the power of using a website for affiliate marketing.
Your income potential is high because your costs are low. But also because of the sheer volume of traffic you can get, and the quality of it. People coming to your site are coming to your site because they are searching for something.
For example: people are searching for “tips for travelling in __(insert town, city, region, country etc) and they find your site ranking in search. You give them useful information, which builds trust and credibility. You then have the opportunity to promote relevant affiliate products to those people using your website.
The third reason this approach rocks, is because many of the higher quality companies prefer to work with affiliates who have a website. They can see you have a website full of useful content, and you have targeted traffic coming in. So they are going to take you a lot more seriously as an affiliate which means better options for you. Which can mean partnering with companies who offer higher level commissions.
The fourth reason, is because you are building yourself an asset. Regardless of what travel agents come and go, what deals there are, and what products you promote. Your website is a ‘constant’ and you can use it to promote whatever you want. By focussing on helping people with your content, your website can serve you for many years to come. Regardless of the companies you work with.
All of this results in an all round better and more profitable business. So the website approach is always something I recommend.
3. Signup With a Good Travel Affiliate Program
We’ve discussed building out the foundation of your travel affiliate business. Now it’s time to actually become a travel agent affiliate.
There are plenty of options out there to choose from.
Some better than others and some with heavier ‘qualifying requirements’. This is affiliate marketing though (not MLM), so you will never have to pay to join an affiliate program. They are all free.
The commissions on bookings range from 3-11% depending on the company, the types of travel you promote and how many sales you make in a month.
Sites like Booking.com allow you to signup for their affiliate program directly on their website. Within a few minutes you’ll be ready to go.
Other sites, like Expedia.com, require you to signup through a third part affiliate network like CJ Affiliate by Conversant.
Which affiliate program is right for you depends on your goals, experience level and your audience. Among other things. You may want to compare the best travel affiliate programs too so you can make a more informed decision.
Aside from signing up with travel based affiliate programs, there are other options to consider.
The first is to promote other relevant products within the overall ‘travel niche’. Companies like Amazon have many relevant products you could promote such as luggage, digital cameras, headphones, clothing and more.
Or you could promote travel insurance to the same audience through other affiliate programs in this space.
As long as it’s relevant and your audience finds it useful, you can earn money promoting it.
An Alternative- Become a Travel Agent Through a Host Agency
If you want to broaden your horizon even more, and truly consider all of your options, then signing up with a host travel agency is worth considering.
This works similar to a standard affiliate program, but there are differences.
On the one hand, this is easier and more cost effective than becoming a travel agent yourself. On the other hand, it’s more ‘hands on’ than sharing your affiliate link as a travel affiliate.
Yet not necessarily any more beneficial or profitable.
By joining a host agency, you are able to use their accreditation numbers for booking travel. Which means you save a lot of time, effort and money. You also receive training, leads and support with some agencies. In return, you split the revenue you earn with the host agency.
The cool thing about setting up your own website and building your asset (audience) you can split test which makes you more money. Either working with a host agency, or promoting offers as a regular affiliate.
Both approaches have their advantages, so it comes down to what works best for you.
4. Promote Relevant Offers On Your Site
Now it’s time to start promoting. This is normally the first thing people think of doing, but it’s the last step in the process for a reason.
The good news is, this is where you can actually make some money as a travel affiliate!
So how do you promote affiliate offers as a travel agent?
There are many ways you can go about it, and some methods are better than others. The main method I recommend, as I’ve mentioned, is with a simple website.
Once you have a website setup with traffic coming in, promoting is the easy part. It’s also fun because this is the part where you get paid.
One of the simplest ways you can monetize your ‘travel blog’ is with banner ads. So when people visit your site they will see ads for the travel sites you promote. Almost every travel site running an affiliate program will give you these to place on your site.
Some banners may offer discount hotel bookings. Others vacation packages or another relevant offer.
In any case, a percentage of your visitors will click on these banners. When they do, and they book something, you get paid.
The same goes for using standard affiliate links.
You can strategically link out to whatever you’re promoting with your affiliate link on any page you want. Although I don’t recommend using affiliate links on every page for SEO reasons. So you could ‘funnel’ your visitors towards a review article or ‘top 10’ post, which does contain affiliate links.
The latter option takes more work, but it’s far better in my opinion. Content will outperform banner ads any day of the week. You want to be giving your audience a reason to buy. Not just throwing ads in their face.
Another option is to create an email list, where people who visit your site subscribe to your email list. And you give them valuable travel tips and exclusive deals throughout the year.
Email marketing is a very powerful way to promote products as an affiliate. Your website is the perfect way to build that list.
Example of a Profitable Travel Affiliate Site
The best way to see all of this in action, is with an example.
I don’t have an example travel affiliate site myself, because I’m not in this niche. So I thought I’d share one I found through my research. This will be helpful for you to see a real working example of a profitable affiliate site in this space.
The site I’m looking at here is theglobetrottingteacher.com:
I had never seen this site until literally 10 minutes ago when I decided to include an example as part of the article.
I found this site by typing in “travel tips New York”. This is something people in the travel niche, who are looking to go to New York, would type in. So I started with that to see what came up.
As you can see, she (Jackie) is ranking in second place for this search term (AKA keyword phrase). So I click on her blog and view her post. There’s a bit of an introduction rata rata rata… then we get to the meat of the article…
Which contains an affiliate link for a ‘New York City Pass’. This is a pass that costs just over $125 and gives people access to some of NY’s top attractions. If someone buys that, through her link, she earns a commission. Awesome.
The cool thing about this, is she’s promoting something people already want. So it’s relevant. But it’s also worthwhile for the visitor. Because they can save money with that purchase.
The other interesting thing ties back to what I mentioned earlier. About having a ‘top 10’ page that contains your affiliate links. The banner to the right of the page leads people to a page where she promotes Amazon products as an affiliate. So a good amount of people will click on this and read that post. A percentage of those will buy something through that page on Amazon.
So again, more money is being made as an affiliate.
Now, I hope she doesn’t mind, but I want to show you some cool stats! This will give you insight into the power of this model for travel affiliates.
Using a research tool called SemRush, I found out she’s pulling almost 40k visits per month to her site. Very cool indeed. The vast majority of which is coming through search engines like Google. So she’s not paying a single cent for traffic.
I also found that her NYC post is represents about 10% of that traffic. Which means she gets about 4k visits per month from ONE blog post alone. For zero dollars.
Pretty powerful stuff, right? You bet.
I don’t know how much money she makes- that’s her business. However chances are she makes a full-time income from that one site alone. Promoting all kinds of relevant travel offers. From hotels, car rentals and products on Amazon. And her site will only continue to grow, as she continues offering her audience more value through her site.
There are many more examples, but I think this covers it well.
Becoming a travel agent affiliate isn’t as simple as signing up with a good affiliate program and hoping for the best. However, by learning the ropes and putting in some effort, there’s some serious money to be made.
In this article I’ve shown you how to get started, what’s involved, and given you an example of the process in action. Now it’s time to get to work on building your empire.