Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular business approaches to making money on the internet nowadays. The number of available affiliate programs is really great and their number is continuing to grow.
You can promote luxury brands, watches, travel destinations, hotel bookings, and everything you can think of. Some of these programs can boost your revenue to a whole new level. Read this article about the best hotel affiliate programs that can be one of the best choices in the world for recovering from COVID-19.
In this article, you will learn about:
- How Hotel Affiliate Programs Work
- What Hotel Affiliate Programs Pay For
- Top 7 Hotel Affiliate Programs
- How We Compiled Our Rating
- 6 Tips for Webmasters Who Are Going to Work with Hotel Affiliate Programs
How Hotel Affiliate Programs Work
The recent COVID-19 pandemic had a painful impact on many aspects of human activity and demonstrated the importance of human health. Billions of people were locked at home and had no opportunity to travel. It led to huge financial losses in the hotel business. As a result, hotel affiliate programs also suffered from the imposed restrictions. Thankfully, travel restrictions are gradually loosening and destinations are open again…at least most of them for now.
What value can affiliates get from the fact that people are eager to spend money on traveling and vacations? The answer is quite clear: they are ready to make online bookings through your referral links and are eager to travel to new places. Just imagine, how high the commission rates could be for the tour trip of a family - a couple with kids.
Still, there are several things you have to do to succeed.
- First of all, you have to own a website related to traveling or a travel blog.
- Secondly, be a partner of a hotel affiliate program.
- And finally, people have to come across your content at the right moment: just before they are ready to make a booking. In case you are an affiliate rookie, you can read our guide on affiliate marketing for travel bloggers.
In a nutshell, there are no differences between a hotel affiliate program and programs from other business niches. It means that a perfect situation for you as an affiliate happens when a customer comes to your platform, consumes your content, listens to your reviews and recommendations, and thinks: “Hey, that’s exactly a place where I long to travel” and makes a booking through your link. You simply get your commission fee from the affiliate platform for each transaction.
What Hotel Affiliate Programs Pay For
Affiliates of hotel affiliate programs are paid for the promotion of hotels on their websites or travel blogs through pay-per-action. It means that the potential customer not only clicks on the link but books a hotel after that. Payment methods may vary. Commission fees are usually not so big in percentage ratio, but the price of the booking makes the difference: the more expensive the hotel and travel destination are, the more revenue an affiliate generates.
Furthermore, we will have a closer look at the best hotel affiliate programs available today on the Internet, what commission fees and cookie windows they offer, and what you should pay attention to. If you didn’t know what to do after Airbnb shut down its program in 2021, continue reading – we have a bunch of solutions.
Top 7 Hotel Affiliate Programs
Congrats! You made it to the main part of the review. Here is a list of the best hotel affiliate programs.
Booking.com Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 25%-40% per sale depending on the performance
Cookie window: varies
Booking.com is probably the first brand that comes to mind when you think about bookings. The list of hotels on the website is one of the largest in the industry – about 28 mil available accommodations. Here you can choose any option suitable for the desired location and preferable budget.
All these factors make it clear why the Booking.com affiliate program is quite popular among marketers. As a result, there is a specific requirement: after you join the program, you have to make 50 bookings before official approval. This is necessary because the brand is looking for both high traffic and high volumes.
In case of success, your commission fee is determined by your performance. If you make less than 50 bookings per month, the payout will be 25%. Commissions are scaled when 500 bookings are made. All the sales are easily tracked through a dashboard. An important aspect is that the commission fee is paid from the commissions that Booking.com earns, and not the hotels’.
Affiliates of the Booking.com affiliate program get access to a set of tools like search box for your website, a WordPress plugin, various widgets, and promotion assets (banners, deep-links, coupons, etc.).
The choice of Booking.com affiliate program can be justified by the brand’s reputation and availability all over the world thanks to multilingual support.
Agoda Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 3%-7% per sale depending on the performance
Cookie window: varies
Agoda is another big player in hotel booking for people who want to travel to different locations all over the world. This service is more regional-driven than Booking.com as it provides its customers with some exclusive properties in Asia which are cheaper on the platform. The Agoda website offers access to 2 mil accommodations all over the globe.
In order to become Agoda’s affiliate you have to be a licensed travel agent or have your own website – no matter how big or small.
Commission fees depend on your performance: 4% for less than 50 bookings per month and 7% for 1000+.
All Agoda affiliates get access to a bunch of tools that are easy to use even for tech noobs. These tools include promotion assets (referral links, banners, search box), translation to main languages, free affiliate dashboard and reports for tracking performance, and multilingual support services.
The reasons to choose Agoda are quite simple: a well-known brand that helps its affiliates and a motivating reward system.
Hotels.com Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 4% per sale; 1% for gift cards
Cookie window: 7 days
Being a member of the Expedia affiliate network, Hotels.com is practically a synonym for the phrase “online booking”. The brand is one of the world’s oldest and largest booking platforms have been on the market since 1991. The website is famous for promotions like “Get each 11th booking for free” which increases tolerance and loyalty among its audience – nearly 10 mil visitors per month.
Hotels.com affiliate program may seem too strict having one of the shortest cookie windows in the business, but it has a lot of special offers and promotions for the affiliates. Besides that, approved affiliates get access to the tools that are designed to increase conversion and are quite standard: banners, widgets, link generators, detailed performance statistics, and those that help to optimize promotion campaigns for particular segments of the target audience.
One of the best features of Hotels.com is that it is really multinational: the brand has 90 localized websites. It means that the affiliates can promote the service in different countries and distribute competition among other regions.
Hostelworld Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 40% per sale
Cookie window: 30 days
Hostelworld is a service that offers hostels and apartments at reasonable prices instead of big brands. The properties presented here are often family owned and are not placed on hotel aggregators. It makes its target audience less picky in terms of luxury travel – people here need a cheaper alternative to spend the night.
Hostels can cost about $5-7 per night in some popular travel destinations. It makes promotions much easier for affiliates as they can get lesser revenue but in bigger volumes. Hostelworld gives access to apartments in more than 180 countries. In some of them, you can reserve a property for 80 people.
The affiliate program is built on the basis of the cost-per-sale principle. Such promotion assets as widgets, referral links, and booking engines are in stock.
Hostelworld offers budget options, bed-and-breakfast, camps, and so on. It gives affiliates a vast audience of travelers who want to travel, but don’t have huge budgets.
Marriott Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 4%-6% per sale on hotel booking and 3% on vacation packages
Cookie window: 7 days
Marriott is probably the name that comes first to mind when we hear about hotel networks. More than 30 brands under the main name offer 3,900 hotels in 72 countries suitable for different categories of travelers: those who rely on reasonable prices and those who want a luxurious attitude at every moment of their travel.
The Marriott properties are located mainly in North America and West Europe. You should keep this fact in mind when you start promoting the hotels among your audience. Once approved, affiliates get access to all the necessary tools like links, banners, newsletters, widgets, etc.
Affiliate terms and conditions are rather strict and the cookie window is open only for seven days. It may be a good idea to have a sustainable audience before you start your promotional activities.
Travelpayouts Affiliate Program
Commission rate: up to 70% per sale
Cookie window: 30 days
Travelpayouts is the largest affiliate network for traveling and booking which has a great number of hotel brands on one website, including some of the mentioned above – Agoda, Booking.com, and Hotels.com. It means that you can promote hotels to any type of audience.
One more distinctive feature of the affiliate program is that anyone can join it: there are no strict rules and no verification. Just sign up and begin to promote immediately.
The program's tools are an up-to-date hotel map, white labels, widgets, links, an API, landings, plugins, and so on. There is also a mobile app for you to use.
The main reasons to have a look at Travelpayouts are high commissions, a long cookie window, and a great number of available options for booking on one platform.
TripAdvisor Affiliate Program
Commission rate: 30% per sale, 50% for other activities
Cookie window: 14 days
TripAdvisor is considered to be travel itself – the website’s audience consists of 500 mil visitors per month who can book 1,4 mil hotels. They have already made about 800 mil reviews on the places they stayed at. The available options to read about are not limited by bookings: there is a lot of information on places of interest and travel destinations.
There are no strict requirements to become an affiliate of TripAdvisor. Once you are a partner, you can use buttons, banners, widgets, and many other tools to promote the booking of a particular hotel among your audience. What is more important than that is the fact that you get access to reports in real-time, incentive programs, and big data sets necessary for your activity.
How We Compiled Our Rating
We really believe that our readers deserve the best experience. We have conducted a real research project and compiled this list by analyzing a great number of hotel websites, travel blogs, and channels to see which of them offer the best affiliate programs. And the links to those of them that are described in the article are mentioned on most of the platforms. The chances that they really work are much higher than with the other programs.
Our investigation includes only affiliate programs which come from hotels with a reliable reputation, offer high commission fees, and good service and support quality. We really hope that you will find this list helpful in your booking promotions.
6 Tips for Webmasters Who Are Going to Work with Hotel Affiliate Programs
An effective affiliate strategy is built on the basis of several important aspects that cannot be ignored. And here they are.
- Products for promotion should be related to booking and traveling. It means that you can offer hotels, tours, flights, vacations, and even car renting. In other words, everything people may need when far from home.
- The right description of accommodation options is also important. Don’t forget about linking the location with the best hotels. Niche hotels like family, child-free, or pet-friendly are good to go when you want to reach particular segments of the target audience.
- Understanding your target audience is a crucial factor for success. You may run a website related to sightseeing or bird-watching. If people are ready to travel to see some place of interest or a bird at night, they will definitely need a place to sleep.
- Social media gives great opportunities too. If you are a public person and travel a lot, you may promote hotels that you yourself stayed at.
- The affiliate program’s terms and conditions of collaboration should not be violated. So read them carefully to avoid unpleasant experiences.
- Assessment of different financial metrics like cost per action or conversion rates is necessary to choose the most profitable affiliate program.
We tried our best to compile the list of the best hotel affiliate programs and mention their features that can guide you in making an informed choice. Partners of hotel affiliate programs have access to a wide range of offers, platforms, and tools to be leaders in their marketing activities.
There are many more affiliate programs on the Internet that you can join. Their full description will be very time and effort consuming. In case you need some more tips on where to look, check out popular brands such as Accor Hotels, Red Roof, Travelocity, and Anantara resorts.
The best thing about hotel booking is that this niche is on the rise again as the world moves out of the pandemic. A deep understanding of the marketing processes happening right now enables affiliates to make thoughtful decisions and earn higher commissions. If they add high-quality content for their audiences, success will become inevitable.
Do hotels pay commissions?
Yes, many hotels have their own affiliate programs that are easy to join. But the commissions vary.
What is a hotel commission?
A hotel commission is the amount of money that an affiliate is paid when a customer clicks the referral link and makes a booking for future travel.
What do hotel affiliate programs pay for?
Hotel affiliate programs pay for a particular action: booking through the referral link and the following transaction.
How much can I really earn on a hotel affiliate program?
The situation here is similar to any other business: the better you perform, the more revenue you generate from bookings.
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