The largest affiliate network focused on travel, Travelpayouts, just launched its digital partnership platform - a program for travel brands, where they can automatically pick the right webmasters and reach the most relevant audiences to increase their sales. In this article, Travelpayouts shared three cases from travel brands who have already seen results in their affiliate marketing campaigns.
A platform for searching and booking excursions Sputnik8 has grown by 470% compared to 2019
In May-July 2021, affiliate partners brought 470% more sales to the Sputnik8 affiliate program than in the same period in 2019. Sputnik shared some insights on such an increase.
Sputnik8 has always focused on Russian cities. As a result, the service gained a wide presence in cities, high conversion rate and the best prices from contractors.
In the summer of 2020, Sputnik continued their strategy, and the pandemic did not prevent plans too much. They managed to switch from Europe to Russia right on time received a huge boost in traffic and orders inside the country.
Sputnik has grown 5-10 times in the following three categories: Boat excursions, One or multi-day tours and custom-made excursions.
The main approach they used was to work closely with a limited number of partners. The task was to maximize the revenue of specific partners, who are supposed to grow the most.
The team helped partners estimate traffic, plan when and what articles to publish, shared statistics on popular products and directions relevant to specific blogs and articles.
They recommended new partners to start with the most popular tour destinations in specific cities, such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Kaliningrad and some others in Russia.
Since 2019, the company has implemented a new affiliate order form, improved their ordering API, updated the design of all tour widgets and added an iframe booking form to a Travelpayouts account.
These are some types of partners that mainly work with Sputnik8: Multi-page content projects about cities with main attractions, accommodation options, entertainment, Personal blogs, and aggregators for tour services, where you can compare them by price and ratings. Those bring most in tour sales on Sputnik8 within Travelpayouts.
7 factors that provided growth to Sputnik8’s partners
Following the recommendations for creating the best content and placing the most relevant promotional tools
Selecting popular cities to focus articles on
Promoting the most popular categories of tours
Following trends and focusing on seasonal tours. For example, individual river excursions during the summer season
Constant seasonal changes to content and excursions. Responding to tourists demands promptly
Scaling successful projects and articles
Constantly working on the tech side of the service service which helps to increase conversion. Improving partner tools and adding new ones attracts interesting partners and large projects. For example, automating booking of most orders via API - saves team resources, testing different options for page design and improving tours ranking
Discover Cars experience with affiliate marketing
Discover Cars created its affiliate program to boost SEO. The company wanted to attract travel webmasters to increase backlinks and their domain rankings. Over time, they realized that this channel not only positively affects SEO, but also generates sales. Shortly after they discovered the Travelpayouts affiliate network and decided to try it out. They chose the company because it took care of all the work with webmasters in the travel vertical, which otherwise would take a colossal amount of time, and had a simple payment process with just one invoice. After discussing the best type of integration, the company settled on s2s (server to server). The process of integration on both sides took no more than 2 days. After that, Discover Cars grew over 100% in 2020 compared to 2019, and another 50% in 2021.
The first year of 2019 was experimental for Discover Cars. 2020 brought + 100% growth to the results of 2019, and 2021 has shown another 50% growth compared to 2020.
Initially, Discover Cars worked with banners. Later, they added the booking widget for their partners.
In terms of platforms, travel blogs worked best for them. People often rely on bloggers' opinions. A longform article with all the tips from A to Z about a location where someone had a great time with personal experience and recommendation would be an ideal tool.
A service of domestic traveling, Sutochno.com, saw an increase of 300% during a pandemic
Like many travel brands, Sutochno had a hard time during the first half of 2020, but the second half pleased them with stunning growth of bookings through affiliate marketing.
The company calculated the profit for its top booking month, August, in the last three years.
August 2019 - 39K (66 partners are active)
August 2020 - 156K (77 partners are active)
August 2021 - 405K (136 partners are active)
Thus, the increase in August 2020 compared to August 2019 was 300%. The increase in revenue in August 2021 compared to August 2020 is 159%. Since Sutochno service has always been focused on domestic tourism, the pandemic began to strongly affect it only in March 2020. By the end of March, the number of bookings on the platform dropped to almost zero, and for two months the team remained with no profits.
At the same time, Sutochno fully refunded orders of those whose trips were canceled due to the pandemic.
At the end of May 2020, the demand for domestic tourism started to recover, and the summer season still took place. The second half of 2020 summer of 2020 was a record for Sutochno in terms of traffic and bookings. And By the end of 2020, Sutochno managed to reach the level of the pre-pandemic 2019.
The 2021 season has become successful for Sutochno, their income doubled year-on-year compared to the pre-pandemic.
Sutochno covers the need for private accommodation in Russia
The service has a wide selection of apartments and private housing in almost all corners of Russia and the Crimea. During the pandemic, the private housing vertical grew well due to several factors:
Travelers preferred private housing for their stay, as it is safer due to fewer social contacts
During the pandemic, many combined leisure and working remotely (WFH). It was more convenient to rent private housing.
When checking into private housing, the rules were often softer than when checking into hotels.
In 2021, the company also managed to increase their conversion rate, as they completely changed the payment option on their website.
They were also improving their database of landlords and in some territories have increased it by 50%.
In 2021, the service launched free property insurance for landlords. After that, the share of "instant" bookings - when you do not need to wait for confirmation from the landlord to make an advance payment - doubled compared to 2019.
Sutochno is a strong player in the vertical of private housing. Therefore, at the time of the growth of local tourism, Travelpayouts partners began to recommend Sutochno to their audiences.
Once a week Sutochno shares a summary of popular and interesting destinations in the Telegram chat of Travelpayouts top partners.
In 2021, the Sutochno affiliate network took part in the "Race for a Million" campaign. Such promotions in Travelpayouts are always accompanied by strong informational support of brands from the platform. Sutochno provides partners with the necessary set of partner tools, improving them and developing new ones. New widgets and APIs are in the works, thanks to which it will be possible to do more complex integrations.
We asked successful brands to give their tips for travel brands looking to launch an affiliate program:
1. Be honest and open. If partners have doubts about your transparency, it will be very difficult to restore your reputation.
2. Study the competitors in your affiliate vertical, their terms and tools.
3. Be in touch with partners. Attend conferences and communicate with their managers.
You will learn a lot of insights from the other side and feel the pains of partners that are worth solving.
4. Affiliate marketing is a long-term investment. The sooner you launch an affiliate program, the faster you will get an effect for the brand.
5. Find the vertical where the brand is the best in the affiliate marketing market.
6. Expand your assortment in the directions that are in demand among tourists.
7. Set up automated bookings to save team resources.
8. Follow the trends. For example, two essential trends of 2021 for Sputnik8 were: rent of individual boats and yachts and mini-group tours.
9. Invest a lot of effort in quality content that will attract organic traffic well.
10.Think thoroughly what kind of advertising to display on your website and make it non intrusive.
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