- Written by Emma Sharp on
The travel sector is a desirable one for many reasons.
The travel sector is a desirable one for many reasons.
For the budding traveller, the opportunities and inspirations are endless, and it can be easy to get lost in the depths of wanderlust. For the affiliate, the travel industry offers an opportunity for sizeable commissions to be earned, alongside the promotion of a wide variety of places, activities and price points to appeal to all audiences. Whilst the possibility of voucher codes and cashback on a holiday gives a tempting discount to entice a customer, the photography and reviews available for content sites to promote holiday destinations opens a wealth of opportunities to create unique and beautiful content to capture a reader’s imagination. However, the travel vertical has typically been one of many touchpoints, and Google’s latest research shows that travel journeys can have up to 500 touchpoints, including many after the purchase has been made, as users continue to research additional parts of their trip, like accommodation, transfers and luggage.
As such an inspiring industry to be a part of, competition between travel websites and affiliates in particular can be strong, and therefore it's important to find something to make your website stand out from the crowd to attract a loyal following and encourage users to come back and buy through your site. We’ve put together a few tips to help make your website stand out and become more successful:
The first step to becoming a travel affiliate is to decide what type of travel site you want to have. Do you want to be inspirational, offering a first step in the research phase? Or do you want to be a sale-closer, showing where to get the cheapest deals, discounts or best ways to travel? It's important to have a clear vision of where you want your site to fit in the customer’s research journey and tailor the type of content you’re putting out to fit that phase of research.
Travel websites and blogs often depict perfect pictures of paradisiacal locations that most people only dream of experiencing in real life. If you’re a budding travel blogger and using your own travel experiences to write about, ensure you’re treating your trips like a business. Document everything, either in journals, photos or video and write up your content as quickly as possible. Before you go, plan out the type of content you want to create and build a plan of when to release these, so you have clear deadlines in place as well as what you’ll need to collect while you’re away. It's easy to forget on this sort of trip that you’re working, but remember that you need to be able to produce good content and reviews in order for your business to thrive.
Once you’ve outlined the type of content you want to create, contact advertisers who provide the travel affiliate programmes you’d be likely to promote. Alert them to your plans and offer them the opportunity to be involved in your content. This doesn’t always mean they have to gift a part of your trip or offer something for free but allows them the opportunity to see what your content is like and if there is possibility for collaboration. You can also add details of your work to Awin’s Opportunity Marketplace and offer any placements you’d be willing to include alongside them. The Opportunity Marketplace is open to all advertisers and publishers and offers a quick and easy way to find promotional placements with affiliates that might not necessarily be on advertisers’ travel affiliate programs or on their radar.
With potentially over 500 touchpoints in the average travel customer journey, it's easy for a consumer to read many articles and get lost in conflicting reviews, a wide range of options and ideas, at lots of different price points. It's important to offer the customer what they’re looking for in the most straightforward way possible and help to guide them towards their decision. This can be done in a range of ways:
One of the most difficult parts about promoting a travel affiliate programme effectively, is the rapidity in which prices can change. Flights and hotel prices can often increase with demand, making it almost impossible to correctly advertise costs within your content. Using tools such as advertiser APIs allows you to provide up to date and accurate information to your readers. Speak to each advertiser to find out if they have an API available for you to integrate into your site.
If you’re travelling as part of your business, social media is a quick and easy way to keep followers updated with your trip and give them a taster of what’s to come in your content. Instagram and Instagram stories are great places to upload pictures and videos of your trip to pique your audience’s interest. There are many features on social media platforms now that allow your audience to directly interact with these posts and will also enable you to gauge where the most interest lies for your future content. Facebook and Pinterest also provide strong interactive platforms to encourage users to follow your page, photos or articles whilst you are out of the country.
Using questions, interactive captions and intriguing photos encourages users to respond to you and leave their answers and their own questions, which will help to guide the blog content you’re able to put together once your trip is over. Use your imagery to make users want to follow your travels – imagination and inspiration are two of the biggest factors in encouraging travelling.
Every travel site is different, which can help to cloud the decisions of budding travels, so the key factor in bringing success to your travel affiliate business is to stand out from the crowd and help your audience as much as you can with their decision-making process. Find your place in the user journey and use all of your channels to ensure your users return to site through easy-to-find information, continuous updates, and inciteful photos and content pieces.
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