Who doesn’t like to make money while traveling? With billions spent in this industry, the online market is becoming an exciting platform for companies to expand their services and they are looking to partner with people like you. Enter Expedia affiliate program, an opportunity where you can start a little travel business online. Want to know how it works? Read on.
Expedia At a Glance
Expedia is a metasearch engine that aggregates travel fare to the customers. Since 1999, the company has grown its database significantly and currently offers a growing list of hotels, car rental services, cruises, insurances and vacation packages within its network. Operating in more than 25 languages and 33 countries, it is one of the most visited travel booking sites in the world.
By partnering as an affiliate with Expedia, you are in a good position to leverage from a few of the company’s selling points;
- The US and Canada are two of their biggest markets, so it will be good to go with this brand if you are targeting audience from those countries.
- There are more than 400+ airlines included in the search list and new vacation properties are
- continually being added as global travel search queries increase.
- Their user interface is easy to navigate, fast loading and comes with secured payment gateways, all qualities that provide good user experience for new and recurring visitors.
- There are plenty of information as well as customer reviews on the site that can be used to recommend places, services and airlines. You can also get inspiration from their YouTube channel for guides and tips about destinations across the globe.
What Does The Program Offers
Expedia work with Commission Junction (CJ) network to manage their program and as an affiliate, you can earn up to 6% commission within a 7-day referral period, when a customer complete their bookings online and stay. Since most people are ready to spend hundreds on travel expenses, that small percentage can actually translate into a big sum.
For example, if someone makes a hotel (only) booking for $500, your earning is $30 per transaction. Now, imagine if flight and vacation itineraries are added to the list – the revenue share can easily reach a hundred, if not more.
On the merchant detail on CJ, you can see that their network earnings score stands at 5/5. This is a good indicator that they have sufficient funds to go around because at the end of the day, you don’t want to be affiliated with companies who can’t pay for your effort.
Besides the main advertisement and product links that are available, you can also use deep linking method to promote any city for hotels, vacation packages and flights. So there are a lot of options for you to play about here.
Basic Affiliate Requirements
In most cases nowadays, you’ll need to have a website before applying for any program. Expedia strictly prohibits promotion of the brand via social media so that means, you’ll need to market through content in which a blog – specifically a travel blog – is most suitable for this purpose.
If you haven’t owned one, there’s a detailed guide on how to create a travel blog here, but to keep things simple, you’ll need to get a domain first. The name can be made up of any type of words that reflects a travel niche or a topic idea that you want to talk about. As long as it is grammatically correct, not too long (about 3 to 4 words would be a nice fit) and available for purchase, you may use it.
A top level domain that comes with the extension .com, .org and .net should cost about $15 per year and while many companies that sell them, SiteRubix is among the few that includes privacy protection and email without additional charges.
After buying the domain, the next step is to connect to a publishing platform and from personal experience, the best choice is always to go with self-hosted WordPress. Since you get to choose from various plugins and themes, it’s way more flexible to customize a travel blog as compared to using builders like Squarespace or even microblogging sites like Tumblr.
There are many sites that use this platform too, so it should give you some idea as to what extend your blog can grow with this platform. Most domain companies also offer WordPress hosting that cost about $20 to $40 per month for a decent size storage. However, if you are already registered with SiteRubix earlier, you can easily connect to a WordPress site in less than one minute.
It’s true. Just enter a domain of your choice with the plugin below to test the setup process yourself.
The second thing to do is to fuel your blog with content and this is extremely important because without content, you have nothing to share, there will be no visitors (aka traffic) and you won’t be accepted into any affiliate programs. Most companies want to see your interest and commitment in the niche before deciding on a partnership so the best way to do so is through writing blog articles that are informative and engaging to read.
Fortunately in the travel niche, there are a plethora of topics to write about, but the ones that you should be focusing on are queries that you are familiar about, popular in terms of online searches yet not so competitive. By doing a thorough keyword research, you’ll be able to gauge what the audience wants and match that to what Expedia has to offer. It’s pretty much like being a sales person except that, in the online space, you need to provide value FIRST before mentioning about products or services of any kind.
Besides that, mining for the right keywords can also help your blog to rank higher in the organic search and get massive free traffic as a result. When you are able to attract targeted visitors, then it’s more sensible to use affiliate links to convert them into customers. Keyword research and content writing should always complement each other. Always write with a targeted keyword in mind whenever possible, but write in a manner that benefits the reader’s knowledge.
Long tail low competition keywords are one of the best topics that can be used to construct articles. They are easier to rank especially for new blogs, and they deliver specific buying intent that you can elaborate as a marketer. I use a combination of Google Suggest and an SEO keyword tool to come up with the following list, which I think will make interesting topics to write about when promoting Expedia.
- five star hotels in Singapore
- when is the best time to book a flight online
- best vacation packages in Cancun
- where to buy travel insurance online
- cheap car rental in Fort Lauderdale
- things to do in Vegas with kids
- last minute vacation deals in Florida
- how to find cheap flights to Europe
As this is a very competitive niche, try to write descriptively and aim for 1000 words or more and add interesting graphics that could make the article an interesting piece to read and share by the viewers. The sum of good keyword choices and compelling content is what brings good quality traffic to one’s blog.
When that happens, go ahead and create a free account with CJ Network, search for the company under the Advertisers tab to join the program. If everything is in order, you should be hearing good news in a few days time.
Alternative to Expedia
Everyone has their personal preference and if, for whatever reasons, Expedia didn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other booking sites that you can monetize from. Even though they are not as popular, they still cater for a certain group of people and that’s something worth considering in the travel niche.
- Agoda – Earn up to 60% commission, apply directly through the official website.
- AirBnb – Comprised of Guest and Host affiliate programs, direct application.
- Cheapflights – Earn between 65% to 75% commission, sign up via CJ affiliate network.
- CheapOair – Various commission levels, 90 days cookie duration, sign up via Rakuten Linkshare.
- Jetradar – Up to 70% revenue share on flights and hotels, 5% referral commissions with no cap, 30 days cookie duration, direct application through website.
- Justfly – Earn $16 commission on every international flight purchase, $8 commission on every domestic flight purchase, 45 days cookie, sign up via CJ.
- Kiwi – 3% per transaction, 30 days cookies, via CJ.
- Priceline – 3% to 5% commission, 30 days cookie, via CJ.
- Skyscanner – 50% revenue share, 30 days cookie, via CJ.
- TripAdvisor – 3% – 50% commission, 30 days cookie, via CJ.
Apart from travel sites, another method to earn while you fly is to recommend (physical) products that you personally use while travelling. This could range from towels to tripods or books to bag – all those handy stuff and gears that you know will benefit people who are in the same situation.
The most common outlet that bloggers use is the Amazon Associate Program as the marketplace is known for their product varieties, customer reviews and speedy deliveries. Depending on what you promote, you could earn anywhere between 4% to 7% per product sales as well as other items that the customer purchase upon checkout.
Personalized Travel – The New Way to Go
People used to rely on agents to customize their travel plans, but it seems that the trend now is to maximize customer experience through personalization. Airline and hotels are too rigid sometimes, so it’s not surprising that more people are asking specific questions on Google, hoping to find the answers that suit their preference and budget.
The good news is, your travel blog could be the solution that they are searching for. Booking sites are great tools to help travelers plan anything from short trips to long vacations. Hence, if you want to maximize the potential of this niche, signing up for the Expedia affiliate program, or other companies for that matter, is certainly worth trying.
I hope you’ve found some valuable information in this article on how to set up an online presence and make money while traveling. Whether you are a newbie or an established blogger, I encourage you to check out this robust training community for more tips and ideas in running a successful affiliate marketing business.
Question – Have you used Expedia before? What other monetizing idea do you have for a travel blog? Please let us know in the comment below.