Who doesn’t like to get paid while traveling, right? If you’re a globe trotter at heart (or aspire to become one), learning how to make money with Skyscanner should be up your agenda. Online travel is a trillion-dollar economy and while the opportunities are abundant, it’s worth knowing a few things before jumping on board.
What Is Skyscanner
Skyscanner is basically a travel search engine that aggregates results from the internet, allowing customers to do a quick comparison of the best deals in the least amount of time. Partnering with numerous sites, the platform offers services like flight, hotel and car bookings worldwide.
For example, when someone searches for hotels in a certain locality, it will display real-time deals from Booking, Expedia and etc. It has a good user interface that’s easy to navigate and frequently updates its blog on travel tips and holiday destinations. That makes it a reputable site for any type of travel planning.
The Skyscanner Affiliate Program
The Skyscanner affiliate program lets you earn commissions by referring visitors to book their travel itinerary through the site.
It is managed by the CJ Affiliate network and there are several regions marketed under this program. As the payout is based on geo-targeting – meaning that USA program only pays for the USA traffic – it’s recommended to join the region you’re most familiar with or intent to promote. The regions are;
- Hong Kong
Having a website is a prerequisite when applying for the program and this is pretty universal across most advertisers who want to drive traffic from Google. Since optimized blogs have the potential to rank high on the search engines, leveraging this source of natural traffic can attract many visitors, thus increasing revenues for these companies.
Some advertisers may allow you to promote without a website and that’s why we often see links being posted on social media and forums. Sharing affiliate links this way is easy peasy but due to the risk of spamming, many don’t favor this form of marketing – be it the brand or serious affiliates.
If you’re new to the blogosphere and haven’t created a site before, this WordPress builder can set up one in less than a minute. Go give it a try – it’s free!
Already have a travel blog? Great! Now, onto the next point.
Understanding The Commission Payout
According to the fine print, the cookie period lasts for 30 days and the commission is 50% per sale. While that may seem like a generous payout, it’s important to know that this percentage doesn’t derive from the total sum of booking or basket value. Rather, it comes from Skyscanner’s generated revenue.
You see, the company by itself doesn’t offer any tangible products so it actually makes money as an affiliate when visitors make bookings through the platform. In other words, their partners (like Expedia) pay a commission for referring customers and that amount is split between Skyscanner and you.
Say someone booked a hotel and the partner site pays $1.60 per lead. At 50%, you only make $0.80 in commission. I know what you’re thinking – not a very impressive earning, right? Well, that’s actually quite normal. For flights, the rate is $0.010-$0.50 per booking and for car hire and hotel, it’s about $0.30-$0.80 per booking. Meanwhile, app installation for new users pays $1 per download.
That’s the reality when affiliating with another affiliate advertiser. Remember, they need to make money too so it’s understandable that your revenue share will be much lesser than the average. To make a significant amount of commissions, you’ll need to drive a lot of traffic to your affiliate links.
If so, will paying for ads keep you at the top of the game? Well no, because it’s way too expensive for a small return. For every profit made, you’re running at a huge loss. And in case you’re tempted to use any black-hat tactics to increase clicks to your links, Skyscanner has a firm statement on this;
“Any affiliate that has sent over 250 redirects from Skyscanner to a partner site without driving a booking will be deemed as fraudulent and will be immediately removed from the campaign and their commissions reversed.”
In other words, all clicks must come from genuine users (this practice applies to all legit affiliate programs by the way), but with so many competitions in the travel niche, how can you maximize conversion? The answer lies in content.
Based on a study conducted by Google in 2014, the search engine is among the top three choices leisure and business travelers use when planning for their travels. From research to decision making, more than 50% of the population rely on Search to find inspiration, up-to-date information, brand differentiation and etc.
Most will use generic and branded terms to help them decide the best destination, price, and activities during the duration of their travels. This common mentality of ‘let’s see what Google says’ will certainly push for fresh content in the market, hence publishing fresh articles or video reviews is key to running a profitable blog especially in this niche.
Using Targeted Content to Drive Traffic
Anyone can write a blog, but producing content that is interesting to read AND rank at the same time, requires some research. In the blogging world, this means finding popular queries that are low in competition and converting them into contents.
So what are queries? They are basically keywords that people type into Google which can be extrapolated to encompass a wide variety of meanings. For example, when a search begins with ‘things to do in Bali’, it could also mean other things as suggested by Google.
Insert a word/number BEFORE the original phrase and you’ll be presented with a new set of keywords such as these.
Reverse the technique and insert a new word AFTER the original phrase and you’ll discover new keyword ideas.
Using this method, select a few queries that you can write about and see where they stand in terms of keyword metrics. This task is easy to perform by using a good keyword tool like Jaaxy because there’s very minimal data interpretation and you can organize all the keywords in one place.
The criteria we’re looking for here are;
- Words that make sense
- Topics that you know what to write about
- Topics that are relevant to Skyscanner’s offers
- Topics that can be promoted using the program’s text and banner links
- Keywords with high AVG (high searches, close to 100) and low QSR (low competition, close to 0)
Taking all that into account, I’ve shortlisted a few long-tail keywords that are relevant to our original search term.
These are great topics to write about – showing people where to stay, what to do and how to fly to Bali from where they are. That’s just one location – imagine how much content you could write targeting different topics for every city and holiday destination in and out of your town.
Having said that, you don’t want to publish another article that’s similar to a magazine site, repeating the same thing all over again. There are already many contents like these on the internet and it would be very difficult to stand out, much less rank on the search engines.
Instead, it pays to narrate from your own experience. What’s like to visit that place? Where did you stay? Are there any difficulties getting to the destination? These are the stories that people like to read from travel blogs and the more personalized the content, the more likely they are going to check out your recommendation and eventually make bookings through Skyscanner.
Don’t Put All Eggs in One Basket
Diversification is key to travel blogging offering multiple options will go a long way in capturing a wider audience and building long term traffic to your site. When was the last time you visit a travel blog that only offers one product? It’s almost unheard of, right?
So while learning how to make money with Skyscanner is a good thing, it’s worth checking out other travel affiliate programs as well. On its own, the payout may not be a lot but by partnering with several programs, the accumulated commissions can earn you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month. Of course, this is not something that can be achieved overnight, but with dedication, you can certainly get there.
Anyways, I hope this short post has inspired you to take action for your blogging venture. Learn more about how you can succeed as a travel affiliate through this awesome training program and let me know down below if you’ve any comments about Skyscanner.