If you’re wondering how to monetize a travel blog, you might have considered a number of options. But, by far, the quickest way is with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing and travel blogging go hand in hand, and you don’t even have to change the way you’ve been writing or re-arrange your blog to accommodate it.
Affiliate marketing is great for monetizing a travel blog because:
- It’s easy to implement — you can start monetizing your blog posts within an hour
- There are a lot of well-known sites that offer attractive commissions
- People are always looking for recommendations — the industry thrives on personal recommendations
How To Implement Affiliate Marketing On Your Travel Blog
At its core, affiliate marketing is just recommending things people can buy. It’s probably something you’ve been doing a lot on your travel blog already.
Choosing to monetize your travel blog with affiliate marketing just means you get paid a small kickback for the recommendations you’re already making.
It’s probably the most popular way to monetize a travel blog because:
- Recommending stuff is something travel bloggers already do, so why not earn something from it
- People are actively looking for recommendations — that’s what half of “holiday making” is all about
- And most importantly, it’s unintrusive — you generally don’t have to change a thing about what you’re already doing
On a travel blog, content is king. You shouldn’t change that at all.
Unlike placing ads and banners all over your site, affiliate marketing slips right into the content you’re already writing. And, since people genuinely want to hear about your recommendations, it’s a perfect fit.
Following are five ways you can bring affiliate marketing into your blog without being spammy about it:
1. Work product mentions into your blog posts
When you’re writing your travel-related blog posts you’ll invariably recommend services and products that your readers should be aware of.
If you find yourself making a recommendation, check to see if that company has an affiliate program.
This is a nice, easy way to build your affiliate marketing over time.
2. Monetize your past blog posts
Monetizing your older blog posts is a fantastic way to pour rocket fuel into your affiliate marketing.
Older blog posts will be packed full of product recommendations, website recommendations, and more. Leverage those recommendations by using a tool like ThirstyAffiliates Pro’s Autolinker module.
This tool lets you provide keywords for your affiliate links which will then be automatically linked up to your affiliate links in real-time. It’s amazingly simple.
There’s no better way to instantly monetize all that hard work you’ve already done.
3. Sidebar graphics for high-level recommendations
Sidebar graphics and banners are still great options for recommending high-level products and services that nearly all travelers want.
Think of things such as insurance, booking websites, specific gear, and other stuff that you often talk about using. Graphics command attention, and attention can translate very quickly into commissions.
4. Roundup posts
Have you ever written a post like, “10 Best Backpacks to…” or “8 Family Friendly Cruises You Need To…?”
The humble roundup post is a very powerful piece of content that not only ranks well but also performs on social media. For a post that commands such attention, you’ll want to litter a few affiliate links among those recommendations.
It’s also a good idea to go back through older, popular roundup posts to see if any of what you talk about in them can be linked up to an affiliate offer.
When you talk about certain deals, you should be aware that most of those deals will have an affiliate program of which you can become a member.
Deals-related posts (think, “10 Romantic Getaways This Valentines Day…” type posts) in peak periods can pump some serious numbers in terms of sales.
Secondly, having a specific and permanent “Deals” page on your site can help you collect all this information into one place where your visitors can easily access it. Many travel bloggers report that these kinds of pages quickly become the top-earning page on their site.
22 Recommended Affiliate Programs For Travel
Insurance is very localized when it comes to recommendations. So it pays to know your audience and where they’re viewing your site from.
A tool like ThirstyAffiliates Pro’s Geolocation module can divert traffic to different affiliate URLs based on the visitor’s location in real-time. This feature is very handy when recommending a more localized travel insurance program to that particular visitor.
As for affiliate programs to join, here are a few you can choose from, depending on your location:
- World Nomads Partner Program (Worldwide, covers 140+ countries)
- Travelx Insurance Services (US-focused – $17 per referral)
- AIG Travel Guard (US-focused – $16 per referral)
- DUInsure (Australia-focused – 11% on sales)
- GoCompare (UK-focused)
- Allianz Travel Insurance (Worldwide – $25 per sale)
Baggage & Travel Items
Your traveler’s kit is probably one of the main things you talk about on your blog. It makes sense to promote the items you’ve found worthwhile. After all, you have the experience and stories to back up the testimonial, and reviews are one of the most powerful ways to increase your affiliate commissions. Here are a few popular affiliate programs for travel gear.
- Amazon Associates Program (Huge selection of items, 4-12% per sale)
- Tortuga Backpacks (very popular backpack gear)
- Luggage Pros (8% on sales, US-based but ships worldwide)
- All Outdoor (6% on sales, UK-based)
Accommodations & Flights
There are a million and one accommodation booking and flight booking and comparison websites out there these days, and they’re all competing for a piece of the pie. Some of the bigger players offer insanely high commissions.
Here are a few of the big players in the industry you should sign up for. All of these sites do hotels, flights, and other accommodations, and some even do tours, etc.
- TripAdvisor (50% commission per sale or $2.50 per lead for inquiries)
- Booking.com (25% up to 40% per sale)
- Agoda (5% per sale)
- Wotif (1-8% per sale)
What’s not to love about cruises, right? You get on board, you get your large adult beverage (often served in a coconut shell), and you get to chill as your every need is taken care of for you.
Cruises are a nice high-ticket item that you can promote on your blog as a travel blogger and affiliate.
Check out these popular companies to start, but know that there are tons of smaller operators and booking services which you can also use. Many of the larger sites I recommend above in the flights and hotels section also do cruises.
Talking about tours you’ve taken on your trips is a great way to build content for your travel blog. It gives you something to talk about, interest points, and a unique perspective on a city or place you otherwise might not have experienced if you were just exploring on your own.
Tour affiliate programs are an excellent way to extend on that recommendation and earn as an affiliate.
- TakeTours (3-5% on sales)
- TourRadar (5% on sales)
- Urban Adventures (10% on confirmed bookings)
How To Ensure Affiliate Marketing Remains The Most Effective Way To Monetize Your Travel Blog
Affiliate marketing and travel blogging just make sense together. It’s like two sides of the same coin.
Here are a few rules of thumb you can follow to make the most effective use of affiliate marketing to monetize your site.
Rule Of Thumb #1: Always Make Genuine Personal Recommendations
Personal recommendations are what make this industry turn.
When you make an affiliate recommendation, ask yourself, are you really happy recommending this product or service?
Would you — or do you — use it yourself?
If the answer is no, don’t recommend it. People can see right through it if you make a recommendation just because of the kickback you’ll receive.
Rule Of Thumb #2: Use Story Telling
One of the most powerful ways to grab people’s attention is storytelling.
And the beauty is that you can weave product recommendations into storytelling quite naturally — your journalistic integrity intact.
Rule Of Thumb #3: Only Recommend When It Makes Sense
Only recommend products when it makes sense.
If you’re writing a blog post about travel gear and you come out of left field with a recommendation about travel insurance, it’s going to sound completely unrelated.
It’s easy enough for travel bloggers to pitch affiliate products relevant to the content topic at hand. So there’s no need to try to cram offers down people’s throats. They won’t like it, and your conversion rate will suffer.
Do You Use Affiliate Marketing For Your Travel Blog?
We’d love to hear from you now! Do you use affiliate marketing to monetize your travel blog?
What kinds of offers have you had success with? Leave a comment below.