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 the core of it, affiliate marketing is just recommending things that 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’re going to get paid a small kickback for the recommendations you’re already doing.
It’s probably the most popular way to monetize a travel blog because:
- Recommending stuff is always done anyway 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 doing now already
On a travel blog, content is king. I don’t want you to change that at all.
Unlike placing ads and banners all over your site, affiliate marketing slips right into the content that you are already writing and people genuinely want to hear about your recommendations. It’s a perfect fit.
Here are 5 ways you can bring affiliate marketing into your blog without being all sleazy about it:
1. Work product mentions into your blog posts
When you are writing your travel-related blog posts you will invariably recommend services and products that the person reading your post 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 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 that by using a tool like ThirstyAffiliates Pro’s Autolinker module.
This tool lets you provide keywords for your affiliate links and then those keywords will be automatically linked up to your affiliate links in real-time. It’s amazing.
There is 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 travellers will want.
Things such as insurance, booking websites, specific gear and other stuff that you often talk about using. Graphics command attention and this 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 will perform on social media. For a post that commands such attention, you will be wanting to litter a few affiliate links among those recommendations.
It can also help to go back through your older roundup posts that you know are popular already and see if any of what you talk about there 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 you could be a member of.
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 for your visitors to find. 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 one of those things that is very localised 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 is very handy when recommending a more localised travel insurance program for that particular visitor.
As for affiliate programs to join, here’s a couple 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 (Worlwide – $25 per sale)
Baggage & Travel Items
Your traveller’s kit is one of the main topics that gets talked about on your blog. It makes sense to promote the items that you’ve found worthwhile. Afterall 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)
Accommodation & Flights
There’s 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 with amazing marketing budgets are offering 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 Accommodation and some even do tours, etc.
- TripAdvisor (50% commission per sale or $2.50 per lead for enquiries)
- Booking.com (25% up to 40% per sale)
- Agoda (5% per sale)
- Wotif (1-8% per sale)
What is not to love about cruises, right? You get on board, you get your large adult beverage (often served in a coconut shell) and you chill as every need you could imagine is already 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 few popular companies to start, but 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 to Cruises.
Talking about tours that you have 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 experience of a city or place that you otherwise might not have experienced if you were just exploring on your own.
Tour affiliate programs are then an excellent way to extend on that recommendation to 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
In my opinion, 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 that 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 do it. People can see right through it when 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 with storytelling you can weave product recommendations into it quite naturally – your journalistic integrity is 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 very easy for travel bloggers to make pitches for affiliate products very naturally within the content topic at hand. So there is no need to try to cram offers down people’s throats. They won’t like it and your conversion rate will be horrible.
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.