In this post we will analyze which company offers the best hotel affiliate program available for blogger and internet entrepreneurs
Find the best hotel affiliate programs and earn income from your travel blog, and broaden the content of your posts.
Finding the best hotel affiliate program might not be an easy task. A number of factors, such as geo targeting and visitor profile play a major role to find the best program for your niche. Let’s analyse the main hotel affiliate programs to determine the best ones.
Hotel Affiliates and the Hotel Niche: Overview
The travel niche is one of the most competitive ones in affiliate marketing. The hotel niche within the travel industry is also highly competitive, but it can bring a lot of profits if you position yourself well on the market.
Commissions on this niche are above the average when compared to the whole affiliate industry, and there are many programs to choose from.
It is important to stress however that the tourism affiliate industry, the competition is among the fiercest among all online business. This can be easily checked, in almost any country.
You can open your local google site and google any city name, plus the word hotel. The number of paid search results are high, normally covering all the search result immediate screen. You will often have to scroll down to get to the first organic results.
Ranking for any city plus the hotel keyword is therefore an expensive and complicated task. But, does it mean that it’s impossible to earn for hotel affiliate programs?
The answer is a clear no, but you will have to do an extensive keyword research to find untapped niches.
The best strategy probably involves marketing an specific travel niche. Once users reach your site, you can channel them to your best hotel affiliate program.
Is the Hotel Affiliate Niche for Beginners?
Due to the high competition involved, I wouldn’t recommend this niche for blogging beginners. It may take quite a long while (probably months, or even years) before you can make a sustainable income from a travel blog.
There is a big hype involving travel blogs. The idea of quitting the rat race and start a new blog in another country is very appealing.
However, it is no the best idea to fund your immediate travels by just running a travel blog.
It is in fact possible, just to play on the safe site, I personally recommend niches with faster ROI.
Regardless of the competition, the hotel niche can be quite profitable. If your niche is somewhat related to travel and tourism, you should definitely invest on the hotel affiliate niche.
Hotel Affiliate Commission Structure
One of the most important things when it comes to any affiliate marketing niche is the commission structure.
The aspects I consider important here are: cookie duration, commission percentage and payment schedule and method.
Cookie Duration: probably the most unfavorable aspect when it comes to finding your best hotel affiliate program is the cookie duration.
Most hotel affiliate programs have a short or medium cookie duration. While Booking.com has a cookie that lasts only during the browser session, some other have slightly longer cookie duration. However, none of the hotel affiliate programs that I consider good have a cookie duration longer than 30 days.
Commission Percentage: since hotel bookings are a service, the commissions are higher than commission for tangible products. That is perhaps the most attractive factor behind hotel affiliate programs.
Even if in the beginning it is hard to leverage customers, you have a have a relatively high traffic (above 1000 unique visitors per day), you will be able to earn decent commissions.
Payment Schedule and Method: when it comes to payments, there is one good and one bad side on most hotel affiliate programs.
The bad side is that most hotel affiliate programs (if not all) will only validate your commissions when the guest has left the hotel premises. That means, if a visitor books a stay for 3 months from now, you will receive your commission at least 3 months later than the date the booking was made.
The good size is that most hotel affiliate programs pay using wire or PayPal, which is much better than dealing with checks. In that sense the Booking.com affiliate program is especially positive, with PayPal and wire available as payment methods.
List of Best Hotel Affiliate Programs
Now, let’s get to the most important part of this post. Below you will find the list of the best hotel affiliate programs:
Booking.com Affiliate Program
Booking.com is currently the most used hotel and accommodation platform in the world. This fact by itself is enough relevant to make you want apply to their affiliate program.
The company is also quite generous in my opinion, when it comes to commissions. Booking.com itself earns money on commissions, and in your first commission you will get 25% of their commission. The higher the number of commissions you get per month, the more will be your share of it. If you get a very high number of bookings, you can earn as high as 40% of their commission per hotel stay.
There is one negative point on Booking.com affiliate program though. Their cookie duration is low, lasting only during the browser section. Generally that means, you will only get paid if someone gets to Booking.com from your site, and books a stay before closing the browser.
I consider Booking.com to be the best hotel affiliate program. Even if their cooking doesn’t have a long duration, you should absolutely join this program if you in the hotel niche. If you have a high volume of traffic it will be certainly a profitable option.
Booking.com pays their affiliates via PayPal or Wire Transfer, which I consider the two best options to receive affiliate earnings.
More information on our Booking.com affiliate review.
Agoda Affiliate Program
Agoda offers one of the best hotel affiliate program currently available. With more than 750,000 properties available on the Agoda website, it certainly can be used by some affiliate marketers.
The Agoda affiliate dashboard is quite smart, and some unique features. The most interesting is to be able to book stays from the back-end using the “Reservation Center” tool, this is especially interesting if you are planning a trip for some of your clients. This way you will be able to profit directly from these bookings.
The Agoda affiliate program is also generous in their commission structure, paying an initial value of 35% of the commission their receive from the hotels.
Agoda has a stronger presence in Asia, especially in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan. If your traffic is not from Asian countries, it will be considerably harder to convert at a good rate.
Hotels.com Affiliate Program
Hotels.com is another major player in the hotel business, with a strong presence in the United States. The Hotels.com affiliate program works with a different model than Booking.com or Agoda. It can be better or not for you, depending on your business strategy..
You must apply through some affiliate network like Commission Junction or Zanox, depending which traffic you will be focused on. If you want to focus on the US traffic, from what it seems, you must apply through CJ.com.
Hotels.com has a longer cookie duration than Booking.com, which is great. It is definitely a good choice if your traffic comes from North America.
Trip Advisor Affiliate Program
TripAdvisor is a leading travel and tourism portal. Focused not only in accommodation, TripAdvisor has a large database of restaurants and tourism activities reviews which are useful to most travelers. The level of information and the variety of reviews explain why TripAdvisor is one of the most visited websites in the US.
The TripAdvisor affiliate program pays not only through bookings, but also for email inquiries. When it comes to bookings, they have a similar structure as Booking.com or Agoda, paying a commission based on the commission they receive.
Other Hotel Affiliate Programs
There are many other programs, from smaller sites and also from Hotel chains. Some of them have a geo-targeted niche, or a niche for a specific type of customers.
Some of programs, which are worth metioning among the best hotel affiliate programs:
Hostelworld Affiliate Program
Accor Hotels Affiliate Program
Hilton Affiliate Program
To conclude, choosing the best hotel affiliate program will depend on your niche and your geo-targeted audience. It is important to remember that this is one of the most competitive niches, as it’s highly profitable.