1. Which offers did you join first?
The first offer was Aviasales (the Russian brand of Aviasales). I placed the banners, but I was rather skeptical that they would work until Konstantin Kalinov (founder of the company) told me how to attract traffic. He literally persuaded and inspired. Then there were hotels, transfers, insurance, tours, tickets for trains and buses. Of course, I added the ones that work in Thailand — only the services my readers will need.
2. You created your blog in 2009, and then in 2013 you joined the affiliate program. Did you plan to immediately earn money on the blog by joining the affiliate programs or did it start out as a hobby?
Initially, I did not create a blog. I created a online-guide to Phuket, similar to Lonely Planet. The blog is still more personal, and the texts quickly become obsolete. I wanted to create something that will be relevant for many years. On the site, first of all, there were offline services for tourists: Excursions, photo sessions, wedding ceremonies, discount coupons to restaurants and shops, real estate and car rentals. In those “ancient times,” no one would think that you could somehow earn money, except on ads and paid posts. I started working only with hotels.
3. Did you have any complications at first when you were connecting affiliate programs, for example, insufficient educational materials, not suitable advertising materials, lacking communication with the partners? Maybe someone let you down or didn’t make regular payouts?
Everything was good when it comes to payouts and communication. KiwiTaxi had high prices for airport transfers at first. We had to come up with a way to present this information to the readers. Luckily, our Thai “taxi-mafia” pickles a rod for its own back when being greedy and making their prices way too high. There were a few unpleasant cases when a local transfer company took my clients for excursions. They had rather aggressive marketing and sales politics. While tourists were going to their hotels with KiwiTaxi, they were persuading them to buy excursions from our competitors,
When it comes to Travelpayouts, some partners didn’t have widgets or location linking. For example, Hotellook didn’t have the option of providing a link for a hotel in a certain area or beach for a long time. Level.Travel didn’t allow filtering tours according to cities and beaches in the past. It’s goo everything changed.
4. Did you try other transfer offers?
Yes, I considered one more partner offer, but it didn’t suit me. There was no final price on the website, an operator would call and inform a customer about the details after he or she makes a booking. This scheme is no longer effective in the 21st century, not even for such a patient person as me, let alone tourists who ‘come, see, and buy’ or ‘watch and forget’.
5. Is it more convenient to work with Travelpayouts?
It’s always convenient to put all the eggs into one basket. Especially since there are minimal payouts set on the KiwiTaxi website. Why wait when you can withdraw everything.
6. You have an application of your own and popular social network accounts (Instagram, for example). Could you tell us about managing the traffic? Which platform allows to attract the most customers to your website and which channel has the highest conversion rate?
Over 80% of the traffic comes from search engines. Social networks are mostly used for entertainment and the public image. It’s impossible to draw people from Instagram, it’s like they are watching a TV, press ‘Likes’, but don’t read descriptions. Instagram is good for offline advertising, coupons, sales, excursions and field sales. There is a bit of traffic coming to the website from VK and Facebook, but it’s far from perfect. The situation might have been different, had I had a travel blog with news and special offers, regularly updated content or a news website. I decided that I don’t want to take part in the SMM race, I am a girl and I want a new dress. I cannot catch the traffic of the whole world anyways.
7. Which advertising materials turned out to be effective? Will you be able to give us the ‘page – type of advertising’ link? For example, the deep link on ‘How to get to…’ pages, etc.
I am mostly using deep links now. Widgets and banners are used rarely. Links can occur in any kind of articles, on beaches overviews, airport descriptions, taxi prices, etc. It’s the deep links that should be used nowadays.
8. Do you have any plans for the partner offer? Studying new materials, trying to increase the conversion by placements on other pages?
I’d like to set a link to KiwiTaxi transfers in a mobile guide, they have just added a transport section. My application is not free of charge, which is why I have to be careful with advertising. I will also rewrite old articles and add new links to them.
A short quiz
– What was the highest number of visits of your blog throughout its history?
About 120,000 users a month.
– What was the highest remuneration you withdrew from thanks to a partnership?
I cannot boast on having high figures when it comes to online partners. The highest profit comes from offline campaigns, such as excursions and shopping. If I try to remember, I used to have a monthly commission of over $600 from the partnership with a hotel booking website. I almost don’t work with them anymore though.
– What was the biggest surprise connected to a partnership?
Nothing special, the biggest surprise was winning a drone. I first thought that Eldar’s account was hacked and they began sending spam to everyone. My thanks to Travelpayouts and KiwiTaxi.
– What’s your readers’ attitude to affiliate materials on your blog? As a personal recommendation or as advertising?
I care a lot about my readers and advertising on the website. I don’t advertise everything. People who read me (some have been doing it for 9 years!) know that every post of mine (even an advertisement) is precious. I always check the information carefully before writing about it.
I recommend for partners, advertisers, and managers: study the people you are writing for, manage to make your information reach bloggers, consider their particularities, have the patience to explain the advantages not just for them, but for the readers as well. When a blogger believes something is useful him or herself, the ad will work out greatly.
– Give some advice to the webmasters of KiwiTaxi.
I know from personal experience that KiwiTaxi is awesome. Hear their advice, read cases and try new things on your websites. Even if there are buses, bikes, and people who love walking in your city, there will always been someone in need of an individual transfer.