Travelpayouts 20/21: Year in review

Alexandra Belski Alexandra Belski
Reading time:  8  min.

On January 19, we held a webinar entitled “Travelpayouts 2021: Year in review”, in which Tatiana Buyanova (Head of Business Development at Travelpayouts) and Liza Rudykh (Head of Marketing at Travelpayouts) shared the latest travel trends, achievements of Travelpayouts throughout the year, and future plans.

Travelpayouts in 2020

2020 is now over, so it’s time to reflect on last year’s events and developments. Let’s start with ongoing promotions and offers that might be interesting and relevant for you.

  • The New Year holidays are over, but our Advent Calendar still has a lot of gifts waiting for affiliates and bloggers, such as useful tools, discounts, promo codes, etc.
  • Discover our latest free guide “How to use social media and messengers for affiliate marketing” and launch your social media presence in 2021.
  • shares a promo code for an 8% discount on all bookings made before April 10 with travel dates prior to September 20. The promo code is: AFFHCOM1Q21.
  • Join Travel Affiliate Club, the best Facebook community for travel affiliate marketers, where you can share your expertise and ask questions.
  • TPAS2020 materials are now live and you can prepare for the new season with hands-on tips from experts.
  • Get lifetime commissions for users of the Aviasales app.

2020 in numbers

For almost a year, we’ve been living in a new reality. Even though the pandemic has greatly changed the lives of everyone across the world, we did our best to support our partners and affiliates through these challenging times and inspire hope that travel will return through our own example. We invested into education for both us and our affiliates, optimized many processes, and released a lot of new features.

  1. Paid out to affiliates: $3,517,764
  2. Maximum monthly payout to one affiliate in 2020: $90,135
  3. 42,000 new affiliates joined Travelpayouts
  4. $100,000 reimbursed for bookings cancelled due to COVID-19

Even though many bookings were cancelled due to the pandemic, we believe that our affiliates did their job successfully and it wasn’t their fault that these trips never happened. That’s why we decided to compensate their efforts with our own money and paid out over $100,000 in commissions from our own cash reserves in April, May, and June of 2020.

We’re very proud that Forbes included Travelpayouts in its special article about businesses that are helping the travel industry recover from the pandemic.

  1. 16 new advertisers connected

We’re very proud to connect with advertisers such as Klug, OYO Hotels, Expedia UK, Tripadvisor, CheapOair, VisitorsCoverage, Insubuy, and others. VisitorsCoverage and Insubuy are platforms used to search for and purchase insurance. Concern for health and increased interest in travel insurance was a trend for 2020 and is likely to continue this year.

There is an obvious explanation for such a sharp increase in the number of advertisers. Thanks to the pandemic, brands can’t spare much marketing budget for paid channels, so they leverage other promotional means, such as risk-free CPA marketing. This allows brands to pay only for completed purchases, which is very efficient for their marketing strategies.

We also want to share 10 programs that the largest number of affiliates made money with last year. They are as follows:

  1. Aviasales
  2. Hotellook
  4. EconomyBookings
  5. Kiwitaxi
  6. Omio
  7. 12Go.Asia
  9. DiscoverCars

Product releases

Last spring, we launched MoneyScript, a much-awaited tool that will help you automatically turn all website links to advertisers in our network into affiliate links. At the time, this solution was relevant for our affiliate partners, as many brands paused their programs. MoneyScript helped marketers quickly change links from one advertiser to another.

In addition to MoneyScript, there are plenty of other monetization tools at Travelpayouts, such as White Label, API, and more, which are available to almost every advertiser. Pay attention to our exclusive search forms, which you can’t find in any other programs or networks.

⚠️ Please note: as of 2023, the Money Script tool has been replaced by LinkSwitcher.

We regularly update the “Services” section in the user dashboard, so be sure to check it from time to time. For example, affiliates can take advantage of a $10 discount from GetResponse and many other brands. We are in touch with many marketing and travel brands. So, if you’d like us to load some particular services or educational courses into this section, just let us know!

Travel market trends in 2021

Before diving into the key trends of this year, we want to share the sources that we used in our own strategy:

1. The recovery is driven by the BEM and US

According to the Skift Recovery Index, the best market recovery has been observed in big emerging markets, such as Russia, Mexico, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, China, and the USA. While market decline is expected to continue until April, the aforementioned countries already demonstrate a positive trend. If you have audiences from there, you can create more content on recovery in these countries, domestic tourism trends, etc.

2. Domestic travel wins, doesn’t it?

You probably already know that global tourism has been one of the most affected sectors during the pandemic. The recovery process might take up to three years, continuing into 2023. According to Expedia Group, domestic travel searches have largely surpassed international searches since April, which means that domestic tourism is likely to recover faster. This is probably due to emerging travel bubbles and trip corridors.

Another reason behind the growth of domestic tourism is the additional requirements related to health and health passports. There is also less information about arrival to foreign countries and traveling abroad, so it’s much easier for people to stay in their domestic regions or travel bubbles.

One of the major trends in 2021 will be parking space becoming the new personal space. According to Pinterest, some of the most searched terms in 2020 were car dates, drive-in cinema, dog car seats, etc. 

Based on these trends, we’ve collected a list of promising travel verticals for 2021:

However, this doesn’t mean that domestic tourism is the only viable method of travel. The vaccine had a positive and pronounced impact on the industry in November 2020 with international travel being the main beneficiary. For example, in France, international sources already dominate domestic sources.

Given all that, we expect domestic travel will continue to grow, but international travel might recover faster than currently predicted. Some countries might continue to inaugurate travel bubbles and trip corridors, which will provide you with the opportunity to write content about the countries included in those bubbles. 

So, what’s the take-home message here? Start by analyzing demographics of your most loyal readers and, based on that data, create content about the countries they are legally allowed to travel to. 

3. Reduced search window

Data provided by Aviasales and Expedia Group shows that travelers are currently opting for short-term planning as they book trips no earlier than one month in advance. In the graph below, you can see a slight increase in searches for one or two months in advance. This trend indicates that people were trying to get away during the holidays and reunite with their friends and families.

What this means for you is that your content should be ready one month before an event that is important to your audience. For example, if Easter falls in April, you better prepare relevant content in March so your readers can find the information about the place they’re visiting. 

4. The deferred demand exists and is large

The news about vaccines has positively affected international travel searches. This probably means that people are dreaming about traveling internationally. According to Value Pinguin, 72% of Americans didn’t take a summer vacation last year and might be thinking about their next trip right now. Also, 71% of Americans opted for a road trip rather than flying. To cover this demand, you might want to prepare content for land-based, local travel as well as for travel bubbles.

5. Best year for online bookings

2021 might be the best year for online bookings. According to Expedia Group’s latest survey, travelers are increasingly turning to online travel sources for trip planning. For example, boomers as well as members of the silent generation and Generation X were forced to shop online last year due to the pandemic. On the other hand, Generation Z and millennials were the least affected by COVID-19, as they had less travel constraints and restrictions.

These trends can have several possible consequences:

  • GenZ and millennials might go to TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media platforms for inspiration. Be sure to place the link to your site somewhere in your account description, so that users can find it when they’re ready for purchases. In case any of your social media followers Google you to find your site, you need to work on your SEO to ensure you show up in the search results.
  • GenZ and millennials might not be able to afford international flights. Thus, they’ll likely opt for smaller or cheaper trips or less expensive domestic destinations. Make sure to tailor your content to their demands if your audience includes members of these generations.

2021: The year of transformation

While we might be associated with a standard partner network, in reality, we do much more than that. 

For example, we pay out money to affiliates from our own cash reserves even if advertisers don’t pay us. We help brands engage, educate, and recruit new partners within the network and outside of it. We also invest a lot of money and effort into education and do our best to help even small websites and aspiring bloggers grow and access all the major travel affiliate programs

We want to turn the affiliate marketing of the past into the partnership of the future. The affiliate channel has been around since the late 90s and has gone through some serious changes. The strategies that worked in the beginning don’t work as well today. 

For example, we believe that we don’t need to divide advertisers and affiliates into groups. We would like to call and treat them all equally as partners. Partners should be teammates working alongside us to achieve a common goal. Once we begin thinking this way, we can change the way we recruit, engage, and optimize those relationships. 

Therefore, we want to pivot the positioning of Travelpayouts from a travel affiliate network towards a technological platform for travel marketing traffic automation for both affiliate partners and travel brands. The first step of this transformation will be giving Travelpayouts access to the maximum number of travel brands, even medium and small brands. In March, we’ll invite the first brands to test their Travelpayouts accounts and see what can be improved upon, while the big release to all our partners will be rolled out in November.

Another improvement we’re planning for this year is updating the Travelpayouts mobile application, where our affiliate partners will be able to access their statistics, create affiliate links, contact the support team or their account manager, and more.

Useful content

Finally, to help you learn more about Travelpayouts, we want to share some of the most useful materials we’ve published over the past year.

Newbies will likely find it beneficial to read our special guide “7 ways to jumpstart with Travelpayouts”, which describes a number of scenarios for working with various traffic sources, such as social media, websites, and more, to jumpstart your business.

Our blog and knowledge base are also great sources of information. On our blog, you can find tons of tips and cases on how to work with affiliate marketers. The knowledge base contains more detailed information on how to work with our widgets, programs, and affiliate marketing tools.

For intermediate level users, one of the greatest sources of information is the material from the Travelpayouts Affiliate Summit. Last year, we held our first summit in English. It included 18 great sessions from world-renowned companies, such as Similar Web and SEMrush, as well as Travelpayouts bloggers and affiliates. During the summit, these guests shared tips on how to create your own podcast, use advanced WordPress tools for affiliate marketing, and more. Don’t hesitate to check our YouTube channel to find more useful sessions.

Advanced users can also check out the materials from TPAS. One of the most useful sessions for such users might be the webinar entitled “Advanced WordPress with SEO & Affiliate Marketing”.


You can download the presentation from the webinar at this link.

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