The travel affiliate market in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to traffic decline in many niches, but the travel market was hit the hardest, with over 45% decline in traffic. On the screen below, you can see the changes across different niches.
Affiliate programs have also reacted differently. CPA commissions haven’t changed, while CPC commissions have dropped. Some partner programs have been stopped or paused, such as Amazon, KAYAK, Hotelscombined, BlaBlaCar, Airhelp, etc. Due to an increase in the percentage of booking cancellations, conversions have dropped. Also, the hold time has increased, meaning that affiliates now have to wait longer for the commission payout.
To help you keep up with all the changes, we’ve launched a semi-automatic email newsletter. It’s the best source to get information about the programs you are subscribed to, but you can also find these updates in the News tab of the affiliate dashboard.
However, the market has already started to recover, with domestic and regional tourism on the frontline. Let’s look at the changes to the number of bookings across different niches.
- Flight tickets. There is an increase in the number of bookings for trips inside the countries to almost the pre-COVID level, in Europe as well as in Russia and the CIS countries.
- Hotels. The situation is similar. With domestic tourism on the rise, it makes sense to promote local brands right now. Some advertisers, like OYO Rooms, even give discounts on bookings.
- Ground transportation is still struggling.
- Flight compensation services are booming. Compensair has released new product compensation for flights cancelled because of COVID-19.
- Tours and activities. In mid-April the niche released a new feature: online tours with a professional guide, which turned out to be a big time saver.
- Car rental. Cars are still one of the safest ways of traveling during the pandemic, and it is a perfect fit for domestic tourism.
You can learn more about the travel recovery trends across different countries in this article.
Travel market forecasts
The good news is that experts are unanimously optimistic about the inevitable rebound of the travel niche, but each sector is expected to recover in a different manner. For example, travelers will prefer:
- Private properties instead of crowded hotels and resorts
- Driving instead of flying
- Using travel advisors instead of booking themselves
- Trip insurances
Domestic tourism will resume first, followed by regional partnerships, like the Baltic countries, while international travel may still be a long way off. However, the booking process will change, as people will make reservations as close to the departure date as possible. To encourage travelers to book, companies will alter exchange and return policies for their products. You can find more forecasts in our blog post.
To help affiliates and advertisers survive the crisis, Travelpayouts has sent compensations, organized multiple online webinars and events, launched guides, and provided other assistance, but first things first.
You might have noticed in your affiliate dashboard a new type of payment: The COVID-19 compensation. Since April, we’ve been tracking all bookings cancelled because of the pandemic and sending you the commission that you’ve earned. We believe that you did your job, and it’s no one’s fault that these trips never happened, so we paid you the commission from Travelpayouts’s own money.
Offline and online meetups
We’ve organized three online meetups in Berlin, Moscow, and Las Vegas.
Because of the pandemic, we were forced to switch to online meetups, and together with our friends from MeetEdgar, Redtrack, SEMrush and other companies, have organized 27 webinars. We’ve even held the first online conference “Travel after COVID-19: China’s experience” to discuss China’s path to recovery with experts from Travelpayouts, Aviasales, Trip.com, STR, and others.
To help affiliates improve their websites while the travel is still down and climb the Google search rankings, we’ve launched the SEO Traffic Show with world-renowned SEO experts, Tristam Jarman, Co-Founder at Purple Smudge, and Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube.pro. In each episode, the experts pick apart three affiliate websites and share hands-on tips on optimization. You can watch recordings of the first and second episodes of the show on YouTube.
Another great show was Weekly Travel Updates. We’ve released ten short and meaningful episodes where we discuss top travel news and stories from the Travelpayouts crew, hold informal discussions with bloggers and simply have fun.
Guides and blog posts
We’ve also published a number of White Papers for affiliates and advertisers:
- The survival kit for travel bloggers
- How to create perfect content
- 25 easy ways to make money online
- How to place affiliate tools properly
And you can find even more useful information in our blog, which has shown tremendous results this year.
The most popular articles are:
- How much does YouTube pay for 1,000 views in 2020
- 15 most famous travel bloggers on the web
- YouTube SEO 2020: Best practices + tools for affiliates
At Travelpayouts, it’s even possible to earn money while having fun, with “Tasino” and “Who wants to be an affilionaire” games. As a result, over 20 affiliates won money to their affiliate accounts.
Travel Affiliate Club
Peer support can be a great source of inspiration, that’s why we’ve launched Travel Affiliate Club. This is a community where you can discuss travel news, trends, partner programs and many other things with like-minded travel affiliates. Join TAC on Facebook to stay tuned.
And we’ve also launched a new YouTube channel with English only video content. The channel already has a bunch of useful guides and webinars, so make sure to check it out!
The first two quarters of 2020 have been especially productive in terms of product updates.
- Live chat with our support team. Now you can submit a ticket and contact our support agents right from your user account. You’ll also find answers to most frequently asked questions.
- Money script. This tool allows you the opportunity to automatically make all the links on your website affiliate. Sign up with Travelpayouts if you haven’t yet, join affiliate programs and add the script to your site. The script can handle both unlabeled and affiliate links in case you want to change one affiliate program to another. You can also use additional parameters, like add rules and exceptions, which links you want to convert or ignore. Find more about Money script in our blog.
- Hotellook hotels map widget update. The old version had two primary shortcomings: long widget load time, as the widget could be installed only through iframe, and long customer journeys. The new widget can easily be integrated to a site through the script and loads quicklier.
- Link generator. The new link generator has a cleaner interface, we also removed the box with the html code and anchor text.
- Improved reports. We’ve added CSV export, sticky table header on the Dashboard main page, and Popular destinations reports.
- “Tools” section. Now all the Travelpayouts tools are collected on one page. Each card contains a short description of the tool, key features, links to the knowledge base where you can read more and links to affiliate programs using this tool.
- “Courses” section. Here you can find all the necessary courses an affiliate might need to jumpstart.
- Updated “Services” section. Now Travelpayouts affiliates can receive discounts from services such as SEMrush, MeetEdgar and several others and save on their marketing budget.
And we have just as many plans for the second half of 2020.
October 5-9, we’ll hold Travelpayouts Affiliate Summit, the one and only annual conference in travel affiliate marketing. The summit brings together key players of the international market, big advertisers, top-performing affiliates, SEO experts, and representatives of travel services. This year, TPAS will take place online and in English for the first time, so everyone can join us!
We’re also planning to release more product features, such as:
- A small questionnaire about traffic sources with personal recommendations
- Universal search form
- Mobile tracking to count all mobile conversions
- Onboarding for new users to help affiliates jumpstart as soon as they sign up with Travelpayouts
- Improved reports to help you more deeply analyze your sales funnel.
We’re regularly publishing useful guides and running webinars to help affiliates jumpstart and increase their revenue. Now, we’re preparing two special courses for travel bloggers and advertisers and will release them at the summit.