As I run a fairly large blog in the internet marketing niche, I tend to get a lot of questions about what people should promote online. Today I’ll discuss a potential affiliate program you guys can try related to earning money by directing people to a website which they’ll find very useful.
Most of you reading this post will have travelled on an airline and booked a hotel at one point in your life. With online searching being so easy, many of us tend to look online for the best deals. Now, imagine if you could make a commission on referring other people to good hotel deals – saving them money and making you money.
Hotels Combined is one such website which is used by over 80,000,000 people every year. With 200,000 hotels in its database, it’s worth a bookmark just so that you can save yourself some money. However, it also has a travel affiliate program which you should definitely look at.
The way its affiliate program works is that you get paid for every lead you send to the website. I asked the owner for a rough idea of why – here’s what he said:
There is a common misconception that you stand to earn more by selecting a hotel affiliate program that pays on a CPA (per booking) commission model, rather than by choosing HotelsCombined’s CPL (per lead) commission model. I hope to explain here that the overall earning potential is approximately the same, and each method has other pros and cons to consider.
Let’s take an example where you direct 100 clicks to a hotel affiliate program.
Under a CPA program, you may make 1 or 2 hotel bookings out of those 100 clicks, each with a value of around $20. This yields an average revenue of around $30 over the 100 clicks. But since the exact value of each booking tends to vary greatly, and since it is very easy for one of those bookings to cancel, your actual earnings per day can be as erratic as a gambler’s winnings. Also, the commission is only credited to your account once the end-user actually stays at the hotel, which may be as much as 6 months after the original booking was made.
Under the HotelsCombined Affiliate Program, your 100 clicks may convert into around 60 leads, with an average value of around $0.50 each. These leads may still only convert into 1 or 2 hotel bookings, but now your $30 average revenue is much more stable. If a few clicks don’t convert into leads, your overall average remains relatively untouched, and booking cancellations never affect your accumulated earnings. Also, your commissions get paid into
your account as soon as they occur, so there’s no wait to find out how much your traffic earns you.
So at face value it appears that both types of commission model pay an average of around $30 per 100 clicks (in this example), but HotelsCombined offers more stable cash flow on shorter payment terms. Speak to your accountant about your Risk Profile before making a decision between these two models.
Personally, I’d rather get paid per lead for something like this as like the above mentions, you don’t know when people are going to book their hotel for. Also, many people sign up for the website but book after weeks, if not months – you get paid for the lead nevertheless.
I played around with the site looking at it from the eyes of a user that would be interested in booking hotels – I tend to travel a lot, so a website like this definitely helps. Here’s my search for hotels in Hong Kong:
The search found over 240 hotels and above you can see some of them (sorted by Price). For me, this has everything – price, pictures, reviews, a high quality search function so I can specify exactly what I need.
Here are some of the benefits of the affiliate program:
- Payment monthly through Paypal, cheque or bank transfer
- 12 month cookie so you get paid for repeat visits
- Variety of hotels for your visitors – over 200,000
- Multiple affiliate tools – banners, search boxes, private branding
- Real time online reporting
My favourite is the Paypal payment option – I hate waiting around for cheques or dealing with bank transfers.
Basically, you have a website which people that you send to it will find useful – which means it’s easier to make money. If I sent friends to this website, they’d thank me for it – I’ll definitely be using this to book hotels in the future.
Now, how do you promote this and make money with this website?
Niche website. Think about setting up a niche website (use Google Keyword Tool to find keywords) for country specific hotels. For example, “Mexico cheap hotels”. On your niche website you could review the top five hotels in Mexico (or the best value for money ones), redirect your visitors to the website and earn a commission on each booking they make.
Offline flyers. If you hired someone to hand out flyers where people that travel a lot tend to be – around office buildings or airports, for example, you could buy a domain, redirect it to your affiliate link and advertise this domain on flyers.
Pay per click. You can generally get very cheap clicks on travel / tourism websites using Adwords in content model as that niche tends to pay poorly (for whatever reason). So spend a day on Google looking for travel websites using Adsense, buy clicks at $0.1 and send them to your cloaked affiliate link.
You could also try Adwords search for various keywords but you’d have to go more niche as that could get expensive. Lastly, you could also look at buying banners on travel websites, or any that would get a lot of buying US traffic (Facebook, for example) as most people tend to need a hotel at some point in their life.
Good luck with referring people to HotelsCombined, and at the very least you’ve found a high quality website you yourself can use. I’m in contact with the affiliate manager and will ask him to check out this post every so often, so if you have questions feel free to leave them below!