Booking.com Affiliate Program (Updated 2023)
Booking.com is the most visited travel website in the world. More than 500 million people visit Booking.com in search of accommodation and each day more than 1 million bookings are made.
There are so many other booking sites but none that would even come close to being as popular as Booking.com.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Booking.com affiliate program is very popular among affiliate marketers in the travel niche.
In this review, you will learn everything about the program and tips for becoming a successful booking.com affiliate.
Table of Contents
- Booking.com Affiliate Program
- What Tools Can Booking.com Affiliates Use?
- Booking.com Affiliate Program Commission
- Can You Make $1000 a Month as a Booking.com Affiliate?
- How to Make Money as a Booking.com Affiliate
- Conclusion: Should You Become a Booking.com Affiliate?
Booking.com Affiliate Program
The Booking.com affiliate program can be joined directly from the affiliate landing page.
The sign-up process is very easy and your account is confirmed almost instantly.
The only requirement to become a Booking.com affiliate is to have a website with relevant content.
That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to have a travel blog or website focused on traveling. As long as you have at least some content related to travel and accommodation, you will have no problem getting accepted.
Once you get accepted to the program, you will be provided with your unique affiliate link and you can start promoting.
It goes without saying that the Booking.com affiliate program allows the creation of deep links. You can create links to pretty much anything. Besides specific properties, also to regions, cities, landmarks, and more.
Even though it’s great to have the option to link anywhere, I would not recommend linking to regions or landmarks that much.
The reason why is that the program has a very short referral period. Booking.com affiliates get session-based cookie duration.
If your visitor leaves the Booking.com page and returns later, you will not receive any commission.
Therefore, it’s better to link to specific accommodations or search results for a particular city as the chances for conversion are higher.
What Tools Can Booking.com Affiliates Use?
Booking.com is the biggest player in online accommodation bookings and so being a Booking.com affiliate has its benefits.
The Booking.com affiliate program has many tools that you can freely use.
Below is their short description.
A map widget is a great tool if you want to show your visitors accommodation options in a specific area. New accommodation options pop up as they move around the map on your website.
This tool can be very useful when you write a post about a specific area. You may recommend the top accommodation in the area and include the map in the post.
If your readers don’t like the accommodation you recommend, they can quickly and easily access listings for nearby accommodation.
The search box allows your visitor to select their desired destination and dates. Once they click the "Search" button, they are redirected to Booking.com for property listings that match their criteria.
It’s possible to customize the search box style and pre-apply filters. So, for instance, if you have a category page where all your posts related to Paris appear, you could pre-apply the filter for Paris.
Of course, you can also target countries besides cities, but the more specific you are, the better.
I think search boxes are more suited to your category pages. For posts, the map widget makes more sense as you can target specific areas that go along with your post, and also, a map is more interactive than a search box.
Inspiring Search Box
The inspiring search box is similar to a normal search box, but it provides you with an extra option to show images of destinations of your choice.
All you have to do is to select a city and a day of the week, and Booking.com will automatically generate current deals.
Booking.com offers Booking.com affiliates banners in six different sizes in various designs.
Moreover, all banners are available in 43 languages.
If you have a WordPress website, setting up the Booking.com tools mentioned above will be very easy for you.
Booking.com has plugins that allow you to quickly add search boxes, map widgets, and banners to any of your posts or pages.
The WordPress plugin also enables the quick creation of deep links to any of the Booking.com listings.
Nevertheless, the plugin seems abandoned. It is rarely ever updated, and based on the reviews the support is terrible.
Booking.com Affiliate Program Commission
Booking.com affiliates can earn a commission for bookings but also for property owners who create listings on Booking.com through their links.
The Booking.com commission structure may be a little confusing for affiliates.
This is because the Booking.com affiliate program has a progressively structured model, which means that your commission rate depends on the number of booking you generate per month.
At the beginning, you will start with a 25% commission rate. As you can see in the table below, the maximum commission rate you can have is 40%.
However, please note that you will not get a commission equal to the percentage of the price of the booking. You only earn a percentage of Booking.com commission.
The commission Booking.com receives from the property owners can be 10%, 15%, 17%, or 20%. Sadly, Booking.com does not disclose what type of property falls under what commission rate. They only mention that it depends on several factors, such as the accommodation country.
Let’s say that your visitor booked accommodation from your link worth $100 and that the accommodation is a type of property from which Booking.com receives a 15% commission.
In this case, Booking.com earns $15. From that amount, you would 25%, which is just $3.75.
Property Referral Program
Booking.com always wants to expand and offer more accommodation options around the world. Booking.com affiliates can also earn a commission for any type of property that starts a new listing on Booking.com.
Before you receive any commission, the new listing must undergo Booking.com’s standard verification checks.
Next, it needs to be open for accepting guests within 30 days and have at least one booking within 90 days.
If all that is fulfilled, you and your referral both are eligible to receive 5 commission-free bookings, up to a maximum value of EUR 200.
You can only make 10 referrals with the Booking.com property referral program. This means you can receive a total reward of up to EUR 2000 in commission-free bookings.
The Booking.com affiliate program and property referral program both offer two options for commission payments.
The first option is direct transfer in Euros, US Dollars, or British Pounds, and the other is PayPal transfer.
The default currency for direct transfers is Euros, but Booking.com can also process the transfers in US Dollars and British Pounds. You just need to send a request.
If you decide to withdraw your payments through PayPal, please note that Booking.com can process payments only in Euros. Of course, you can then withdraw money from your PayPal account in the currency of your choice, but PayPal's currency exchange rates will apply.
The withdrawal threshold is relatively high: you must earn a minimum of €100 ($110).
Expect to be paid around two months after the guests have checked out. For example, if you referral book accommodation in January for the December holiday, you would receive a commission in around February of the following year.
If you want to know specifically how the financial cycle works, I recommend watching the video below.
Can You Make $1000 a Month as a Booking.com Affiliate?
You have learned that Booking.com affiliate earnings are not that high, so is it possible to earn $1000 a month?
Of course, it is, but it will be a lot of work.
Let’s do the math on a hypothetical example of promoting a hotel in the USA.
The average daily hotel booking rate in the USA is around $130. Imagine that your referral guest books a 2-night stay.
The booking price would be $260, and Booking.com would receive a $39 cut (provided that the property type falls under the 15% commission).
You, as a Booking.com affiliate, would earn $9.75 (provided you have the lowest 25% commission).
If you earned around $10 per booking, you would need 100 people to book accommodation on Booking.com through your links to make $1000 a month.
Booking.com does not have a cap on how much you can earn per booking.
If someone booked accommodation for $1.000, you would receive $37.5.
Therefore, if you promoted more expensive accommodation, you could earn $1.000 with just a few monthly referrals.
Nevertheless, remember that the Booking.com affiliate program has a session-based cookie.
Everyone must click on your link and book the accommodation before closing the browser window.
Many people who click on your links will not be ready to book. They will just browse for tips and inspiration.
If you promote more expensive accommodation, you will have a lower conversion rate as people need more time to decide.
How to Make Money as a Booking.com Affiliate
If this is not the first article you are reading on my blog, then you know that for each affiliate program, I include some tips about how I would approach promoting the particular program.
Best Performing Booking.com Widget
Booking.com states that the best-performing widget is the inspiring search box.
I must admit that I find this surprising. I would not expect the inspiring search box to be the best-performing widget.
The inspiring search box allows you to promote accommodation in countries that you select, but the thing is that it does not allow you to show specific cities.
You select a country, and the widget shows photos of the top three destinations in that country.
So that means you cannot be as specific with the targeting as you can be with the map widget, which allows you to create a map for any particular city.
If Booking.com recommends the inspiring search box, it is likely that Booking.com affiliates make the most money by promoting the most popular destinations in particular countries. This obviously makes sense; that’s why they are popular destinations in the first place.
Therefore, if you want to focus on just the Booking.com affiliate program, it makes sense to mainly focus on content around the top-visited destinations.
Booking.com claims that popular destinations frequently change, so Booking.com affiliates should pay attention to what is showing up in their inspiring search boxes.
Also, Booking.com recommends checking out trending destinations on their blog as they often reveal current trends.
Find Low Competition Keywords
Knowing that the inspiring search box is the best-performing widget is good information, but remember that the most popular destinations also have the most competitive keywords.
You need to strategically plan what to write content about.
Let me give you an example of promoting popular destinations in France.
Paris will always be the most visited city by tourists in France. The most content about traveling in France will also be about Paris.
If you were to write a piece of content about visiting the Eiffel Tower, you would be competing with thousands of similar articles.
It would not rank well in search engines, and you would not get any organic traffic.
You must find less competitive keywords with a big enough search volume.
In the travel niche, finding low-competition keywords is not that hard, even for popular destinations like Paris.
There are many sights to see, restaurants to dine in, and attractions to visit. The travel niche is very broad; you can always find something that is not so competitive to write about.
The problem is to find keywords that are not competitive and, at the same time, have a decent search volume.
You will not find many. I have found many low-competition keyword opportunities that have a search volume of around 50-150 monthly searches (what I consider a decent search volume is anything above 500).
They are long-tail keywords like "things to do in paris for families".
Even if you managed to rank on the first page of Google for these keywords, you would receive a few monthly visits from them.
What does this mean? This means that if you are just starting out with a brand new blog and cannot go after more competitive keywords with a bigger search volume, you will have to publish many articles to acquire decent traffic. Obviously, this does not apply to just the Booking.com affiliate program, but to any affiliate program.
Writing a lot of content about Paris would not be easy.
If you haven’t visited the place personally, your content will most likely lack quality. Your articles will be generic, and you will use free stock pictures.
Travel bloggers who continually travel have a much better chance of succeeding with travel affiliate programs as they can produce higher-quality content
There are many travel websites and travel bloggers, but few travel a lot.
I am not saying you cannot be a successful Booking.com affiliate if you don’t travel. I am just stating the fact that it is more challenging.
And if you travel and can create a lot of quality content, it does not mean you will be successful at affiliate marketing.
I travel a lot and thus visit many travel blogs when preparing itineraries. I have visited many travel blogs with amazing content filled with helpful personal experiences and beautiful pictures, but their blog got minimal traffic despite that.
Why? Because they chose the wrong keywords.
Conclusion: Should You Become a Booking.com Affiliate?
If you have a travel blog and want to monetize it, the Booking.com affiliate program is worth considering.
Despite the lower commission and a session-based cookie duration, becoming a Booking.com affiliate can still be quite profitable with the right approach.
The essential thing you should ask yourself is if you are able to publish high-quality travel content regularly.
You cannot expect to publish 5 travel articles and make $1.000 from them.
Competition in the travel niche is huge, and if you cannot regularly post new content, you cannot expect much success.
Of course, it is not just about quantity and quality but also about SEO.
You can have the best travel article in the world, but nobody will ever find it if you don't optimize it for keywords.
I also recommend not focusing solely on promoting accommodation. Successful travel bloggers are members of multiple travel affiliate programs.
For example, you could also mention the best car rental places.
Many people looking for accommodation also want to rent a car. You can check Discovercars.com, for instance. They are an Award-winning car rental comparison website and offer a 70% commission from their car rental profit as well as a 30% commission of full coverage revenue and a massive 365 days cookie.
Besides car rentals, you can also promote activities, flight tickets, insurance, etc.
Many affiliate programs for the travel niche nicely complement each other.