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For everyone who is in a travel niche, travel fare aggregators like Expedia are options to monetize your website. In this review, you will learn everything you need to know about the Expedia affiliate program to decide whether the program is worth your marketing efforts.
Expedia is one of the most popular travel booking sites in the world. The website Expedia.com is owned by the Expedia Group which owns many other popular travel fare aggregators including Trivago, Travelocity and Orbitz.
With the Expedia affiliate program, you can promote hotels, flights, car rentals or vacation experiences.
Expedia Affiliate Program
Affiliates can join the Expedia affiliate program on CJ Affiliate network. The program terms can be found only on CJ Affiliate as there isn’t any information on their affiliate landing page. I don’t like it when companies that are part of an affiliate network don’t disclose any information on their affiliate landing pages. A lot of new affiliates who are just starting out and considering the program must first join the network just to find out what the commission structure is.
Anyway, if you have an account on CJ Affiliate, you will see that they have a 7-day referral period, which is not that great, but at the same time it’s not that bad for a travel booking affiliate program. For instance, TripAdvisor’s cookies stay active for just 1 day.
Expedia affiliates receive weekly newsletters with new deals and seasonal offers. It goes without saying that Expedia provides you with search forms and dynamic widgets. You can generate links to any city for hotels, flights or vacation packages.
The program terms state that affiliates are not allowed to promote Expedia via Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t mention other social media, but I would still recommend contacting Expedia through the CJ platform to clarify that other social media sites are allowed.
Expedia Affiliate Program Commission
The program’s commission ranges from 2% to 6%.
At the time of writing this review, the highest 6% commission was only for cruise bookings. The lowest 2% commission was for hotel bookings and car rentals.
How to Make Money With the Program
I am sure you are aware that travel booking affiliate programs are very competitive.
You have to treat your travel affiliate website like a business and not like a hobby. There are so many travel bloggers who just place the booking search form in a sidebar or create a separate page for it called ‘’Cheap Tickets’’ or ‘’Book Accommodation’’ which they include in their navigation.
This is the easiest way you can approach it but also the worst. People will not use the search form on your website. If they wanted to do that, they would go directly to Expedia or another booking site.
Most people will come to your travel website in search of particular information or inspiration. Therefore, it is important that you use your affiliate links in the body of your article. This may sound like very basic advice, but you would be surprised how many travel bloggers fail to do this and just use the search form. I am a passionate traveler and I read travel blogs a lot so believe me, I have seen this many times. This approach simply doesn’t work.
So, we have got that cleared up, affiliate links only in your articles. Now, what should you write about?
No matter what affiliate program you are trying to promote, you should always do your due diligence and spend some time doing keywords research and find low competition keywords . This is especially important in the travel niche, which is very competitive.
However, I do realize that for travel bloggers it is easier said than done. Finding low competition keywords is not that difficult but writing articles around them is.
If you a normal travel blogger who writes about the places you have visited, then it will often be impossible to find low competition keywords for your particular trip.
If you are not a travel blogger and your primary goal is to make money with travel affiliate programs, then you can write about places that are less competitive, but you will most likely have problems putting quality content together as you have not personally visited the place and so your article will tend to be very generic. If you don’t provide your readers with tips based on your experience, they will not take your recommendation that seriously and your conversion rate will be low.
So, what should you do? Honestly, if you are a travel blogger, I would give booking affiliate programs a very low priority in your blog’s monetization. Join Expedia and other similar affiliate programs and link to bookings which you recommend when you find it appropriate in your content. Sometimes you will find keywords with low competition keywords and sometimes you will not.
Articles that I think have the potential of high conversion rates are detailed itineraries. If your readers are planning to go to the same destination and decide to use your itinerary, it is likely they will want to use the same accommodation as you. Moreover, there is also a higher chance that they will book more than just one hotel you recommend if they decide to follow your itinerary word for word.
What I would also recommend doing is to utilize videos. Travel vlogging is becoming very popular as people more and more prefer consuming travel content though videos rather than written content. If you describe your itinerary in a YouTube video and then link to hotels you used in the video description, you can also expect higher conversion rates.
If you are not a travel blogger and you want to have solely a travel affiliate website, I would not recommend promoting the Expedia affiliate program. It is easier to earn commission from booking affiliate programs as a travel blogger than as an owner of a generic travel website.
If you still want to try creating solely a travel affiliate website, my advice would be to write either about just one destination or to target one specific type of traveler. For instance, create a lot of valuable content around traveling just in Mexico or focus on just luxury travelers. This way your visitors will trust your recommendations more as you will be perceived as an authority for people looking for a luxury vacation in Mexico.
Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program
Travel agencies incorporated under the laws of the United States can apply for the Expedia travel agent affiliate program. This program allows you to offer your clients better rates than what they see on Expedia and earn a commission.
The commission for the Expedia travel agent affiliate program is higher than for the Expedia affiliate program ranging from 3% to 11%.
If your travel agency gets accepted to the program, you will get access to the Expedia custom booking system and dedicated call center, which can help you with cancellations, etc.
Should you Join the Expedia Affiliate Program?
Whether you are thinking about joining the Expedia affiliate program or similar booking affiliate programs, you should know that it is not easy to make a lot of money via these programs.
The travel niche is very competitive, and the commission rates are quite low. To make a decent income, you need to have a lot of traffic, which is getting harder and harder in the travel niche as it seems like everyone is getting into travel blogging.
I am not saying that booking affiliate programs are not worth trying but I think that you should not be focused on them. Think of these affiliate programs as a source of extra income but not as something that will make you rich.
Try to find keywords with low competition keywords and link to relevant bookings when you can and when appropriate. However, don’t write articles about good keywords if you cannot deliver value to your readers.
You simply cannot be successful with booking affiliate programs if you produce low-quality content. This is why I don’t think it’s a good idea to create a travel website with the sole purpose of making money through affiliate marketing. You can find low competition keywords and write articles around them, but your articles will lack integrity because they will not be written based on your experience and will most likely be generic.