Expedia Affiliate Program (2023)
If you are in the travel niche, using travel fare aggregators like Expedia can be a way to monetize your website. This review will give you all the information you need to decide whether the Expedia affiliate program is worth your marketing efforts.
You can become an Expedia affiliate through CJ Affiliates or Expedia's in-house program called Expedia Group Affiliate Program.
I will mention the key differences and my opinion on which is better.
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, Orbitz, and Hotels.com.
With the Expedia affiliate program, you can promote hotels, flights, car rentals, or vacation experiences.
Expedia Affiliate Program Overview
Cookie Duration: 7-30 days
Where to Join: CJ Affiliates, an in-house affiliate program
Payment Options: Payoneer, PayPal, Wire Transfer
Expedia Affiliate Program
To join the Expedia affiliates program on CJ, you must create a CJ account if you don’t already have one.
When you search Expedia on CJ, you will see multiple affiliate programs from Expedia.
If most of your traffic comes from the USA, you will want to join the program called "Expedia, Inc."
If most of your traffic does not come from the USA, then you can join the regional affiliate programs.
Expedia currently has programs for the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Denmark, the UK, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
You are allowed to join more than one program. For example, if you wanted to promote car rentals in the US and accommodation in France, you would join Expedia, Inc. and Expedia France.
Then, you would generate affiliate links to the car rentals from Expedia, Inc., and links for accommodation through the Expedia France program.
The Expedia affiliate commission and cookie duration differ from program to program.
For instance, the Expedia, Inc. program has a cookie duration of just 7 days, while the Expedia France program has 30 days.
To join the Expedia in-house affiliates program, you must go through the application process here.
During the application, you will also have to create an account for a platform called Partnerize.
This is because Partnerize handles processing payments for the in-house Expedia affiliate program.
You access analytics, affiliate links, widgets, and banners through the in-house program. However, you must log in to your Partnerize account to access payment settings and history.
The Expedia affiliate commission and cookie period also differ based on the destination you are promoting.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to join multiple programs like you have on CJ.
The in-house Expedia affiliate program has the advantage that you can generate all links to any destination from one place.
The cookie duration differs based on the destination. USA, Canada, and Mexico have 7 days cookie duration while all the others have 30 days
Expedia Affiliate Program Commission
Expedia affiliate program commission on CJ ranges from 2% to 6%.
As already mentioned, the commission differs from destination to destination.
For example, if you promoted car rentals through the US Expedia, Inc program, you would earn 2% on each referral.
If you promoted car rentals in France, your commission would be 3.5%.
In general, you get a slightly higher commission for European destinations.
The highest Expedia affiliate commission, which is 6% is for cruises.
You can promote cruises only through Expedia, Inc or Expedia Canada program.
The Expedia in-house affiliate program has a commission between 2% and 8%.
Similarly to the affiliate program on CJ, the US program has the lowest commissions.
The highest commission has France, Germany, and UK. You can view the commission structure in the picture below.
As you can see in the picture, some destinations are not supported by CJ affiliate programs, like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, or New Zealand.
On the contrary, some destinations are on CJ but are not in the in-house program. For example, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Sweden, and other European countries.
You should consider the supported countries when deciding where to join the Expedia affiliate program.
Another thing to consider is how you would like to get paid.
On CJ, you can withdraw through Payoneer or wire transfer, while the in-house affiliate program allows you to withdraw through PayPal and wire transfer. As mentioned earlier, the processing of payments is done through Partnerize.
When you become an Expedia affiliate through the in-house affiliate program, you have the option to promote other Expedia Group brands like Hotel.com.
As you can see in the picture below, you could get a 4% commission on US hotel reservations compared to 3% on Expedia. If you promote accommodation in France, you could get 9% instead of 7%.
How to Make Money as Expedia Affiliate
Travel booking affiliate programs are very competitive.
There are so many travel bloggers, and a lot of them try to make money with affiliate marketing.
However, the vast majority earn very little. The reason is that not many travel bloggers travel often and regularly produce content.
Most referrals to accommodation are through personal recommendations. For example, through itineraries.
You visit some destinations and write a detailed itinerary about your trip. In the itinerary, you mention the accommodations and the company from which you rented a car.
Some people will get inspired by your itinerary and follow your recommendations.
On the contrary, if you don’t create useful travel content and instead just create a page called "Book Accommodation" and on it place a search Expedia widget for hotels, you will not get many referrals.
If people wanted to search for hotels, they would go directly to Expedia and not visit your website.
People will visit your website when they look for tips, inspiration, and recommendations.
If you produce original content based on your travel experiences, affiliate programs like the one from Expedia are great for monetization your travel content.
However, if you don’t regularly create travel content, then you cannot expect to earn a lot of money with Expedia or similar affiliate programs.
Of course, you can publish travel content even when you don’t travel. Nevertheless, it will be generic, and the click-through rate on your affiliate links will be low.
Let’s assume that you are a travel blogger who regularly creates original content.
If you want to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing, you must be strategic about your content.
Imagine you visit Brazil and visit some small villages in the middle of nowhere. You can create great content for this trip, but the monetization potential is very small.
Few people will be interested in visiting these places, and thus you will get few clicks on your affiliate links.
Now imagine you create an itinerary for your trip to Rio de Janeiro.
Many people want to visit Rio de Janeiro, and many will look for tips.
You should focus on the destinations with a higher search volume and lower keyword difficulty. It may surprise you, but many successful travel bloggers decide their trips based on the keywords.
The best tool for keyword research is Ahrefs, but if you are on a low budget, you can do your keyword research with Ubersuggest for free.
After identifying your main keywords, plug them into Surfer and create topic clusters.
Based on the topic clusters, write and optimize your content.
If you randomly write travel content without any keyword strategy in mind, you will waste your time as your content will not get any traffic.
Preferably, you should also try to establish topical authority.
For example, you would write only about luxury trips or culinary travels. If you write many articles around the same travel topic, it will be easier for you to rank your content, as Google will see your blog as a more trustworthy source. If you write about everything travel related without having any niche, it will take you longer to rank your content.
Besides promoting Expedia offers on your blog, you can also promote them through a YouTube channel.
Travel vlogging is becoming very popular as people increasingly prefer consuming travel content through videos rather than written content. For the same itinerary blog post, you could create a YouTube video and link to the hotels/car rentals, etc. in the video description.
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 Expedia travel agent affiliate program's commission is higher than the Expedia affiliate program's, 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 considering joining the Expedia affiliate program or similar booking affiliate programs, you should know that making a lot of money is not easy.
The travel niche is very competitive, and the commission rates are low. To make a decent income, you need to have a website with a lot of traffic or get a lot of views on YouTube videos.
Moreover, your travel content should be specific and not generic. If you write a blog post about the 10 best beaches in the world, there is no buying intent.
To be able to write specific high-quality travel-related content like travel itineraries, you need to travel a lot.
You will not make much money with the Expedia affiliate program if you don't.
Therefore, before you become an Expedia affiliate, consider if you can regularly create travel content that is not generic.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Expedia affiliate commission differs based on where you join the program.
CJ Affiliates: 2-6%
In-house affiliate program: 2-8%
The payment methods differ based on whether you joined the CJ affiliate or the in-house Expedia affiliate program.
CJ Affiliates: Payoneer, Wire transfer
In-house affiliate program: PayPal, Wire transfer
You only get a commission for a completed booking. For example, if someone books a hotel in Paris in January and the reservation is for Christmas, you would have to wait the whole year.
If the person cancels the booking, you don’t receive anything.