How to drive your first booking: Strategies for affiliate marketers

When you’re a new travel affiliate marketer, the amount of advice and information available can be both inspiring and overwhelming. Your goal is to drive travelers to book through your affiliate link, but how do you generate traffic and clicks to get them to do that?

Let’s dive into how you can optimize your affiliate marketing strategy to drive brand awareness to help you get that first booking.


Driving traffic as a travel affiliate marketer or influencer

The travel market is saturated with affiliate marketers and influencers competing to drive traffic and conversions. Our Path to Purchase report showed that on average, travelers consume about 141 travel pages in the 45 days prior to booking a trip, giving marketers a significant runway to influence their booking decisions.

While travelers are consuming content across multiple digital channels, the Path to Purchase survey revealed that globally, about 21% of travelers get their travel inspiration from advertising content in the form of social posts, travel blogs and other content. Package bookers (34%), bleisure travelers (30%), and vacation rental bookers (26%) are also more likely to be influenced by advertising when making their travel purchase decisions.

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Takeaway: Strategically select your affiliate marketing channels

Travel content and advertising can be very influential for undecided travelers, especially early in their booking journey. About one in five global travelers report that travel advertisements have influenced their booking decision. Of those that were influenced by ads, about 67% of them remembered influential content in the inspiration phase of their booking journey.

To inspire and connect with your target audience, think about how and where you are pushing your content. Share your content on channels where your ideal traveler is most likely to see it and position it in a way that engages with them.

For example, if you’re targeting young adults looking to visit small cities or remote areas that don’t cater to the masses, you could share content through social media channels that appeal to a younger demographic. Promote destinations with lo-fi content that’s minimally or fully unedited to convey an authentic and realistic experience. By utilizing raw and unfiltered content, you can make yourself relatable and establish trust with your affiliate audience.

You can also create a sense of authority and trust with your audience by consistently publishing content to reinforce your expertise and dedication to helping travelers make informed decisions. Whether you’re publishing a blog or posting to your social channels, a regular cadence of content can solidify your reputation as a go-to source for travel advice, further increasing your credibility and encouraging higher traffic to your channels.

If you’re consistently sharing content through a blog, consider diving into SEO research to further enhance your posts. SEO keywords can boost your content’s visibility by helping your blog rank higher in search engine results, increasing organic traffic and opportunities for conversions. By leveraging SEO keywords, you can build long-term success and establish yourself as an expert in the travel space.

Boosting links clicks as an influencer or affiliate marketer

As an affiliate marketer or influencer, it’s one thing to push your audience to see your page, but how can you get them to click through to your platform or channel?

Clicks are an important element to your success as they represent the number of people who are interested in the content you’re sharing or the products you’re promoting. More clicks can equate to a higher conversion rate and the chance of earning commissions.

Takeaway: Carefully choose your content format and link placement

To boost link clicks, consider how your audience is seeing your content. Pay attention to the format of your content, ensure that it's visually appealing, easily digestible, and offers a clear call to action.

For example, as an affiliate for Expedia Group, you would want to create engaging travel guides with concise information. Enhance your content’s visual appeal by incorporating captivating images and make the content easily digestible by using bullet point lists or short paragraphs. When sharing your affiliate links, don’t limit yourself to one link per post or put it at the bottom of the page, instead weave in several opportunities for travelers to click on a link to drive them to purchase travel.

You can also use a “link in bio” tool to organize affiliate links and enhance a user’s experience when interacting with your page. By centralizing affiliate links on a “link in bio” page and regularly sharing the latest travel promotions, you create a convenient hub for your followers to explore a variety of enticing offers, increasing the chances of clicks while providing valuable insights to your audience.

Converting clicks to bookings in affiliate marketing

Now that you’ve driven traffic to your marketing channel and encouraged travelers to click through on your links, you’re left with the final step: converting those clicks into bookings.

Nearly three out of five travelers don’t have a destination in mind when they start their booking journey. This means that travel affiliate marketers and influencers can play an important role in the decision-making process of travelers. If you diligently employ marketing strategies to capture travelers' attention and drive them through the funnel of inspiration, by the time a traveler clicks on your affiliate links, they’re already influenced and interested in the destination or product you're promoting.


Takeaway: Building trust and urgency to drive conversions

To convert clicks into bookings, consider these tactics:

  • Establish an authoritative voice: Position yourself as a travel expert. Share personal experiences, travel tips, promotions or coupons, and insights that demonstrate your knowledge. When your audience perceives you as an authority, they’re more likely to trust your recommendations and act upon them.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Encourage your audience to act swiftly by creating a sense of urgency. Explain why booking now is advantageous, whether it's because of limited availability, special discounts, or growing popularity. People are more likely to act when they feel a time-sensitive opportunity is at hand and don’t want to miss out.
  • Showcase benefits: Clearly articulate the benefits of booking through your affiliate links. Explain what sets your recommended destination or product apart from the rest. Whether it's exclusive perks, cost savings, or unique experiences, make sure your audience understands what's in it for them.

Our affiliate partners know that travelers might not book a specific trip you’re showcasing. To keep these travelers engaged, it’s a good idea to provide alternate options for hotels, activities or destinations and you’ll still receive a commission if they book within the cookie window.

As a travel affiliate or influencer, you have an opportunity to influence a traveler’s booking decision. Whether you’re scheduling your posting cadence or deciding where to incorporate links, your affiliate marketing strategy should ladder up to your overarching goal of driving conversion.

Success in the travel industry often hinges on more than what you offer, but how you offer it to inspire travelers to take action. Sign in or apply to our affiliate program today and access all the tools and resources you need to succeed as a travel affiliate marketer.

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