How to make money with hotel affiliates?

When it comes to making money online, hotel affiliates are some of the best ways out there in the market. Hotel is an expensive product, demanded a lot and in the end generates good affiliate commission. Online hotel booking sites also provide great value as deep room discounts which makes people more likely use them (and make you earn commission). There are a lot of them out there and here in this blog we have reviewed two: HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review and Agoda hotel affiliate partner program review.

Here, we have compiled some great ways to make money online using hotel affiliates.

Use hotel booking sites instead of individual hotel sites

A lot of hotel groups and individual hotels offer affiliate programs but we believe giving your users more choice (and in return more value) will make more money for you. So go for general hotel reservation web site affiliates like Agoda.com instead of individual hotel affiliates.

Forget About Banners

All hotel affiliates provides super shiny banners which generate little to no money (except for a site which has millions of views). You need some hard work to make money from a hotel affiliate:

Put text links everywhere possible in all articles. For example take a look at this blog post named Bangkok Holiday – From Singapore to Bangkok. Writer at the end of the post tells where he stayed (I stayed in ALoft Hotel Bangkok which is walking distance away from BTS Skytrain Nana station) and how to get there. The hotel’s name is linked to hotels page in Agoda.com with writer’s affiliate ID. These are the best links with high conversion.

Another good conversion link is an image link. For example this blog post named Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 Hotel Review uses one such link. There is a photo of hotel’s pool in the article and if a visitor clicks on the image he/she is directed to hotel’s site. People like to click on images and images are one of the best places to put affiliate links.

Rotating Linked Images Method

But the best way to make money with a hotel affiliate, in our opinion, is using rotating linked images at the bottom or top of the articles. The method is used here by publicholiday.org. At the end of each article you will see 3 images with links. These images usually are photos of attractive women or locations which makes users impulsively click them. Along with each image is a tagline in text below with an attention-grabbing headline. The images and text change every time you go to a new article and they are links to Agoda.com with affiliate IDs. Click on either the image or the tagline and you’ll be sent over to Agoda and grab yourself a cookie that will get the site owner paid if you purchase.

This method is one of the best method you can employ. Someone coming to your travel site is a potential traveller and hotel booker. Directing them to a booking site even if because they just clicked on an image of a nice beach will place a cookie in their browser and knowledge of your affiliate provider. When they actually need a hotel they are likely to visit the destination again and book room.

A note: This site was sold last year on Flippa and it claimed to make 12,000 USD per month from only Agoda.com affiliate program (there is no other affiliate or CPC on the site). Read the story here 28K Per Month Authority Site Case Study.

Write hotel reviews

If you write your travel blog, you should create a separate article for each hotel you stayed instead of keeping this experience in a more general travel post. For example, this blog post named Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 Hotel Review is such an article.

HotelsCombined Private Branding

HotelsCombined.com offers private branding (white label) solution which allows seamless integration of their hotel search functionality into your website, with no development costs to you.

Here is an example: Staycation is a favorite holiday mode in Singapore and this niche web site named staycation.sg targets this niche hotel demand. If you go to the site you will be greeted with an ultra simple home page with a search box and some lists like “Best Hotels for Staycation”.

Go for hotel niche

Generalized hotel search is a highly saturated market. So there is a very little chance that your site will appear even in the first page if it is a general hotel site. If you want to make money you need to go niche. So instead of hotels in Las Vegas (Very general), you should go for Staycation in Las Vegas (relatively niche).

HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review

When you google “hotelscombined affiliate review”, the first result you see (or at least we see in Singapore) is “Don’t Use HotelsCombined.com Affiliate Program”. Well I do not know how many potential publisher was scared away with this one but hotelscombined affiliate is a in fact a nice hotel affiliate out there that can turn your traffic (especially travel related traffic) into money.

Hotelscombined is a hotel price comparison site. It is not an online hotel booking site. It actually draws data from some popular hotel booking sites plus the hotels’ sites and compare them for you to find the best price. One important aspect I like about hotelscombined.com as a user is this hotel prices from hotel page aspect. Sometimes booking a hotel from its page is cheaper than booking it from an online booking site and if this is the case you can see it in hotelscombined.com.

HotelsCombined Affiliate Program

The HotelsCombined Affiliate Program is FREE. Anyone who owns or runs a website is welcome to join our Hotel Affiliate Program. Affiliates are paid to attract visitors who are interested in booking hotel rooms, so the quality of the traffic you send is important.

How do you make money by HotelsCombined?

HotelsCombined affiliates earn commission on a “per-lead” basis. A Lead is generated when a visitor clicks through to the website of one of our compared hotel booking suppliers. One of the important factors which determine how much you get paid per lead is the rate at which your leads become bookings (This is different from Agoda.com hotel affiliate partner program we use and reviewed before. In Agoda.com you earn commission from departures).

HotelsCombined.com is in fact one extra middle man. They are paid a commission by hotel booking site like Agoda.com, hotels.com and they share a percentage of this commission with the affiliate. HotelsCombined claims that most affiliates earn between USD $0.50 and $2.00 per lead. This numbers are what we have experienced as their affiliates. But USD $0.25 – USD 1.00 is what most leads generated for us.

USD $0.50 and $2.00 may look very small compared to original hotel booking site payments which can range from $10 – $50 in most cases. But do not forget HotelsCombined.com pays per lead whereas original booking sites pay per “departure”. So you will generate much more leads than departures.

Why is it good?

Well, HotelsCombined.com is good because it makes money. We also like their reporting interface which is superior to our other affiliate Agoda.com’s dull back-end.

HotelsCombined.com also offers several superior functionality which we do not have with Agoda:

Link labeling : You can label your affiliate links with HotelsCombined.com so that leads are stored with labels. This allows you to find out which links directs most leads to HotelsCombined.com.

Private Labeling : You can create a hotel site by using HotelsCombined.com’s template as if it is a part of your site. For example take a look at this site named staycation.sg. It has only one original page (home page) and every other page you go are in fact HotelsCombined.com private branding page although their URL are still in staycation.sg.

If you want to create a localized page (hotelscombined support many languages) it is a perfect tool to use and there are many sites out there making money with this private branding.

Data Feeds: On demand and case-by-case HotelsCombined.com allows to use an API to draw live data through their API. For example you can create a site named “Best Thermal Hotels in Japan” and then get the price data from HotelsCombined by some coding. A great way to create value and make money (we still did not use it but we are planning to use it).

Who is it for?

Travel blogs/sites can benefit a lot from hotel affiliates. But do not just copy-paste a banner to your site and expect to earn good money. Banners do not make a lot of money (for us they did not make money at all). You need to put links in your articles. For example your travel blog article may have the name of the hotel you have stayed. Just link it to hotel’s page in HotelsCombined.com. The link generator in the affiliate admin is quite powerful and generate links to different parts of hotelscombined site.

Other than direct links, best links are image links. If you have a lovely photo of the room you have stayed, link it to HotelsCombined.com.