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Looking for good travel affiliates? I may have the best option for you!
Over the years, I have tried out tons of different travel affiliates – not just partners themselves like Booking, Agoda, Viator and more but also using programs direct vs various affiliate marketplaces.
Recently, I found myself looking again after CJ drove me absolutely nuts trying to get paid last year and booking.com’s dashboard took a holiday.
Add in how bad reporting is in many systems, especially for hotel affiliates, and I was ready to try something new.
This affiliate marketplace is dedicated to travel affiliates so is a natural place for any travel blogger. The commission rates were the same or better than I was getting and they have just about every one I use (plus, some I would like to).
It was time to make the big switch!
So how did it go? Is it positive? Should you try them too?
Below, I share all my experiences.
Full disclosure: Travelpayouts approached me to try their platform and write about the experiences. However, I would have done it anyway 🙂 I have also been working on some training material for them for their Travelpayouts Academy so keep a look out!
You will learn...
- What is Travelpayouts
- The brands that are on Travelpayouts
- How I am using Travelpayouts
- Getting started with Travelpayouts
- How to get paid
- The best parts of Travelpayouts
- The worst parts of Travelpayouts
- How (and when) to get started with Travelpayouts
- Final Verdict
What Is Travelpayouts?
Travelpayouts define themselves as a “digital partnership platform that brings together trusted brands, content creators, and travelers to make traveling a more rewarding experience for all.”
What does this mean? At its heart, they are basically an affiliate marketplace – a platform where you can sign up once and get access to lots of different travel brands that you can promote in return for commissions for any business you send their way.
It’s much like awin or cj but on a smaller scale and very travel focused.
The advantage of using an affiliate marketplace over using a brand’s direct affiliate program is that:
- You can promote many brands in the one spot which is less admin overhead and you don’t need tons of different affiliate accounts
- Because of this, you can reach payout levels and get paid faster
- Commission rates can be higher
- They often have better support than the direct programs
- It’s just overall easier
Using affiliate marketplaces are a win and I use them wherever I can.
Travelpayouts is more than this though and they pride themselves in really helping bloggers succeed with training programs and tutorials to help you improve not just with their platform, but with blogging in general.
So I was keen to try them out.
However, one thing made me hesitate. The manager I communicated with had a Russian name. I did my research, and I quickly realised that it’s a Hong Kong company. Travelpayouts has partners and workers all over the world, including in Russia and Ukraine.
In fact the CEO himself said in the DNW Facebook group,
“Our company was created by a team of talents from several countries, including Russia and Ukraine.
Travelpayouts’ operations go through our headquarters in Hong Kong, which means it doesn’t pay Russian taxes or contribute to the Russian economy (and never has).
Our biggest aspiration is to make it easier for people to travel. By discovering the world we become less estranged from each other. The Russian invasion is against everything we believe in, and since the war began, we’ve been focused on making sure that our partners and colleagues in Ukraine are safe and supported.”
The Brands That Are On Travelpayouts
I count 60+ brands currently on Travelpayouts. They are all travel related so that is quite a lot!
There are the main ones you would expect and hope to see like Booking.com, Agoda, Hostelworld, trivago and TripAdvisor.
There are transport ones like Omio, Rail Europe, Kiwi Taxi, Rentalcars, Busbud, CheapOair and 12.go
Tour companies like Viator, GetYourGuide and Klook.
Ticketing companies like tiqets and Ticketmaster.
There’s also travel insurance, lounge passes, storage companies and more.
If you can’t find something to link to (and you’re a travel blogger), you simply aren’t trying 🙂
You’ll have no problems finding plenty of affiliates relevant to your content and audience.
An even bigger win is some have higher affiliate commissions. I did not check every company, but for the ones I am using, I noticed Agoda is 6% compared to 4% I was getting direct and Viator is 9% compared to 4%.
How I Am Using Travelpayouts
I have started using Travelpayouts for my Malaysia destination site and a new European destination site I recently started. This has been a great way to see what’s available as they each use a different lot of affiliates.
My Malaysia site was existing (read more about it in my case study here if you haven’t yet), so it is a bit painful switching the links over. Thankfully, I store all my links in the Thirsty Affiliates plugin so it’s just a matter of switching them there and not going through my 200 blog posts.
I could actually switch just about all my links to ones in Travelpayouts thanks to their great range of affiliates. I am just left with some local transport providers being direct, and there are no hotel photos in Travelpayouts so I still use them through the Agoda direct program.
Initially, I started by switching half my links to make sure there weren’t any problems and they converted like usual. All has been great.
Below, I share my experiences of this change and how it is going in this Travelpayouts review.
Getting Started With Travelpayouts
The good news is that signing up with Travelpayouts is super easy! You don’t have to have a certain level of traffic or be the most famous blogger in the world to get started 😀
It only took me minutes to sign up and be ready to start using it with a step-by-step process. The only thing that stumped me for a moment was sites/blogs being called projects. Now you know this, you’ll be even faster.
Getting Started With Individual Brands
Once you have signed up with Travelpayouts, the next step is to go through the individual programs (so the different travel brands like booking.com, Viator, etc) and sign up for those.
While some of these will be automatic, I found mostly I had to apply again at this step. Initially, this seemed annoying but then I had approvals back overnight (I am in Australia so you may find them faster where you are) and none knocked me back.
Since I initially joined with two sites (or two projects), I had to apply for programs with each site individually. This only takes a second so isn’t a big deal and I always got approved for both without a problem even though one site was new with barely any traffic or posts.
What is great at this step is that all of the programs are clearly displayed with all the important facts like commission rates, cookie, etc.
For example, here’s what I see for Agoda:
Something to also note here before you start stressing (like me!) is any other information beyond the usual cookie-commission-etc info. Like it says Agoda updates statistics on Wednesdays. So you know not to stress on Tuesday when you think you haven’t made any commissions for six days 🙂
You can sign up for as many as you want. It’s basically just clicking a button.
From this section as well, you can click on Statistics to get reporting once you are getting clicks to the affiliate. This is an example of what I see (see how there is no booking info from Wednesday as it only reports once a week – I do see clicks though).
The next tab is a super useful one – Tools. From here I can build a link in moments to any page on the Agoda site. I really wish every affiliate was this easy. In fact, I have never seen an affiliate marketplace or program where it’s so easy to work out how to start linking.
It also links to where I tell it to. By this I mean that if I build a link to a hotel page, it links there. Whereas when I create a link in the Agoda direct program, it doesn’t link to the hotel that I built it to but a search page.
I can also see banners and other links in here but the link generator is what I use 99% of the time.
There is also a News tab which shares the latest updates about the affiliate.
Other brands are very similar although not all make linking quite that easy. When I came to changing my Klook links it was sadly more complicated BUT I was able to make links to any page on the site which is the main thing.
A massive gripe I have with other affiliate marketplaces is how bad their reporting is when it comes to what is going on with hotel bookings.
Since affiliate commissions don’t get paid until after a stay has taken place, hotel bookings have different things that need to be shown in reporting compared to physical or digital products and I can’t work out what’s going on in platforms like CJ at all.
I was so happy to find that it’s so much clearer in Travelpayouts. You can see a taste in the screenshot above for Agoda where it’s very clear the status of any bookings made and potential income. You can also see an overall reporting screen with all affiliates that are getting clicks in your account.
But it gets even better than this.
In the actions screen, you can see everything you could possibly want to know about all transactions in your account. You can also download this into a csv file. From this, I can see details like which hotel, what dates, what country they booked from, whether they used app or not and a lot more.
I find this so invaluable especially as we live in a time with a high cancellation rate so I especially like knowing how far ahead people are booking to give me an idea of how reliable the bookings are.
The only downside is that a lot of this information is in one column in the spreadsheet so I can’t sort it easily. However, since it uses a comma delimiter, you can export this into its own spreadsheet so you can.
There is also a tools area of Travelpayouts. I must admit, I haven’t used this much yet, but I wanted to include it here so you get a full taste of what is on offer in Travelpayouts.
This is where you can add widgets, it’s another place to access links and banners and get your hands on any data you need. There are a few more options under here to include all of this.
I did try using the plugin, but it only seemed to be for JetRadar and Hotellook which I wasn’t interested in linking to.
You also get access via the menu on the side to bonuses – which are discounts on popular products you might find useful – and Academy which is Travelpayouts training programs. New training programs are being worked on all the time (including one by me!) so keep checking here. They have some great free info.
How To Get Paid
So this is all good, Sharon, but what about the money?!
Don’t worry, I’m getting to it! There is obviously no point working with an affiliate marketplace if you won’t get paid 🙂
Travelpayouts follow their simple and easy formula with this too.
As pictured above, there is a finance menu item on the left. Simply click on this and you can find every bit of detail you could ever need.
Below, is the balance area. It has all transactions that have payments that are finalised and waiting to be paid to you. The Payments tab has payments that have been made to you and the Payment details tab is where you set up how you will be paid.
When it comes to payments, the options are pictured below.
Unfortunately, I am stuck with Paypal which is easy but the fees suck. I do like that I only have to hit a $50 balance to get paid. Between all these travel affiliates, even new sites have a chance of not waiting too long to get paid.
When it comes to how long it takes to be paid, payments are automatically generated on the 11th of the month if you meet the payment threshold ($50 for PayPal). I found my completed hotel stays for March hit my account on 13th April which means I will get paid for them in May. This is better than with the Agoda direct program who wouldn’t pay me for them until June.
I checked with Travelpayouts and this can vary depending on when the hotel agency updates the booking status for the completed stays. It can take up to two months after the check-out date for them to update (in line with what happens on other platforms), but it can also be faster so it’s possible to be paid in the month or two after the stay, like I’m experiencing.
Either way, it all works well, and I’m happy that I’m seeing my cash faster 🙂
The Best Parts Of Travelpayouts
Hopefully at this point, you have a clear understanding of how Travelpayouts work and the pros and cons for your blog. But just to make it even simpler, here are what I think the biggest benefits are…
Ease Of Use/Intuitive Design
The best part of Travelpayouts is just how easy it is to use.
Like really easy! And very intuitive to use. This starts at sign up and goes all the way through the process.
But it’s still powerful.
Deep Linking Is Generally Very Straightforward
I love that I can link to anything.
Tons Of Travel Brands
It’s so easy to get started with so many brands and this really is its strength.
There’s also a great range of brands so there’s a great chance you can find every travel brand you need in here. That makes it really easy to hit that low $50 payout amount.
Reporting Is Detailed And Specific
The reporting is also great and I’m not left wondering where the figures come from and if I’ll ever get paid. Payment is fast and easy and it all just works!
It’s sad that this is so rare with travel affiliates.
Commission Rates Are As Good As Or Better Than Elsewhere
While I did not look this up for all 64 brands, it was the case with all the ones I am using. And really, isn’t high commissions the main goal?
I’m really loving Travelpayouts.
The Worst Parts Of Travelpayouts
Of course, no solution is perfect and there are some small issues – like having to apply individually for many programs and applying for each site that you have. Thankfully, I found all approvals quick and easy so it wasn’t an issue for me.
Communication With Brands
I also can’t see a way to communicate with the brands directly if I have a problem.
Some Programs Are Not Easy To Deep Link To
I also did not like how convoluted it was to work out how to deep link to Klook. I worked it out without any issue but it was complicated and I can imagine people who get confused by formulas will find this very confusing. Thankfully, I did not hit this issue with any other brand.
I Wish I Could Be Paid Into Wise Without A Fee
Really, my only real gripe is that I don’t like being paid by Paypal. It seems every year they up their fees and the amount I lose is crazy!! Fingers crossed that Travelpayouts let us use Wise accounts soon 🙂
How (And When) To Get Started With Travelpayouts
Honestly, start right now! You don’t have to wait until you get a certain amount of traffic to join. There is no reason not to start today.
If you are already with other programs, join up and take a look around and make a decision for yourself whether to try it out or not. You can play it safe, like me, and just move a certain percentage of links first and see if you like it.
I am loving using Travelpayouts. It’s the perfect mesh of simplicity + power.
It has the majority of brands that I need. It has great commission rates. It links to any page I want. It has great reporting. It pays quickly and easily.
There’s really no reason not to love it 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions below or in the DNW Facebook group!