There is no way to overestimate the impact that 2020 and the COVID pandemic has had on our global health and economy. While every aspect of our lives has been touched by this health crisis, one area of the economy has been hit harder than any other and threatened its very existence, and that is the Travel sector. The Associated Press estimated that the sector lost over $505 Billion in sales just in 2020 alone.
the [travel] sector lost over $505 Billion in sales just in 2020 alone
But, this story isn’t complete yet. In late 2020 several vaccines were approved across the globe and, as of this writing, 1.5 Billion people have been vaccinated world wide. Several US states have also moved into “fully open” status increasing the prospects for a domestic travel rebound this summer and beyond. While many expect the travel sector to take a few years to return to pre-COVID levels, many see the pent-up demand that a year in quarantine has created as a hint of a much more rapid recovery in this category. Are you ready for that?
Now is the time to highlight the safety of your travel packages, rooms, and trips, but it is even more important to take market share now. There are precious few times in our lives when events conspire to create a golden opportunity and this is the travel sector’s. One thing the pandemic provided us was a much larger base of ecommerce shoppers. Digital Commerce 360 reported that we are several years ahead of projections for ecommerce adoption because so many were not able to shop in person this past year. That means your ecommerce strategy and execution need to be even more dialed-in. And that is where your affiliate marketing channel comes in. It is even more important now as more consumers are comfortable shopping online, and use affiliates more each year. You don’t want to miss out on those consumers because you weren’t involved in the channel early enough during the recovery.
And we are here to help. We have vast experience in the travel space and in making things happen quickly. Check out our experience below.
$500 Million in Consumed Revenue driven for our travel clients
Affiliate marketing has been a mainstay in the travel sector’s success prior to COVID-19 and will be huge in its recovery. How do we know? Well, we’ve been managing travel affiliate programs for 20 years for some of the most well known brands. Our team has experience succeeding in this category when others have failed, we know the unique challenges that come with a travel specific brand and the mistakes others make when trying to push the same basic affiliate marketing strategies, commissions, and tactics. But hey, you need to know who we are and what we’ve done in the past before you ask us for help, so let’s get right to it.
Here’s our success by the numbers:
- 21 years experience running travel affiliate marketing programs
- $500 Million in Consumed Revenue driven for our travel clients
- 1 Million attraction booklets sold every 5 years and 5 Million attractions consumed
- 100,000 group trips planned, booked and consumed through the affiliate channel
- 23 unique travel brands across 70 countries
- 5,000 travel affiliate publisher partners across 50 countries
- 4 Global Regions with launched and successful affiliate programs (North America, UK/EU, Aus/NZ, APAC)
At JEBCommerce, we employ a 5 step Online Retailer Affiliate Accelerator to provide a rapid path to incremental and profitable affiliate channel growth. Combine that with our stellar teams, years of experience and relationships with tens of thousands of affiliates and you get success, revenue, and incremental growth.
Our 5 step process, our Online Affiliate Accelerator, has delivered amazing results, rapid revenue growth, and market share increases for some of the best in the space. But don’t take our word for it, check out the brands below. They have all experienced our management and realized huge growth numbers in the travel sector.
Our Affiliate Partners
Over 5,000 affiliate publishers in this category.
You need to be sure the agency you go with to manage your affiliate marketing channel has the partnerships that will drive growth. And we do. We work with more than 5000 publishers in the travel category alone and specialize in focusing on your audience first, then finding affiliate publishers (or any other web property) that your audience is engaging with. This often leads to a higher percentage of performing partners coming from the content or niche category than others. Here is a sample of some of the partners we work with to drive incremental growth for our clients.
Some of our Successes
Travel brands come to us because they need rapid growth, affiliate diversification, they want to gain market share over their competitors, and they need an affiliate management agency that has a system to attain those goals over and over again. And they need one that understands the ins and outs of travel. From paying for consumed vs. booked trips, rooms and events, to knowing what network and partners to work with in the global marketplace. From the easy things to more difficult strategies, we have them, and you, covered. Here are a few of our success stories.
Identifying, Engaging and Optimizing an Individual Partner to Realize Sustained Growth
Relationships take time, but the strongest ones put that time in! Here is one affiliate relationship that our team cultivated within the affiliate channel of one of our premier travel brands. The affiliate was identified as a prospect and then added to the program within 30 days of our first outreach to them. Through hard work and testing, this affiliate and our team were able to improve their performance to become one of our 20 affiliates in 90 days, then #6 and now hovering right around the top ten. 100% of those new travelers were new to the brand, all incremental.
This initiative led to a dramatic increase in attraction booklets sold, active affiliates and revenue of over 70%! And it continues to grow to this day.
Once you know your audience well, you can identify the right partners.
One of our attraction advertisers needed to expand their revenue, incremental new customer acquisition and find new categories to find that growth. Our team analyzed their back end analytics performance and noticed that a large portion of their consumers were overseas travelers looking for exciting and fun attractions to visit during their US visit.
Upon making this discovery, the team added those international markets to our affiliate recruiting initiatives. Over the next 12 months the team identified and recruited over 1200 affiliates from around the globe and began engaging and optimizing them and their performance. This initiative led to a dramatic increase in attraction booklets sold, active affiliates and revenue of over 70%! And it continues to grow to this day.
Non-Traditional Affiliate Success
Traditional publishers aren’t always traditional affiliates. Most affiliate programs these days are looking for revenue and customer acquisition beyond the well known super affiliates, coupon sites and loyalty programs. In order to find those, you start with your audience first. Where is your audience going to, engaging with when it comes to travel related requests and research? Well, traditional publications are top of the list. As our team was launching a 5th brand for one of our travel clients, they identified 10 traditional publications that our client’s audience was engaging with that was not yet in the affiliate program. Through lots of optimization and relationship building, we were able to bring this publisher on as an affiliate and get them producing revenue. Sometimes you just strike gold with these non-traditional affiliate partnerships and this was one of those times. The relationship quickly became the top producing one in the program and generated more than 65% of the programs income after 120 days. Adding tons of incremental revenue, bookings and new customer acquisition.
Launching Programs Internationally
Our team utilized our client’s data along with customer and affiliate data from the current programs to identify several different regions to launch.
Many times the greatest way to increase top line sales is to expand your markets. Moving from domestic only to global markets can vastly increase your potential audience. Our client engaged with us first domestically, then after a few years wanted to expand their reach into appropriate new regions. Our team utilized our client’s data along with customer and affiliate data from the current programs to identify several different regions to launch. We worked with AWIN to launch a UK/EU affiliate program and Commission Factory to launch two individual brands in the Australia and New Zealand markets.
The new markets were live within 30 days. Our clear launch process, combined with great technical support from our client led to this rapid launch. These three programs contributed another 30% of revenue and customer acquisition for these three brands and continue to grow as a sustainable part of their ecommerce strategy.
Several things led to this success:
- JEBCommerce’s strong understanding of the data in these programs
- Our experience launching and running global affiliate programs
- Our ability to adapt to the many different time zones in order to ensure affiliates had the support they needed to be successful
- A team approach to recruitment and activation
- Solid technical understanding of the many different networks available world wide
- A clear and aggressive strategy for affiliate growth
Maintaining Revenue Numbers When Top Affiliates Falter in the Travel Category
Our client is the world leading and most awarded travel brand, dedicated to bringing to life the unique moments that inspire you to leave with your own stories to tell. From their carefully-crafted trips and exclusive experiences they enable travelers all around the globe to discover the rich diversity of the world.
Each and every week our team compares our clients' progress month to date compared with their forecast. With this particular client our team noticed on the 15th of the month that the channel was projected to miss forecast, based on MTD performance, by $150,000. Further investigation showed that 3 of our top affiliates were contributing to over 85% of that gap. The real problem was that the gap was caused by a combination of strategy changes, commission level decreases, and limiting tactics permissions. The team had to find a way to quickly bridge the gap without those top performers.
Over $150,000 was added through the channel by those formerly underperforming affiliates and our client hit their forecasted revenue for that month.
Because we weren't able to directly change the performance of the four publishers who were down, we had to identify affiliates that were in Tier 2 of the affiliate program that were ripe for growth. Our team set up meetings with these affiliates immediately and explored different ways we could boost production. We then worked with our client directly to acquire new promotions for the many different regions they operated in. These promotions then were uploaded to the networks as text links, sent out to all affiliates in a newsletter and personally provided to each of the Tier 2 affiliates we had started to work more closely with.
We ended up finding 4 affiliates within that tier and provided them with custom creative and within 1 week we generated the entire gap in the projected sales! Over $150,000 was added through the channel by those formerly underperforming affiliates and our client hit their forecasted revenue for that month.
The Bottom Line
You can't rest on your laurels in affiliate marketing. A well-run program that consistently hits your goals needs to be one that has aggressive forecasts to measure against, is monitored regularly against those numbers, and where action is taken when the projected sales volume is lower than what was forecasted. Building strong relationships with affiliates is a task that is never done and its importance can't be overstated. When we have one group of affiliates unable to contribute, the relationships that are built over time in all tiers of a program become even more important. Relationships take time to build and are vital to success. We were able to use data to identify a problem while there was still plenty of time to fix it, and we had the relationships to make 6 figure positive changes in days. Our client hit their goals and continues to enjoy a thriving affiliate channel.
Proven track record. Proven best practices.
A proven leader.
Throughout our 20 years of managing all categories of affiliate programs, including many in the travel sector, we’ve consistently shown our ability to achieve and surpass our clients’ goals. Success doesn’t come by accident and we have a system to grow travel affiliate programs, even in uncertain climates. This system includes:
- Top tier strategy from team members with more than 100 years combined experience in the space
- Active and aggressive affiliate identification and recruitment
- A team-based approach to ensure that the strategy has the right players at the right positions doing the right work at all times. No downtime.
- A solid understanding of the intricacies of the travel marketplace and how to design a competitive affiliate commission baseline and strategy without paying unnecessary commissions
- Ability to utilize our entire company to rapidly restart and grow a travel affiliate program
- In-depth knowledge of the promotional landscape of the travel space
- Weekly deep dives into the data to identify areas of opportunity
We know travel and we know travel affiliate marketing. We are ready to leverage that track record and knowledge to help your brand(s) rebound in 2021 and beyond. Our 5 step affiliate accelerator system is ready to be deployed on your behalf to claw back out of the pandemic with speed. Call us now and see how we can help you right away.