Affiliate Marketing - How to Execute a Successful Campaign in Travel


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I presented this at the Travel Distribution Summit on May 19th 09. The presentation discusses the intricacies of the travel sector, the implications this has for affiliate marketing and what I think makes a successful campaign in this sector.

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Affiliate Marketing - How to Execute a Successful Campaign in Travel

  1. 1. Affiliate Marketing How to Execute a Successful Campaign
  2. 2. Agenda  My Background  Travel Sector and Affiliates  Key points for a successful affiliate campaign  What stage is the travel affiliate channel at?  Summary  Questions
  3. 3. About Me A Life in Affiliate Marketing Helen Southgate  Head of Affiliate at dgm  Nearly 7 years in the Industry  Variety of Sectors  Current Travel Clients
  4. 4. Agenda  My Background Travel Sector and Affiliates  What makes a good campaign?  How can the sector improve?  Summary  Questions
  5. 5. Travel Sector - Trends How do Customers Search?  On average customers:  Make 12 related travel searches  Visit 22 different websites  Take 29 days to purchase  Visit the purchase site 2.5 times  Use a generic term at the start of their search 54% of the time  10% of time don’t use a branded search at all (i.e. Easyjet, Thomson)  29% of searches start with a non-brand term but finish with a brand term
  6. 6. What does this mean for Affiliate Marketing?  The Importance of having an affiliate campaign in the travel sector  You want to have touch points at the beginning of the search  You need reach across a wide range of long tail terms  You need your brand to interact as many times as possible within the customer search  You want the customer to trust your brand an affiliates reinforce that
  7. 7. Agenda  My Background  Travel Sector and Affiliates What makes a good campaign?  How can the sector improve?  Summary  Questions
  8. 8. What should you expect from an affiliate campaign?  Affiliates drive incremental sales  Affiliates add value to the customer purchase  Affiliates promote your brand ethically  Affiliates are rewarded for sales that they can reasonably justify that they have contributed significantly to
  9. 9. The Cookie  Cookie period in travel is important  29 days average purchase time (click to sale)  Most travel campaigns are 30 days, should this be reviewed?  PI cookies  De-duping
  10. 10. The Affiliate Mix Super Affiliates Large Affiliates This sector of affiliates is key Medium Affiliates for a travel affiliate campaign EARNINGS Long Tail Affiliates AFFILIATES
  11. 11. Types of Affiliate Content Affiliates Brand Affiliates Partnerships & Email Reward / Incentive / Voucher Sites
  12. 12. How can you attract affiliates?  Competitive EPC (earnings per click)  Rewards / Incentives  Promotional Materials  Communication  Account Management  Bespoke management
  13. 13. Competitive EPC  Affiliates compare campaigns using Earnings per Click  How can you influence the EPC for affiliates?  Increase the commission  Increase your on site conversion rate (OSC)  Landing pages / deep linking  Increase the affiliates Click through rate (CTR)  Influencing the affiliates CTR  Regular updates of copy / creative  Interactive creative (i.e. searchable banners)  Analysing creative / content
  14. 14. Motivating Affiliates Think of your affiliates as your sales force, how would you motivate your top sales person?  Salary  Bonus  Perks  Status Different affiliates will be motivated by differing levels of reward: Top Affiliate + = Top Affiliate + =
  15. 15. Promotional Materials What is key?  Make it easy for affiliates to promote you dgmKnowledge  Offer promotional materials that aid conversion  Regularly review materials  Look to use API / RSS / Product Feeds for “real time” data / availability changes  Update your affiliates with all new promotions / offers
  16. 16. Communicating with Affiliates  How do you break through the noise?  Use all channels  Make sure you have a consistent message  Find out what channel your affiliates would prefer to use  Monitor the effectiveness of each channel  Email is a necessary evil  Communicating effectively and regularly, but not too much!
  17. 17. Account Management  It’s not a myth that relationships are key to success  Good account management is:  Talking regularly to key affiliates  Supporting smaller affiliates  Being responsive  Being pro-active  Problem solving  Innovative  Communication  Treat affiliates as you would your sales force
  18. 18. Bespoke Management  One size fits all affiliate campaign has been and gone  Need to work with affiliates on a bespoke basis:  Communications  Commissions  Promotions  Incentives  Relationships  Remuneration
  19. 19. Pay on all Actions Holiday Booking More information request Brochure Request CPA Repeat purchases 3rd party sale (airport parking, insurance)
  20. 20. Monitoring Quality  Risk factor = commission paid on booking not fulfilment of sale  How to limit the risk:  Check all applications – know who you are doing business with  Monitor quality of sale  Ensure you can validate all sales  Assess any loopholes in payment process  99% of affiliates are ethical but you need to watch for that 1%
  21. 21. Agenda  My Background  Travel Sector and Affiliates  What makes a good campaign? Where is the Travel Sector now?  Questions
  22. 22. Where is the Travel sector?  More scope to innovate & improve  Understanding the consumer journey and adapting to this is key  Last click model  Long tail growth
  23. 23. Summary  Understand the customer journey for your product  Tailor your campaign  Know and understand your affiliates  Treat your affiliates as your sales force  Don’t be afraid to innovate
  24. 24. Agenda  My Background  Travel Sector and Affiliates  What makes a good campaign?  How can the sector improve?  Summary Questions
  25. 25. Thanks for your time Helen Southgate Head of Affiliate Direct: +44 (0)20 7943 4270 Email: Web: