There are some great opportuinities for affiliates in the hotel niche. There are commission oportunities for bloggers and marketers with both in-house programs like the Intercontinental Affiliate program and travel consolidators like Hotels.com.

Generally speaking tehse are not high-ticket items nor will you get large percentage offers like hosting or SaaS products. But if you are a travel focused site it should convert well.

When it comes to making a hotel or other accomidation purchase there are three broad categories of affiliate opportunities … 

  • Hotel and Travel Reservation Sites
  • Hotel Direct Affilaite Programs
  • Specialty Lodging and Programs

Let’s take a look at the top hotel affiliate programs.

Why Hotel Affiliate Program

The rates are not the highest, ranging from 3% – 6% for most programs. The advantages are that people are always booking hotels. When I had my corporate hat on I was staying near 100 days per year in hotels and usually booked a few weeks of vacation travel for my family. At an average of $150 per night that is over $15,000 per year. At 5% that is $750 in commissions — from one customer. Imagine if you had a pre-booking website that had a lock on even 50 customers like me!

We looked at hundreds of affiliate programs in the hospitality space and organized them by …

  • Booking companies –– the Expedias of the world
  • Hotel Companies — Direct affilaite programs with the hotels
  • Specialty Companies — Home rentals etc.
Let’s jump in …

Go to our affiliate programs page for more program reviews.

Hotel and Travel Sites 

Many people book hotels via websites that aggregate many hotel listings. Sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Agoda.make it very easy to compare hotels by price, star rating, review scores etc. 

There are definately regional strongholds with Hotels.com doing very well in US markets and Agoda being stronger in Asian markets for instance.

 

Agoda

agoda affiliate programCommission Rate: 3%-7% Volume-based

Cookie Length: Referrer/Session Based

Affiliate Info: Agoda Affiliate Page

Agoda has a massive portfolio of properties in their serach engine. They are particularly strong in Asia where many properties ar exclusively in Agoda or are cheaper in Agoda.

Agoda’s commission plan work on a performance basis. There is a sliding scale of commissions depending on the number of bookings you refer in a month …

    • 4.0% — Less than 50 bookings
    • 4.5% — Between 50 and 99 bookings
    • 5.0% — Between 100 and 199 bookings
    • 6.0% — Between 200 and 999 bookings
    • 7.0 % — More than 999 bookings
Agoda emphasizes their international and language support. If you have, or can drive, worldwide traffic, Agoda may be a good fit.

They have a number of tools available to assist affiliates …

    • Hotel Data File — Customize teh experience for your visitors.
    • Deep-Link. Deep linking allows you to create a link to a specific hotel, or otehr target at Agoda.
    • Search Form. Install an Agoda serach form in your sidebar or content.
    • Banners. Lots of banners and other pre-made displays to start with.

Booking.com

booking.com affiliate programCommission Rate: 25%-40% of Booking.com’s Commission

Cookie Length: Reservation Referrer

Affiliate Info: Booking.com Affiliate Page

Booking.com is a strong brand trusted by many consumers. They run a very popular affilaite program with lots of tools for making money with Booking.com referrals.

The one downside of the booking.com affiliate program is that you need to get 50 bookings before getting final approval. This may sound like a lot but if you are looking at hotel and travel programs you should understand that it is a high volume/traffic game.

The commissions are tiered and all based on a percentage of the commissions that Booking.com receives …

    • 0–50 bookings: 25%
    • 51–150 bookings: 30%
    • 151–500 bookings: 35%
    • 501+ bookings: 40%
Booking.com has a number of tools to help affilaites earn commissions.

    • Search and Advanced Box. A search form that reinjects our users to Booking.com—customizable in size and city to search
    • Find Offers. Get a list of discounts and promos by region to promote.
    • Banners. Lots of banners to add to your site.
    • Deep-Link. Booking.com supports deep linking. This is the best way to get conversions… links in your content to specific hotels or products.
    • WordPress Plugin – They even have a WordPress plugin to facilitate search

Expedia

expedia affiliate programCommission Rate: 2%-5% by Category

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Expedia Affiliate Page

 

    • Hotels.com
    • HomeAway
    • Trivago
    • Travelocity
    • Orbitz
    • HotWire
    • Ebookers
    • CheapTickets
Expedia is not just a hotel booking company of course. They can book hotels, flights, cruises, rental cars and more. They are certainly the best known travel booking company so being associate with them can not hurt.

 

The commission plan is based on product categories …

    • Hotel — 5.00%
    • Cruise — 6.00%
    • Package
    • Activity
    • Ground Transfer — 5.00%
    • Vacation Rental — 2.00%

Hotels.com

hotels.com affiliate programCommission Rate: 4% (1% on gift cards)

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Hotels.com at CJ

 I don’t know about you, but Hotels.com is my goto booking company for accommodations. I have been lured in with the book 10 get one free program. I wait until I have 2-3 nights free and run away for a weekend getaway. Or I will us ethe value and book a more expensive resort room at a great discount.

In a recent survey by Statistica 31% of all respondants had sued Hotels.com in the last year for a booking. Second only to their parent company Expedia.

hotels.com affiliate

They have near 10 million monthly visitors. So much for exact keyword domain names being an issue.

The affiliate program is run by CJ Affiliates. Notice a pattern? Many travel sites are on CJ.

They pay 4% commission and have a regrettably short 7-day cookie. They do run lots of promotions and specials and are very affilaite focused.

Priceline

priceline affiliate programCommission Rate: 3% – 5%

Cookie Length: 30 days

Affiliate Info: Priceline Affiliate Page

Priceline started out as a name-your-own-price site. You were able to bid on hotel stays and other products. They have stopped offering the bidding service and are now a typical price comparison tools.

Affiliates are paid 3% – 5% in commission based on the product.

    • Hotel — 5%
    • Cruise — 3%
    • Retail Flight — 4%

There are limitations for coupons and other situations so check the details on the CJ Priceline terms page.

Tripadvisor

tripadvisor affiliate programCommission Rate: 3% Bookings

Cookie Length: Referrer/Session

Affiliate Info: TripAdvisor Affiliate Page

Tripadvisor is the starting point for many when they start their tarvel planning. But many don’t know that Tripadvisor is the largest travel site in the world. Some amazing TripAdvisor stats …

    • Over 500 million monthly visitors
    • Over 700 million reviews
    • 3000+ employees
    • 1.3 million hotels
    • $1.6 billion in revenues

The affiliate program has 2 potential sources of commissions.  Actual instant bookings when a referred TripAdvisor makes a hotel or other booking on the TripAdvisor page you will receive 3%. On other user activities the TripAdvisor pays 50% of the commissions earned by TripAdvisor. This includes commerce links and ads. There are accelerators for affiliates with higher volumes. 

Travelocity

travelocity affiliate programCommission Rate: 3% – 4%

Cookie Length: 45 days

Affiliate Info: Travelocity at CJ

widely recognized in the travel industry, probably because it’s been around since 1996. They are the third largest travel broker… travelocity affiliate The affiliate program is managed by CJ Affiliates. The cookie is a generous 45 days and rates vary based on product …

    • Airline Ticket — $2
    • Pre Paid Hotels — 4%
    • Pay At Hotels — 3%
    • Car Rentals — 2%
    • Cruise — $30
    • Vacation Package — 3%

In-house Affiliate Program

There were years I spent over 100 days in hotels for work. Did I book those with Expedia or Agoda? No. Because if I did I would not get my hotel frequent stay points. Unlike airlines, hotels only give loyalty points when you book on their website.

In many hotels the best rooms are also reserved for those booking directly on the hotel website. So for Hilton, Marriot etc. business stays I booked direct. Unfourtuneatly Intercontinental Hotels exceeded my work budget – that would be a great business perk.

Intercontinental Hotel Group

ihg affiliate programCommission Rate: 3%

Cookie Length: 14 days

Affiliate Info: IHG Hotel Affiliate Page

The Intercontinental Hotel group contains a number of hotel properties. All in all they have over 5,100 hotels, hosting over 190 million stays per year. Their properties range from the category defining luxury Intercontinental to business and family focused Holiday Inn. There brands include …

    • Intercontinental
    • Crowne Plaza
    • Regent
    • Holiday Inn
    • Avid
    • Hotel Indigo
    • Candlewood Suites

As you can see these properties range from the everyman’s Holiday Inn to the luxury category-defining chain Intercontinental. This is one of the strengths of the affiliate program — something for everyone.

The 3% commission rate means you will need to send quite a bit of traffic to the property. In general, the hotel affiliate programs are best for high-volume travel and other similar niches.

Hilton 

hilton affiliate programCommission Rate: 6%

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Hilton Affiliate Page

The Hilton US Hilton affiliate program is run by Rakuten marketing but different regions use other affiliate networks to manage their programs …

The commision rate for the Americas is a generous 6%. This is doubl ethe rate of other programs. Hilton is best known for it’s business and vacation properties so best to focus on that market vs. the budget and family markets.

Marriott

marriott affiliate programCommission Rate: 3% – 6%

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Marriott Affiliate Page

Many people don’t know the size and scope of Marriott. And they only got bigger with the aquisition of Starwood Hotels.  There are now over 30 hotel brands in their portfolio. These range from the super-lux Ritz Carlton & St. Regis to the moderatly priced Fairfield Inn and Suites. They also have a massive timeshare program that attracts many. Here is the lowdown on the Marriott properties …

Commission are good at 4%-6% on hotel stays and 3% on vacation packages. While 3% is on the low side the average order size for the vacation packages is much higher than for hotel stays.

Red Roof Inn

red roof inn affiliate programCommission Rate: 4% (1% on gift cards)

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Red Roof Inn Affiliate Page

Sometimes you just need a quality, clean, dependable but inexpensive place to put our head down in. The Red Roof Inn properties are just that. They lead the accomodations industry in the economy hotel market.

Red Roof Inn uses ShareASale to manag the affilaite program so youknow that there will be great support and marketing materials.

The cookie is a very generous 30 days though we wish the commission rate was higher it is understandable given the lower margins of the budget category hotels.

Specialty

The hotel industry experienced a disruptive event with the maturing of sites like Airbnb …

Airbnb.com

airbnb affiliate programCommission Rate: $26 stays, $50 host signup

Cookie Length: 7 days

Affiliate Info: Airbnb affiliate page

Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry in a major way. Now instead of booking a hotel in the city of your upcoming business trip or holiday you cn book an apartment with kitchen and living room or even a spare bedroom in a shared house or flat.

Airbnb gives you two ways to earn. They have the refer a friend program which is the easiest of conversions. You send someone a coupon for $13 for their first booking. When they use the coupon you get $26.

But it is important to note that Airbnb pays in credit for future bookings, not cash.

There is also a program where you earn $50 in credits for referring a new host or travel experience tour offering (local experience).

HomeAway

homeaway affiliate programCommission Rate:  3% – stays, $20 – new host

Cookie Length:  7 days

Affiliate Info: HomeAway Affiliate Program

HomeAway is another Expedia company. They seem to control the entire industry.

If you are a small group or family, HomeAway is the ideal accommodation site for you. Need 3+ bedrooms, a great kitchen, and a nice view … no problem you can find it on HomeAway. When you compare to multiple hotel rooms, HomeAway is often a better product at a lower price — nice.

I used HomeAway for a number of years to rent a second home with great success. I think this is a typical type of product offering but I know others in my summer resort town who moved onto their boat and rented their house – nice.

They offer two ways to earn ….

  • Rentals – 3%
  • New listings – $20

The 3% is a bit on the low side but consider properties like the one I rented. Five bedrooms at $4,000 a week with a minimum 1-week rental during prime season. So that is a $120 commission per week. 

Hostel World

hostelworld affiliate programCommission Rate:   40% of deposit

Cookie Length:  30 days

Affiliate Info: Hostel World Affiliate Page

See the world on $25 a day. Sounds crazy when a budget hotel room in much of the US is $100 or more. But hostels offer very low accommidations in every part of the world. Going to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, or other developing parts of the world and tehre are many $5-$10 a night hostel options. Typically you will be in a shared room with a few bunks and decent wifi – who could ask for more for $5 -$10.

Since these are typically smaller family-run properties you will not find them on the big Expedia properties. Nor will they have a booking system associate with any website or FaceBook page they may have created. This is where Hostelworld comes in. They have thousands of hostels around the world that they list and do bookings for.

If you have a younger audience who are backpackers, HostelWorld may be the perfect program for you. There are thousands of post-college adults who travel the world moving from hostel to hostel.

This would be a particularly good program for TEFL and other on-line teaching or sites focusing on the digital nomad communities.

Hotel Travel Club

htc affiliate programCommission Rate: 20% of Membership Fee – Recurring

Cookie Length: 30 days

Affiliate Info: HTC Affiliate Page

HTC is constantly on the lookout for discounts and deals. They can also negotiate special prices for their members as other groups like AAA and big corporations do.

The membership plans are $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

As an affiliate, you get 20% of the monthly membership fees. The best part is that it is a recurring commission.

How to Market Hotel Affiliate Programs

There are a few options for marketing hotel affiliate programs.

Content Marketing

Hotel reservations are a broad niche with lots of competition. You also have the vendors trying to get SEO traffic. You will need a lot of traffic and conversions to move the revenue needle given the low-ish commission rates.

Best to concentrate on low competition lower volume keywords.Lower Competition Keywords. Think about destinations and look at keywords like …

  • Best family hotel in New York City
  • LGBT friendly hotels in Paris
  • Adult only hotels

These niches are what you want to focus on. Don’t try to focus on just things like “best hotel in San Francisco.” You will find that very difficult to rank for and you will get lost deep in the search results.

Email Marketing

Start building an email list for your audience. Typically a give-away is provided in exchange for the email address. SO depending on your niche, it may be…

  • indepth adventure travel tips
  • traveling with pet tips
  • getting the best room advice
  • etc.

Social Media

Hotels can be very visual. Definately get your Pinterest game going strong. Youtube can also be a great way to generate referrals. You can do video walkthrough of properties and rooms. Facebook can be used to post your lates deals. Consider using scacity like all of the hotel booking companies do (only 2 rooms left etc.)

Go to our affiliate tips page -- learn how to promote products.

Wrapping Up

Hotel affiliate programs are ideal for travel bloggers but many other niches can also make money with them. The commission rates are not the highest but the booking amounts can be large and it is definitely an evergreen market.