I don't know much about affiliates in the flights market but I do know the travel and flights market in general and what I can say is the profit margin that travel agents get is very low in business terms - UK.
I worked at a large travel agency doing "things / nothing" for several years and during that time the amount of profit it made on flights was going down and down.
All that being said - you are still being ripped off by expedia, but then again they can afford to do that due to they're big brand. I would take a rough guess and say that affiliates in general that are selling flights should get around £10 per long haul sale (20$). I think on average the likes of travel agents make around £25 from a flight to spain from london.
I don't know if this helps you any but it does get some reason behind expedia's pricing!
- RJ -
Yes RJ I understand the margins are low.
the past 5 years the Airlines have really been struggling but $2 ..I just cant do it
At the same time Adsense has fallen from mid .xx cents to low .xx
and yet when I look at overture bids for example I see plus $1 per click for the top bids and still high .xx for the next 5 ..
How is it these same players can pay $1 plus per click but refuse to pay for Actual sales!
I second the comment about air travel paying very low. In the U.S., commssions to agents for domestic travel are capped at $10. So even if someone spends $1,300 on a flight, Expedia gets $10.
To make up for the cap, many agents tack on a service charge, which some affiliate programs split with their affiliates (others obviously don't).
As far as I know, many (most?) international slights don't have that serious restriction, but I believe many are still cutting their commissions.
(Note- my information is based on information from 2000 when we were looking into investing in a system to directly connect to the airline ticket systems. With the caps, it just didn't make sense to get into that business, so we stayed on the affiliate side. Things may have changed since then, but I suspect they've only gotten worse on the travel agency side, not better.)
(On an aside, happy 1,000th post to me!)
Thanks Asia I did not realize the cap was $10 (I should have known)
So in my situation anyways it just makes more sense to continue using PPC and hope PPA is never forced upon us..
Why are they bidding (PPC) $1 plus? simply for branding purposes?
It could be for branding. It could be that they're actually paying less than $1 PPC. It could be that they've found they get a lot of non-airfare purchases once people get to the site, so they're still recouping the $1 PPC.
Or it could be that they are completely clueless and not doing any ROI tracking and are on a quick, downward slide towards bankruptcy.
Check out the affiliate program offered by Travelocity. My recollection is that it pays as much as $5 per ticket.
Why doesn't everyone just send all of their traffic to the one airline that agrees to pay affiliates a greater commission?
C'mon. Stop taking this laying down. The heck with them all. Pick one airline and let the others pay for their own advertising and see how much that costs them. When they stop getting to freeload off of everyone else's efforts maybe they'll decide they could afford to pay more.
Viva la revolucion! Elbonia Airways for everyone!
(And yes, affiliates do need to organize a bit better.)
Ok webwork and exactly which airline and where do I sign up :)
I'm affiliated with a travelagency (Netherlands) which pays me out in percentages. Starting with 2% of the fare, excl. taxes. If you meet a certain amount of sales, you go up a percent etc. etc.
So for some $4000 longhaul tickets, I get $80 minimal. It wouldn't amaze me if the company is making a loss on this sale.
Here you can see the salescommisions of main airliners to travelagencies: [abtamembers.org...]
How do they pay you 2%, when according to that table many major airlines only pay them a 1% commission?
I too have reservations (pun intended!) about promoting air travel on travel-related sites. Why should I bust my chops to make $2 per sale when AdSense banners earn considerably more?
These agencies are surviving with ticket/reservation fees.
If I sell a 20 euro ticket, my commission is just 40 cents, but the agent will invoice a full fee for the customer.
When a group is booking some pretty expensivelonghaul flights, I'm pretty sure my agent will make a loss on that one.
Selling travel is just barely profitable for real travel agents much less trying to get them (or expedia et al) to give you a commission for selling it.
I was a "real" travel agent for over 5 years and I watched the airlines first reduce and then eliminate commissions to agents. With the advent of the internet their model has been just like everyone else--sell directly to the consumer through their own website and cut out the middle man.
Then when 9/11 happened tons of travel agencies went straight out of business.
If you look at the profit and sales of expedia, orbitz, etc. you'll see that they've been going down for a few years. The airlines and hotels are paying them less too and so they've got less to pay you.
I think the bottom line is that the travel market is just not profitable as an affiliate any longer. I think that trying to wish it or will it into being any different is just like banging your head against a wall. It won't do you any good and it will give you a headache :-)
To me it comes down to will it be more profitable for me to keep trying to revive this dead/dying niche, or should I look for something else with a long term and profitable future. If it were I'd look for a new niche. 2 bucks a sale just sucks!
Update: I've had a wctravel account for over a year and never really tried them across my whole site..until last week
My main travel is Air .. I have to say it's going pretty well (considering).
For some reason it never dawned on me that most reservations arent 1 ticket but 2 and I have already had a 5 on one flight ..
domestic flights are 40% of the $10 Fee and 40% of $15 on International ...Plus a percentage of Opti Fees
Not great but it is taking the pressure off relying on adsense .
Only problem is I had to remove one adsense in a good location which cut my CTR nearly in half..the good part is my per click on the other ads rose..
Long story short I think I have found a solution in wctravel and now just need to tweak placement /color schemes etc..
Does anybody knows how is things with cruise sales affiliates?
I am trying to do something with that, sign up with CruiseDirect trough CJ, no success so far.
[edited by: Skeewe1 at 8:42 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]
Travel itself is growing, but I agree that for affiliates it's getting more and more difficult to keep their pieces of the revenue pie. Besides the commission cuts by suppliers, there has also been a huge number of new affiliates entering the industry.
When I joined a major travel affiliate program in 1998 or 1999, my affiliate ID was a 4-digit number (at the low end). A few years later I added some child IDs for better revenue tracking and was given 5-digit numbers (around 50000). I would not be at all surprised if new IDs from them are now 6 digits. So that's over 100,000 sites, just for 1 affiliate program! And they're not the only game in town.
right, but 98% of these IDs do not make money. ask your affiliate rep.