I feel I'm looking at paralysis by analysis in this thread.
Google is supposedly on record as voicing their dislike for affiliate sites, because in nearly all cases the affiliate offer nothing of unique value over and above the merchants own site.
So why, after Panda and Penguin do we now see a whole sector, namely travel and tourism, totally dominated by a very small handful of sites that are.... wait for it.... all affiliates selling third party products and services. They don't own a property or service between the lot of them.
Google has managed to create a user experience that entrenches the very thing they profess to detest... SERP's dominated by affiliates. They just happen to be very BIG affiliates spending huge sums on their advertising.
I'm afraid I've grown accustomed to believing what my eyes tell me and in my sector the big brand names have total dominance of the SERP's. The small operator has been driven from the playing field.
Fact of life... we move on.