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As for the booking functionality, that may be more of a challenge. Some properties will be independent, other's part of national chains. Most hotel properties have their own internal booking engines/software. Trying to tie all that together could be a nightmare, if you want to offer online bookings. If you go the way of an affiliate partnership, such as Ian.com, then you lose out on the Condos, though they just added B&B's to their offerings... Ian may be the way to go, to get it up and running, and then possibly migrate to something else. IHS is another hotel booking engine, but they are hotels only at this time....
The big difference between Ian and IHS, Ian markets to the customer directly, you only make commish on the first booking, while IHS let's you market future offerings to the customer.
The majority of affiliate relationships work that way. You are paid a commission on the first sale/lead/etc., then they own the customer for life...
My take on affiliate programs is a bit jaded, so take it for what it's worth. The merchant only pays if a sale is generated. They have no advertising costs, yet they get to market in the future to that customer, most times not compensating the affiliate that generated the customer?
Sure the merchant has cost in running the affiliate program, but it's far less, than the cost of advertising.
Also, the merchant knows which affiliate generated the customer, so they do have the capability to compensate on repeat sales...
elance, rentacoder and scriptlance are the three giants I've worked with (as a PHP coder) and what I can say is that you will get the same average results on all.
All overload the coders by their system. Look from the coders' point of view: bid on few projects in order to take one of them and when it happens to be the winner on two the coder is stucked. No time, work in a rush, debug old client's code, etc. Not to say that the amount has to be low in order to take the jobs.
Find a coder per hourly rate - that is the way to go. And keep it.
Most travel programs pay on any booking that originates at your site. If you are branding the destiantion site- this translates into only the first booking in many cases as the user books at the brand site. If you use one of the multiple private label programs, you can brand your own site.
Please feel free to contact me directly with questions.