Generating income from selling tours, activities, and tickets to attractions is more straightforward than most vacation rental managers realize. There is no need to negotiate deals with individual vendors and then try and track your sales. Rental managers can participate in what are known as “Affiliate Marketing Programs” to generate incremental income all while helping provide guests relevant and helpful recommendations.
I’ve done the hard work and reviewed the affiliate programs that are available in the marketplace for rental managers. I’ve even helped StayFi’s clients implement these affiliate programs into their marketing and guest communications to start generating revenue immediately. Follow my guide below to start cashing in on this fantastic opportunity.
Before diving into the details of how to generate income for your vacation rental company, let’s cover the basics of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting a company’s product – typically through linking to that product from your website, emails, or social media posts.
The technology behind affiliate networks varies, but it typically involves either using cookies to track a sale within a certain time window (more generous) or getting credit for a sale after the last-click (less generous). Joining an “Affiliate Network” is how “publishers” (here vacation rental companies) access programs provided by a variety of merchants. The affiliate network provides the tracking, fraud detection, and payout mechanism. It also helps convene a marketplace of publishers and merchants. Some of the major affiliate networks include:
Affiliate Marketing 101
- CJ Affiliate
- Rakuten Marketing
- Amazon Associates
- and the list goes on and on…
Going to each affiliate network, setting up an account, reviewing the merchants, and applying to individual affiliate programs (yes, merchants typically have to approve each publisher) is a time consuming process. Luckily at StayFi, we’ve done the hard work for you already.
With all the options out there, it may seem overwhelming to pick which affiliate program(s) to join. One standout program I recommend to every vacation rental management company is the Viator Affiliate Program. Viator is a TripAdvisor company with over 100,000 bookable activities around the globe.
Viator actually has three different programs to generate revenue from tours and activities. All three have different advantages and disadvantages, and it may be beneficial to join more than one. I’ll explain below:
Breaking Down The Viator Affiliate Programs
1. The Viator Affiliate Program
The standard Viator Affiliate Program offered through the Awin Network is the program I recommend for every vacation rental manager.
- Long Cookie Length (30 days) – this means you will get credit for any purchases made within 30 days of opening your link.
- High conversion rate (3.08%) – 3% of link clickers end up making a purchase, a percentage that could be much higher for you, because your guests are more likely to be in the midst of trip planning.
- Low 4% Commission – The commission is lower than the other Viator programs.
The program is exceptional because of the long cookie length. Your focus should be on sending links via any available channel prior to stay or at the beginning of the guests’ stay, so you can get credit for any of their purchases on Viator within 30 days. You can link to city pages or other specific tours you find interesting (see NYC page below) when communicating with your guests.