How Local Travel Affiliate Partners Outperform Large Networks

Travel affiliate programs provide a great opportunity to generate income online. In this market, there are many partner programs with different options, so choosing one can be a bit difficult.

When deciding, consider the conversion rate, the tools available, and the quality of the products offered to your visitors. To get an affiliate link from a profitable program, you can refer to many affiliate networks that offer a wide range of tools, the highest conversion rate, and a detailed database.

However, a webmaster can gain additional benefits by working with local players such as transfer and taxi services, local tour guides, currency exchange offices, etc. To help you out, we’ve put together some information on the pros and cons of local services versus the big players.

Why choose local programs over big brands?

One of the main advantages of working with local brands is the personal approach. You can get to know the owners and their guides, and thus receive news and offers more quickly. Additionally, smaller brands typically have an active blogging team of three to five people. So, they value each of them more, compared to the big affiliate programs, which treat thousands of people at once.

Local services are also more concerned with providing high quality products and choosing the right guide. Usually all guides are thoroughly tested before their names are put on the platform. So when you recommend them with your affiliate links, you can be much more confident that the customer will be happy with the local professional guide, who knows all the top locations. Remember that poor quality products will not earn you income even if the winning rate is high. Simply put, local websites offer more interesting and unique routes, great locations, and travel experiences that help expand the geography. If there is something new, the tourist will be the first to know.

Another advantage of local affiliate programs is that they are subject to strict moderation and the quality of the suppliers is higher. Unqualified and medium guides are usually quickly deleted from the website database. Speaking of local guides, you might know the main ones personally and ask their advice on new partners you haven’t worked with yet. In most cases, you can trust their honest reviews and pick the right ones to collaborate with. They can advise you on who has the best historical knowledge and interesting tours for your audience. On the other hand, many big international brands, in order to reduce costs, cooperate with average local guides and agencies. It can damage the image of your website and undermine the trust of your audience.

Locals usually react more quickly to market changes and immediately notify their affiliate partners if a tourist spot is closed for repairs or if prices change depending on the season.

From experience, large travel agencies are constantly changing their interface and will even close specific partner programs (as Airbnb has done). This means that you may need to rewrite instructions or make significant changes to your website. Of course, a local website can shut down as well, but I haven’t come across it yet.

In general, working with local brands is less competitive. That being said, the big players are partnering with many bloggers and have already gained their reputation with tourists from different countries. However, people are less familiar with local businesses.

Ultimately, it comes down to good content, helpful advice, and better sales if the approach is right.

Disadvantages of local services

However, it is clear that not all local website offerings are relevant enough. Some even have it all wrong: appalling quality, deception and inadequate prices. So, it’s nice to work with local agencies, but it takes time and money to find great ones. In addition, you must verify them all personally. Big brands have at least one reputation and affiliates can start working with them quickly.

There are hundreds of local tourist agencies to choose from in any country. If your goal is to find a profitable option, you should sort through them until you find the ones that meet three criteria: high quality, ability to provide great service to a large audience, and availability of the partner program.

First, as an affiliate, you should always think ahead and build a game for the long haul. Many of the articles that were written five to seven years ago could still earn you income. It is your responsibility to provide your audience with quality recommendations. On the other hand, if a company cheats on tourists, sooner or later it will cheat bloggers too.

Second, an affiliate program must be able to cope with a large influx of tourists and provide good service. For example, the majority of local guides have their own websites. And each country has customer-oriented car rentals, with only five to ten cars available. Therefore, recommending these rentals is completely unnecessary if you have good traffic – in a week or so your guide will be planning the coming summer and people will not be able to book a car. There is therefore no advantage in recommending these programs.

And finally, choose the travel affiliate partner with favorable conditions of participation and clear requirements for its participants. Of course, it’s possible to get your income based on articles, but my experience says CPA is more profitable, albeit risky.

If not, why are local businesses more advantageous?

Local business websites are not very convenient for customers, and their payment options are limited. The result is therefore simple: the conversion will be worse. On the other hand, they don’t steal traffic with pop-ups, promo codes, cash backs, and other “profitable” offers in order to beat your marker. Working with small businesses is more complicated when it comes to getting money legally. Your commission should always be carefully checked. There can be a lot of mistakes, technical clumsiness and misunderstandings. Also, when you work with ten different companies, communication takes a long time. An invoice from an international brand is easier to manage than a small amount from many local partnerships.

The majority of local businesses rely on a single founder. This means that if the founder ends up losing interest in the project, the chances of him selling the business are higher. In this case, all your attempts to refine the content are in vain. When working with a local brand, it’s almost impossible to switch ties with another agency. Content is key, and you need to change it significantly.

Your dealings with most of the local travel agencies will be based purely on trust because it is not a big deal. Even if you form your relationships according to the law, they could quickly change legal entities and steal your commissions. There are a lot of shady individuals and day-long businesses in tourism.

Normally, large companies offer the same quality of service in all markets. So, after taking the Tripster tours in Prague or Austria, you can be relatively sure that similar offers in Poland will also be good. This experience allows an affiliate to write deeply better and to the point. Each local travel site has its own peculiarities. So you need to test them first and explore the tours on your own. Local brands also don’t have a reputation among the masses, and people generally don’t trust them. So you need to convince your audience with your own experience, authority, photos, and life stories.

In addition, there may be cultural differences. If a local business was organized by locals and not your compatriots, you need to delve into the local peculiarities. Big brands have standardized and polished these processes. Of course, online translators can help, but you have to be prepared to lose local nuances and tones. To sum up, you could have many benefits for your online business while also multiplying your profits in 2021 by working directly with local travel partners. Make sure you are using high quality, reliable products to justify the public’s trust. National and regional tourism is one of the main trends in the post-coronavirus travel world. For this reason, focusing on working with local partners and promoting national travel could be a great move for webmasters right now.

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