Affiliates focused on promoting travel as a holiday gift face some unique challenges. But they also have a good opportunity to cash in as they ramp up for the holiday season. By focusing on the experience, minimizing buyers perceived hurdles, and offering flexible options, travel affiliates can make the holiday very merry.
Selling travel to an individual using it for themselves is much easier than selling it to someone who is buying it for another person. When buying travel as a gift, potential buyers may have some concerns. It’s likely that most hurdles involve the complex logistics that surround travel due to strict booking requirements and current security regulations.
As a travel affiliate you’ll need to address those challenges head on (locking in specific dates, the cost, choosing the right destination, etc.). This will help assure buyers that the gift of travel will be the ultimate present and not an expensive mistake.
The idea of giving a trip, vacation or even a staycation at a local hotel, as a gift is a good one. Increasingly, people value experiences over material things. Travel is often recalled as an “extraordinary experience” just below life’s major milestones, according to a study on happiness done by researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. More importantly, experiences like trips are far better remembered over time than material gifts and get a rose-colored patina with the retelling of memories, found Cornell University researchers in a 2014 paper aptly titled “We’ll Always Have Paris.”
Using language that assures the buyer they will be providing a memorable experience for the recipient is key. You want the buyer to know they are giving a unique experience. It’s one that may be a dream gift or even one that lets the recipient cross an item off their bucket list. That’s priceless.
Put Flexibility First
The biggest issue with buying travel for someone else is often being locked into specific dates, destinations and other things that once determined cannot be changed or carry a hefty price for the recipient to modify. Travel affiliates can avoid this by offering open ended options. These can include gift cards and vouchers. Most hotels, airlines, cruise lines offer gift cards that will allow recipients to book at their convenience.
Think About Themes
It’s the time of year when gift givers are searching online. Having Holiday Travel Gift Guides can help you get noticed as well as offer great suggestions for potential buyers. Be creative in curating these gift guides. Think Girls Getaways, Dream Vacations. Family Fun, For the Wine Lover, Best Travel for Empty Nesters, Bucket List Trips, Adventure of a Lifetime. You probably already have some of these lists, but putting a gift giving spin on them with seasonal graphics could prove to be a powerful motivator for buyers.
Sell Around Travel
Travel affiliates should also consider promoting gifts that go with travel such as guide books, luggage, travel accessories, etc. Because giving someone a trip or a vacation as a gift most likely involves a gift card and there’s not much for the recipient to unwrap. Having a physical present such a travel guide to the destination or a new carry on bag, can be a great way to have a themed present.
Offer a Variety of Price Points
Travel is an expensive gift, but as an affiliate you can promote a range of items and experiences at different price points. Even if someone can’t afford to send their parents to Barcelona, they could send them to a luxury spa at a swanky local hotel. Or those shoppers who know that someone is going on a trip could contribute to the experience by getting them a gift certificate for a local attraction or day tour. Additionally, if you know someone will be vacationing or travels frequently, you could purchase a membership to a travel service such as Medjet that offers comprehensive medical coverage and transport to a hospital in the event of emergency.
Be a Resource
As an affiliate you naturally want to promote offers that make you money on commissions. However, it’s also important to be viewed as helpful and knowledgeable. You don’t need to monetize everything on your site. Including links to things such as online passport services, Honeyfund (where people can contribute to a couple’s honeymoon fund), or services like Clear (for no-hassle TSA airport security check-ins).
Using Social to Sell Visuals
Using social media platforms that rely heavily on visuals is also a perfect way to promote travel as a gift. Be sure to put all your holiday gift guides on your Pinterest Boards and on your Instagram feed. Images are powerful and a great motivator – especially for purchasing travel.
Naturally, you’ll also want to do all the basic things associated with having your affiliate site in tip-top shape – optimizing landing pages, being mobile ready, readying holiday homepage promotions. Those efforts along with also taking some of the extra steps to aggressively promote travel as gift should make for a successful and lucrative holiday season.