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March 22nd, 2010, 05:29 PM #1What would YOU like to see in a Hotels Affiliate Program?
Because of "this thread" and "this thread" it is no secret that Jill and I are in the formative stages of developing a Hotels Affiliate Program.
This month marks the 10th Anniversary of my first affiliate sale of a hotel reservation. I have worked with most of the major consolidators and several of the chains over the years; and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. When Jill and I launch the hotels program we want it to be as affiliate-friendly as possible.
I realize one of the big drawbacks of hotels programs is the long period of time before commissions are paid. The sale is not "completed" until the customer completes their stay and the hotel pays the commission to the provider. During that time nearly 30% of bookings are not commissioned - either because of cancellations, no-shows, or non-payment by the hotel.
We are thinking about a model that credits the commission at the time of sale. A flat fee per booking - no waiting - and no cancellation worries. Commissions would then be paid during the next normal network payment cycle. (That may not be the best way for "every" affiliate - so we have some "twists" in mind with a bonus program on top of the flat fee - if we can develop a reliable and EASY means to track it.)
Please post some ideas - of things you would like to see. Or even a compensation plan/program that you might like. Any feelings about a network? or an indy program? or choice of either? comments?
We will certainly appreciate any feedback and/or ideas about what you would like to see in such a program. If you are not promoting hotels - what might entice you to give it a try?
Thank you for your time. Your input, should you choose to share, will be appreciated.
March 22nd, 2010, 06:14 PM #2
A rewards program, maybe.
Like I earn points for referrals aside from the commission and can use the points when I go on vacation as well as trade them in for cash if I can not use them. And no expiration.
March 23rd, 2010, 04:58 AM #3
As one who has a site that targets a specific area, a creative such as a configurable search box that I can plug in the specific town or zip code within the search box code that allows the visitor to search hotel deals just for that specific area or zip code. Not like ones where the visitor has to go through a ton of "city" "state" "zip code" options.
As far as compensation, I prefer the flat rate with "twist". A good bonus program that would reward affiliates on some criteria such as "room night" totals.
Would love for it to be brandable, to be able to give it my special little touch.Joey
Myrtle Beach SC
March 23rd, 2010, 07:23 AM #4
A robust datafeed and/or API would be very helpful, so that affiliates can quickly and easily identify hotels that meet specific (and perhaps obscure) criteria, such as how many people are allowed in the room, parking and other charges, what types of pets are allowed, what amenities are provided, prices for specific nights, special promotions, etc.
March 23rd, 2010, 10:24 AM #5
I was looking at a post in the Connecticut Affiliate Tax sub-forum and was reminded of a "plus" to hotels programs. Because of the "nature of the beast" taxes have always been collected and remitted by hotel consolidators for ALL states. Therefore there is no danger of having affiliates dropped or expired because of the surge in individual states' tax-raising initiatives.
March 23rd, 2010, 12:27 PM #6
the word "easy" has been used a lot - yes EASY is GOOD
easy deep linking and access to prices, images and data by property if available
useful and quick widget / mini-store with options of location and/or specific properties to display
maybe even your own wordpress plugin ?? (that might make it easy)
a useful affiliate manager and newsletter with truly helpful information
a FAQ with the questions you really get asked the most (and complete answers)
This could be really cool Bill. Good luck!
March 23rd, 2010, 02:23 PM #7
Thanks for contributing, s/C. I'm going to digest the comments posted thus far and respond a bit later on. It is good to see some discussion.
We'll likely have to begin "small" - to catch some of the summer travel traffic - but have enough flexibility to add more features as the year progresses. I'll be meeting with some network folks next week to see what kind of flexibility they can help us provide.
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