• 18 per cent of online travel sales are driven through affiliate marketing
• Affiliate marketing delivers good volume for 84 per cent of travel brands
• 56 per cent of travel marketers find affiliate marketing ‘very cost effective’

The travel industry is making the most successful use of affiliate marketing according to research out today from E-consultancy. Sponsored by buy.at, the UK’s largest independent affiliate network, the survey into how brands (merchants) use affiliate marketing found that travel marketers spend an average of 16 per cent of their online budget in the channel to drive 18 per cent of their online sales.

The survey also reveals that 84 per cent of marketers in the travel sector say that affiliate marketing drives a high or medium volume and 56 per cent report it is very cost effective for customer acquisition compared with 35 per cent saying paid search is very cost-effective and just 8 per cent for display advertising. None of the travel brands surveyed consider affiliate marketing to be not ‘cost-effective’ but over half thought online display advertising is not cost-effective and over two thirds think mobile advertising is not cost-effective.

This follows the news that 71 per cent of travel companies have increased their spend on affiliate marketing over the past two years and around a quarter of travel firms, have at least doubled their investment in the channel. 63 per cent intend to increase their spend in the channel over the next two years.

Kevin Cornils, CEO of buy.at comments, ‘Affiliate marketing is particularly effective for the travel sector because of the diversity of publishers, ranging from those who create targeted and relevant content for a campaign, integrating sophisticated tools such as ‘travel wizards’, to those that harvest the long tail through niche sites and blogs. Successful aggregators such as Expedia and Lastminute have made excellent use of this channel.’

Duncan Barraclough from LateRooms.com adds, ‘Travel has always been a leading industry within affiliate marketing. Reflecting on strong growth over a two year period, LateRooms has certainly upped the affiliate investment in terms of time, resource and service delivery. Our affiliate programme’s ROI means it is a sustainable and successful marketing channel. We see continued investment, development and success for both us and our affiliate partners as we take this forward.’

Linus Gregoriadis, Head of Research at E-consultancy comments, ‘The affiliate channel is viewed as particularly cost effective by advertisers in the travel sector which is a real stronghold for affiliate marketing. Advertisers recognise that there are many excellent affiliate publishers out there specialising in travel who can deliver high quality traffic and incremental sales.”

The survey found that the majority of travel companies prefer to manage their affiliate marketing directly with a network and three quarters work with just one or two affiliate networks. Barriers to further growth in this sector include restricted budgets which are considered a ‘major’ or ‘minor’ barrier by more than half the sample. 68 per cent also see ‘lack of internal resource’ as a barrier compared with 61 per cent of respondents who work in financial services. More than half the travel marketers surveyed also see difficulty in attracting affiliates as a barrier and a third consider problems with tracking as a barrier.

Full details of the Affiliate Marketing Merchants Survey report are available from www.buy.at or to E-consultancy subscribers, or on a pay-per-view basis, at:
http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/affiliate-marketing-merchants-report-2007/

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Research methodology
In September 2007, E-consultancy analysed over 700 responses to its research request, which was emailed to its database. Of these 239 were UK merchants, i.e. “working in the UK for a company which sells online through the affiliate channel”.
About E-consultancy
E-consultancy is an online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports, research and how-to guides. E-consultancy, named Publisher of the Year at the 2006 AOP Awards, also publishes buyer’s guides and has a directory of 100,000+ third party internet marketing white papers.

Subscribers pay from £149 per year to access the exclusive and highly practical content. E-consultancy has more than 100 events lined up for 2007, including roundtables and monthly Supplier Showcases, where six suppliers pitch to an audience of pre-qualified buyers at a Central London venue.

E-consultancy has 58,000 registered users and more than 145,000 unique user sessions per month (audited by ABC Electronic). It is popular among internet professionals because of its time-saving advice and insight. The company also provides a range of public and in-house training programs, such as seminars and workshops.

If you would like to know more about our training options then please visit our website or contact Craig Hanna on +44 207 681 4078 or email him at Craig@e-consultancy.com.

http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/

About buy.at
Established in 2002, buy.at is the UK’s largest independent affiliate marketing network. buy.at drives online sales growth for 200 of the biggest brands across all sectors through its leading network of 6,000 good quality affiliates, supported by industry leading commercial and technical innovations. A pioneer of the open network, buy.at encourages merchants (advertisers) and affiliates (publishers) to communicate directly, to ensure the success of affiliate programmes. Clients include AA, Butlins, Carphone Warehouse, Capital One, Egg, John Lewis, M&S, Powergen, T-Mobile and Virgin Media.

buy.at has experienced 250% growth in turnover year-on-year since 2004. In March 2006, buy.at secured its future growth following a £7.3 million investment from Esprit Capital Partners. Bruce McLaren, renowned for leading Advertising.com as International CEO to a successful sale to AOL Time Warner, was appointed Chairman. Former match.com MD Kevin Cornils was recruited as CEO.

www.buy.at
About LateRooms
LateRooms is the UK’s leading online accommodation site offering late availability deals in over 14,000 properties worldwide, ranging from Bed and Breakfasts to five star luxury hotels. LateRooms offers customers a saving of up to 70 per cent off the normal room rate for a variety of independent and branded hotels. Customers can book by phone or online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. LateRooms specialises in last minute bookings but guests can book up to six months in advance.

www.LateRooms.com

For further information please contact:
Joanna Burton
Head of PR and Marketing
buy.at
T: 020 7299 8380
E: Joanna.Burton@buy.at

Anna Barry
Marketing Manager
buy.at
T: 0191 222 9720
E: Anna.Barry@buy.at

Linus Gregoriadis
Head of Research
E-consultancy
T: 020 7681 4051
E: Linus@e-consultancy

Published on: 12:00AM on 20th October 2007