How to use social media to drive travel affiliate revenue

Learn how affiliate marketers can use social media to drive commissions
and revenue through inspirational and informational travel content.

The digital-first era has reinvented the customer experience across multiple industries, including travel. Travellers now have access to endless content and travel inspiration on social media. Whether it’s a holiday recap on TikTok or photos on their Instagram feed, where a traveller decides to go can be inspired by what they see on their social channels.


Our Path to Purchase report—which explores travellers’ online journey in the 45 days leading up to a booking—found that 80% of travellers use online travel agencies (OTA), 61% use search engines and 58% rely on social media.* So, how can affiliate marketers and influencers make the most of their online presence?


Let’s look at how travellers use social media throughout their path to purchase and how you can connect with them where it matters most as an affiliate marketer.    

Driving inspiration when travellers first start thinking about a trip

A traveller’s average path to purchase is more than two months long—meaning you have a significant amount of time to influence their booking decisions.


In the first stage of considering travel, nearly 3 in 5 people do not have a specific destination in mind or are looking at multiple destinations. As travellers look for trip inspiration, social media (77%) is the leading online resource, ahead of online travel blogs and review sites, destination websites and even search engines. But how do travellers use social media for inspiration?

How travellers use social media for inspiration:
  • Destination inspiration: 65%
  • Look for lodging recommendations: 49%
  • View travel content from friends and family: 41%
  • View travel content from influencers or celebrities: 40%
  • Look for trip deals: 27%
  • Use links or codes from influencers: 18%
What this means for affiliate marketers

Travellers are turning to social media for ideas for their next trip, making it a must-have component in your affiliate marketing strategy. You can use social channels to showcase destinations, experiences and promotions with imagery and content that inspires travellers to engage with your page.


For example, let’s say you create travel guides to help travellers plan trips within a certain budget. Your personal affiliate links are woven throughout the guides to encourage travellers to further explore your links and other relevant content. You could share these guides in a series of social media posts that highlight key recommendations and drive travellers to explore the full guide and your content across social channels.

A woman in Rome wearing a hat and talking to her phone.
Inspire destination decisions with compelling social media content.

Supporting travellers as they browse and narrow trip options

The next step people take when planning a trip is to start actively looking at their options, gathering information and narrowing their choices. During this stage, 40% of travellers use social media and 33% use OTAs to narrow down and compare options. While social remains a prominent resource, planning a trip with social media differs from how it’s used during the inspiration phase.

How travellers use social media for planning:
  1. Look for lodging recommendations: 60%
  2. Use links or codes from influencers: 55%
  3. Look for trip deals: 53%
What this means for affiliate marketers

During this stage, consider diversifying your social content topic and format to reach different types of travellers, and organically weave in current offers or discounts to drive engagement. To appeal to a broad group of travellers, you can create a video series across Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, and cater to different interests.


Remember to include links and promo codes to drive commissions from travellers who book tours, accommodations and more through your content. Publish your content across multiple social channels to reach a broader audience, and amplify reach by promoting the video series through other channels, such as your blog or newsletter. 

Appeal to foodies

Engage foodie travellers by highlighting culinary hotspots and food-centric activities.

Engage history buffs

Entice culture and history enthusiasts with content on historic sites or ancient ruins, walking tours and top museums.

Excite active travellers

Attract outdoor enthusiasts and activity-based travellers with content on top hikes, kayaking, camping or other outdoor activities.

Considering final travel options before booking

While social media use begins to drop once travellers narrow their travel options, some are still using social media in the booking process to look for trip deals (40%), view travel content from influencers or celebrities (30%), and use links and codes from influencer recommendations (29%). 


Before booking, travellers also use this time to consider where and how to book their trip.


of travellers said that getting the best price is an important factor when deciding where and how to book their trip.


of travellers look for travel brands that offer flexible cancellation policies or refundable rates when deciding where and how to book their trip.

What this means for affiliate marketers

It’s important to continue connecting with travellers on social media as they get closer to booking. Providing links and recommendations about what they can do during their trip can help travellers make their final decision about a destination, lodging or activities.


As an affiliate, you can give in-depth recommendations for how to select the best hotel or how to choose an activity based on specific interests or priorities, such as family-friendly travel or flexible cancellation policies. This could include spotlighting accommodation options with family-friendly amenities and booking policies—and integrating affiliate links to make it easier for travellers to book from your content.


While travellers are using a variety of resources to find, plan and book trips, social media is used throughout the traveller journey and is a strategic channel that can help boost your content’s visibility and engagement.


For more insights on a traveller’s path to purchase download the full report, and access additional resources by applying to our affiliate programme.

Research & insights

Get the latest insights

Download the Path to Purchase report for more actionable insights on how affiliate marketers can reach and engage travellers.

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