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Travelpayouts: from affiliate program to behemoth company

Travelpayouts: from affiliate program to behemoth company

Each company has a unique story behind it. Travelpayouts, the largest travel industry affiliate marketing platform in the world, is no exception. With travel picking back up, and people looking for new sources of income, it is time to look back at the company’s path from humble beginnings to impressive heights.

Here is how it all started
Back in 2011, several major players dominated the travel industry. At that time, in Russia, one of the biggest markets for outbound tourism, Aviasales, a platform for finding the cheapest flight tickets worldwide, was rising in fame.

At first, Konstantin Kalinov founded it essentially as his travel blog. However, he quickly took the idea to the next level by integrating carefully tailored search algorithms for analyzing hundreds of sites in order to find the cheapest flights.

The first ticket booked on Aviasales was a flight from Moscow to Paris. From there, the platform started to attract audiences from all over the world.

In 2011, the company launched a partner affiliate marketing program where blog owners could earn money when someone booked flights or hotels through links there. This way, every time someone booked a ticket or a hotel, website owners earned money.

The idea worked. Already at the inception phase, the affiliate partner program generated 25% of all the bookings on the market, becoming a separate channel of tickets and hotel sales. It also paid out $800,000 to its partners, with some of them receiving as much as $22,000 a month.

This approach turned out to be ground-breaking. It quickly became apparent that the niche offers plenty of opportunities. Brands are happy because they get new clients, travel bloggers can monetize their content and focus on quality writing, and travelers get what they want after they click on something that excites them.

This is how the first affiliate network entirely for traveling, Travelpayouts, was born. Despite being Aviasales’s affiliate marketing arm for several years, it received its official name in 2013, with only one person employed at that time. Within several months, it onboarded enough media buyers, domainers, and travel bloggers to function properly. Just a year later the company created its first white-label, API, and a big collection of widgets for LiveJournal, one of the largest blog platforms of all times.

Thinking outside-the-Aviasales-box
A success of this scale prompted Travelpayouts to think outside-the-Aviasales-box. Even though its mother company launched several other products for the international market, such as Jetradar and hotel search engine Hotellook, Travelpayouts was already on its way to becoming more than just Aviasales’ affiliate program.

Particularly, it partnered with prominent figures, including the world-famous Russian designer Artemy Lebedev, the creator of the Optimus Maximus keyboard, and an avid traveler. Almost every travel report he made had an embedded, Travelpayouts-powered search engine link—a simple, yet intricate to develop trick. To date, Lebedev’s blog still generates sales, which once again proves that product placement is not the only way to monetize your media.

In 2014, Travelpayouts made a critical move to strengthen its business model, opening up to external advertisers. It was no longer seen as Aviasales’s partner program. Instead, it became a full-fledged tickets and hotels network, working with big travel industry names like EconomyBookings and KiwiTaxi,—all of which were quick to join the growing network.

As the company progressed, so did the number of services and customers available on it. In 2015, airports, both those based in Russia and the U.S., joined the platform. The watershed moment took place when large companies, such as Tele2, HomeCredit Bank, and others, realized that it is lucrative for them to partner with Travelpayouts. Tele2 and Home Credit, for example, offered its clients the ability to search for tickets and receive bonuses within their loyalty program.

By 2018, Travelpayouts had already started to offer a range of services, including car rental, cruises, parking services, and legal help.

This approach helped companies earn impressive commission that was instantaneously shared with others. For example, in 2017, Travelpayouts paid out its most stupendous single payout to date: $70,000. The platform was considered the most successful and reliable affiliate marketing platform on the market. Even in times of pandemic, the company made sure that its partners received the money on time.

Why Travelpayouts made it
Today, the behemoth company is headquartered in Phuket; its CEO Ivan Baidin is among the most influential figures in the travel industry. The company is home to 70 employees and 300,000 affiliates. To date, it has paid out over $28 million to its partner network, offering more than 90 travel affiliate programs worldwide.

Ultimately, there are two factors that allowed Travelpayouts to become more than Aviasales’s sub-brand and truly global.

One of them is the concept of remunerating its partners, which is central to Travelpayouts’s vision and creating the model where all three parties - brands, blog owners and readers - win. The company’s success would be impossible if it were not for consistent, timely pays made to its webmasters. This commitment—alongside built-in, advanced technology—empowered Travelpayouts to grow into the world’s largest CPA network, focused on travel traffic.

Second, Travelpayouts cares about small business owners. The platform provides an opportunity for all young entrepreneurs, mostly so-called solopreneurs,  to make money. Jaseel Seethintakath, the India-based founder of FareFirst, is among the prime examples. Back in college, Jaseel used Travelpayouts to make a side income. In less than a year, he managed to earn $7,000 a month. Like many others, he used affiliate links to resell travel products.

The other driver of success is the company’s human-centered approach and good vibes. Travelpayouts is self-ironic at heart, and is not afraid of showing it. Each year the company participates in the largest Affiliate Summit West CPA-marketing in Las Vegas with a stand that has a bear and all other Russia-associated stereotypes, such as caviar, vodka, and balalaika. After all, the company is proud of its roots and does its best to show it, striking a chord with its multi-national audience.

With economies opening up, Travelpayouts is ready to achieve new heights, providing others with opportunities to earn income while enjoying travel to the max. Join the party and make the most out of traveling and beyond.