How to Improve and Monetize Your Travel Blog: 7 Tips from Successful Bloggers

Erin Holmes, Alan Cuthbertson, Nathan Sado and Sarah Hughes are four travel bloggers we met at the TBEX Asia 2022 conference. All have experienced the grueling journey of travel blogging: from managing time and money to dealing with unexpected hiccups in their daily lives.

We discussed their monetization strategies and the challenges they face. Also, the bloggers shared tips on how to work with affiliate marketing.

Erin Holmes: Consider Blogging as a Way to Earn Extra Income

Erin Holmes, owner and author of Discover with Erin

About the Travel Project

Erin Holmes has been writing about family travels for 10 years. On the Discover with Erin blog, readers can find Erin’s experiences in various destinations and tips for traveling moms with children. Her blog has an average of more than 2,000 unique visitors per month.

Erin also manages an Instagram page, Facebook group and Pinterest board with 17K, 7K and 500+ followers respectively.

Biggest Blogging Challenge

Until 2017, Erin had a blog named after her. Travel with Bender with 180,000 monthly readers. He also had related pages on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, reaching more than 200,000 monthly users. But her blog was hacked and Erin lost her main source of income.

Despite this crazy and heartbreaking situation, Erin found the strength to start blogging again. Explore with Erin blog. Now, he sees SEO as his biggest challenge:

“I find this very boring. I am a storyteller. I just want to write my beautiful words on paper. Then I have to go back and figure out how to get other people to read it. This is a little annoying.”

Remember that SEO is one of the hidden components behind the success of any website. Do you want to learn SEO without getting bored or improve your skills? Join our free “Increase Travel Partner Revenue Using SEO” course with industry expert Sharon Gourlay.

Monetization Strategy

Erin monetizes her blog through contextual advertising and affiliate marketing. She also inquired about agencies that have found micro-influencers (bloggers who don’t have a lot of followers).

Monetization strategy for the Discover with Erin blog
Contextual ads on the Booking.com widget and the Discover with Erin blog

In Erin’s case, the most profitable partner programs are Booking.com and Agoda:

“When on vacation, everyone always needs a place to stay. So, I would definitely start with these two [partner programs] and then move on to brands you can use yourself and you can develop a personal relationship.

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Three Tips for Travel Blogging Beginners from Erin

  1. Set up monetization from the very beginning. Even if you never plan to leave your day job, your blog can be an additional source of income. So you can travel more.
  2. diversify. You should not enter directly into an affiliate program. If you do this and your chosen brand drops, you’re left with nothing.
  3. Find partner programs that are right for you. It’s really a great idea to try all the partner programs to check which one is working for you right now. For Erin, Booking.com is probably the best. However, your optimal choice depends on the region you are targeting. According to Erin, Agoda is great for Southeast Asia, Booking.com is great for the US and Australia is using something completely different.

Join Moyens I/O to test out partner programs from different travel brands. You can work simultaneously with brands from accommodation, travel, insurance and many other categories (Booking.com, GetYourGuide, Insubuy etc.) on the platform.

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Nathan Sado and Sarah Hughes: Learn to Adapt to Industry Changes

Nathan Sado and Sarah Hughes, Live Dream Discover
Nathan Sado and Sarah Hughes, creators of Live Dream Discover, All About Glamping, Discover the Pacific Northwest and Fit Living Lifestyle

About Travel Projects

About 10 years ago, Nathan Sado and Sara Hughes created the Live Dream Discover blog. Since then, they have created several websites. For example, their latest niche project is All About Glamping, a blog about glamping around the world. Now, the sites in question together attract an average of more than 12,000 users per month.

Additionally, the blog duo has pages on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for every website. In total, more than 130,000 people follow Nathan and Sarah on social media.

Biggest Blogging Challenge

The most challenging aspect of blogging for Nathan and Sara is keeping up with how the business world has changed over the years.

Nathan:

“Especially the competition. More and more people have entered the travel blogging industry in the last 10 years. It’s getting harder and harder to compete. So, we just roll with the punches.

Sarah:

“Keeping up with all the changes, algorithms, SEO and all the new stuff. It has changed a lot in 10 years. Day and night.”

Monetization Strategy

Nathan and Sarah use affiliate marketing and contextual advertising to monetize their blogs. Most of the member revenue generated by Nathan and Sarah’s sites comes from lodging partner programs (like VRBO) followed by excursion programs. Bloggers work with partner programs directly and through affiliate networks.

Sarah:

“I can’t say I have a choice. Working directly has great benefits, but building that relationship is much more difficult. So, meshes are great because you can combine them. [partner programs]”

Two Tips for Travel Blogging Beginners from Nathan and Sarah

  1. Invest in your business immediately or as soon as possible. This will help you strengthen your business early. Be sure to learn and network with other people in the industry. There are lots of people who can give you helpful tips, so you don’t have to learn everything on your own.
  2. Find a niche and focus on something more specific rather than trying to compete in the huge arena of general travel blogs. It’s really hard to compete in the wider market these days.

Alan Cuthbertson: Don’t Let Your Traffic Limit You

Alan Cuthbertson, Frequent Traveler
Alan Cuthbertson, creator of Frequent Traveler

About the Travel Project

Alan and his wife, Rosalind, have visited more than 50 countries and know exactly how to make trips enjoyable and memorable. They created the Frequent Traveler blog to share their experiences through articles and travel guides and to encourage people to travel.

On average, more than 3,000 users visit their site each month, and over 22,000 users follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Biggest Blogging Challenge

According to Alan, building an audience of loyal readers on your blog takes a lot of time and effort.

“We spend a lot of time compiling our work, and it always seems like we’re running out of time. It’s also the time it takes to do social media, social media.”

Monetization Strategy

Alan and Rosalind put a lot of emphasis on SEO and building relationships with brands while working on their blog. They add affiliate links to their content and place ad blocks on the right side of their site.

Frequent Traveler blog monetization strategy
Affiliate link and contextual advertisement on Frequent Traveler blog

According to Alan, most of the affiliate revenue comes from frequent traveler blog comes from hotels and luggage partner programs. Alan prefers to work through affiliate networks rather than working directly with brands because these platforms cover many affiliate program categories, which makes his job easier.

Through the Moyens I/O partnership platform, you can work with partner programs in all categories, from accommodation and flights to insurance and cruises. Choose the perfect one for you from our Brand Guide.

Two Tips from Alan for Travel Blogging Beginners

  1. Learn a lot. One of Alan and Rosalind’s biggest mistakes was that they started without the basics necessary to create a successful blog. Bloggers got them a year or two later. That’s why Alan’s advice to anyone just starting out is to take some paid online courses and start from a good foundation.
  2. Start making money earlier. Alan and Rosalind waited until their traffic increased a bit. But if they started blogging now, they would start making money right away.

Travel bloggers can achieve success and achieve their goals with proper strategies such as monetization tactics and affiliate marketing partnerships. Follow the advice of seasoned travel bloggers and take a close look at your monetization strategy, the list of affiliate programs, and the way you work with brands. You may want to join Moyens I/O to gain access to over 100 travel brands like Booking.com, GetYourGuide, Tripadvisor and more.

Join the Moyens I/O Affiliate Platform

Access exclusive vehicles and the best travel affiliate programs in one place, including flights, hotels, car rentals, insurance, tours and events.

join today

350,000 partners already trust us
100+ travel brands
$40 million total paid since 2011 +

Starting a blog can be difficult. We want to help you every step of the way. Please share your struggles in the comments section below and we will try to help you overcome any challenges you may encounter. With the right support and guidance, you can be successful in your blogging journey!

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