Although it may sound too good to be true, travel sites can be very profitable with the right revenue streams put in place. Not only do people want to find great hacks for traveling, but they are also looking for good deals and discounts when it comes to booking flights and tours.

So how do travel sites make money?

A successful travel site makes money by covering all of its bases, making its readers feel informed while also being privy to the best tips for saving money and getting to the destinations they most want to visit.

Read on to find the different revenue sources available to a travel site.

How Do Travel Sites Make Money?

Here are 5 ways in which travel sites generate revenue:

  1. Affiliate Marketing
  2. Contextual Advertising
  3. Selling Products
  4. Custom Ads
  5. Sponsored Posts

Let’s look at each of these revenue sources for a travel site.

#1. Affiliate Marketing

A successful travel site will include affiliate marketing or, recommendations of other products and services, on their site. In order to make money from affiliate marketing, a link to the product or service, like a hotel, rental car company, or tour company, is included in a post.

Customers can click on the link, and If they purchase from that service, the travel site earns a commission from the sale for recommending it. It’s really that simple!

#2. Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is used to make money for travel sites by displaying ads that are relevant to the topics of the site. Advertising can also be specific to the person visiting the site, using a program that provides information about visitors from online cookies.

These programs will take a percentage of the revenue generated by the number of customers who click on the advertisement. Depending on how many people are visiting the site, this could mean substantial revenue for a high-traffic travel site.

#3. Selling Products

If a travel site sells its own products, such as eBooks, travel guides, or tours, that is a direct revenue stream to the website.

Aside from the fees involved in creating the product, there is no middleman that takes a percentage, and the commission belongs completely to the site.

Of course, the work to create an eBook is much less than something like hosting travel tours, so the website must ensure that the benefit outweighs the risk and is capable of being lucrative. 

Travel sites could also sell tourist products from other companies like travel agencies. This way tourists who go to travel agencies can get the same deal from a travel site.

#4. Custom Ads

Similar to contextual advertising, but without the middleman, custom ads create a revenue source for travel sites.

Instead of a program generating advertisements relevant to the visitors on the travel site, custom ads are created by companies requesting to be featured on a travel site, or the site asking the company if they would like to be featured.

Custom ads are ideal because they can be more specific to the topic of the travel site and the profits can be twice as much as when using a third party to generate the advertising.

#5. Sponsored Posts

A benefit of using custom ads is that a travel site can feature them in sponsored posts. A sponsored post is when a company or service pays the travel site to write about them.

The sponsored post comes from a personal voice from a writer for the travel site and benefits both the company/product and the travel site.

This kind of marketing resonates with readers because they are getting a review from someone they trust and are loyal to, instead of a company that they feel may just be trying to sell to them.


So how do travel sites make money? In this article, we looked at 5 income sources available to travel sites.

These include affiliate marketing, contextual advertising, selling products, custom ads, and sponsored posts.

The best-performing travel sites deploy a combination of these income sources to enjoy healthy revenues and excellent profitability.