Think that there’s not much affiliate money to be made by focusing on travel niches?  If so, you may want to reconsider, as many travel niches can turn out to be ‘cash cows’ rather than ‘dogs’.  Case in point: how about dog travel!

In our general research about all things associated with the travel affiliate industry, TravelDividends came across a small factoid that piqued our interest: It is estimated that some 29 million Americans travel with their dogs every year.

This not insignificant statistic led us to do some more research, and we dug-up additional facts and statistics (courtesy of the American Pet Association) which helps to put the ‘dog travel industry niche’ into some perspective:

  • Approximately 45 million U.S. households have at least one dog
  • There are more than 78.5 million companion dogs in the U.S.
  • More than 31 million American dog owners buy Christmas gifts for their dogs
  • More than 16 million of all U.S. dog owners say they are attached to their dogs more than to their best friend, while 8.3 million and 5.4 million say the same about their dog versus their children and spouse respectively

We didn’t stop there, however…further research led us to a couple of websites that focus exclusively on selling travel related products and services for ‘man’s best friend’, and boy, were these companies an eye opener!

First off, we found Dogtravel Company, which describes itself as the “…world’s first Travel Club for Dog Lovers who want to travel with their dogs.” True to its mission, this club membership-driven travel planning site seems to have put together a travel product and service offering for dogs that rivals the best available to ‘two legged’ travelers:

  • For transportation options, members can book themselves and their dogs to travel on airlines (in the main or front cabins, not cargo hold), private jets and charters, cruise ships (though only available in Europe), trains, auto rentals and RVs
  • Reserve accommodations at dog-friendly hotels, resorts, vacation home rentals and B&Bs
  • Custom-designed ‘FITs‘ (customized, dog-friendly vacation packages) to popular tourist destinations and cities in the U.S. and Canada for both pooch and owner
  • Similarly designed group travel itineraries to exotic destinations around the world (minimum 10 people and their dogs)

All of these trip planning services – and more – are available for free from Dogtravel Company in exchange for paying the annual membership fee, which starts at a ‘bare-boned’ $29.99 for one person and his/her dog.  Dogtravel Company offers a travel affiliate program which pays $5.00 for each qualified new subscription.  You can check-out the remaining details of Dogtravel’s travel affiliate program here.

If as a Travel Supplier you have products or services that you think would be attractive to dog owners and their pets, then Fido Friendly Magazine Travel Club might be a point of sale you should consider adding to your sales network.

Unlike Dogtravel Company, Fido Friendly isn’t a travel service; rather membership in this club – which bills itself as “..the Travel and Lifestyle Magazine for You and Your Dog,’‘ provides the consumer with access to lots of information, ideas, and discounts at a bevy of hotels, resorts, restaurants, kennels and bark-parks that cater to dogs and their owners (most of which come replete with a user-generated four ‘paw’ rating system), as well as to a range of other merchants that offer pet-related services and products.  Additionally, the Fido Friendly bi-monthly magazine publishes many topical articles of interest to dog lovers (travel related or otherwise), including travel tips, travel accessories, camping and hiking, dog grooming and fashion guides.  FidoFriendly Magazine is available in both a print and ezine edition (together with a companion radio podcast).

Membership in the Travel Club and a one-year subscription to Fido Friendly Magazine costs $40.00; a two-year membership goes for $50.00.  Subscription to just the magazine costs $19.95 for one year, and $29.95 for two.  Travel Suppliers can join Fido Friendly for free as an ‘affiliate’, though they are required to provide general members with a product discount or free amenity.  For more details on Fido Friendly’s supplier ‘affiliate’ program, click here.

TravelDividends wouldn’t be ‘barking up the wrong tree’ by saying that there is opportunity for both travel affiliates and travel suppliers in the dog travel niche.  In our opinion, how big the opportunity can be is gated only by the travel affiliate’s or travel supplier’s passion, focus and industriousness.  How about you…where do your sentiments fall?  Do you see this niche as a cash cow or a dog…pop us an email! We’d love to hear from you!

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