Although the travel industry is experiencing tough times this year, many people are still traveling for both leisure and business.  Lost in the sea of bad news is the fact that many of those consumers who are still traveling are also shopping for and purchasing luggage and other travel related accessories well before they board the plane, cruise ship or family auto that officially starts their trip.  As a travel affiliate, you can be profiting from these ‘ancillary’ trip purchases by participating in one of the many affiliate programs offered by many of the leading online luggage and travel accessory merchants.

As TravelDividends notes in our overview of the Travel Accessories Affiliate Program overview, this large travel ‘niche’ was experiencing solid growth, and in 2007, it accounted for some $22 billion in sales in the U.S. alone.  However, the industry’s performance changed abruptly in 2008.  The Travel Goods Association (TGA) reported recently that in 2008, the travel goods industry was adversely impacted by some of the same forces that wreaked havoc on the broader travel industry.

Citing the high cost of air travel through much of 2008 combined with consumer uncertainty about their jobs and their savings as credit crises unfolded, TGA said in its recently published State of the U.S. Travel Goods Market 1999-2008 survey that travel goods merchants saw their sales plummet across the board in 2008, with year-over-year U.S. consumer spend declining by a whopping 14.9%, to $19.9 billion.

Interestingly though, the shrunken market was not a result of a huge drop-off in consumer demand for travel goods; rather, according to TGA’s President, Michele Marini Pittenger, it’s attributable largely to consumer demand for lower prices.  “While consumers still wanted to buy handbags, personal leather goods, backpacks and other travel goods for everyday use, economic concerns drove consumers to look for these products at bargain prices,” said Pittenger in a prepared press release that accompanied the release of the State of the U.S. Travel Goods Market 1999-2008 survey, adding that “As a result, even though sales of those products held steady or declined only slightly in 2008, consumers bought those products at significantly lower prices.”

So, by digging a little deeper into the statistics, it’s clear that travel goods (which TGA defines as luggage, backpacks, travel/sports bags, business cases/computer bags, handbags, personal leather goods, and luggage locks) are still in demand by travelers, and that trend should continue regardless of the length of the recession.  Moreover, the pricing pressure placed on travel goods retailers – those selling online as well as ‘bricks and mortar’ merchants – have resulted in netting great deals for travel consumers.

TravelDividends suggests that the same case can be made for travel affiliates…one only need look no further than the travel goods affiliate programs running on Commission Junction, LinkShare, GAN, ShareASale and the other leading affiliate networks.  The increased base commission levels, overrides or discount coupons offered by many of these travel goods merchants in their affiliate programs are very compelling, and in our opinion, it makes good business sense for travel affiliates to be aggressively promoting travel goods programs in tandem with the rest of their travel product portfolio.

We’ve done a quick analysis of some of the key aspects of the affiliate program offerings of several of the leading travel goods merchant, the results of which we’ve encapsulated in the following chart for our readers’ perusal.


Merchant


Base Commission Structure


Bonus Commission


Cookie Duration


EPC


Coupons

eBags 9% -  2%
-  20% (on selected goods in Private Label Line)
45 days - -
Luggage Online

10% - 150 days - Yes (with restrictions)
LuggageGuru

12% - 120 days $60.07 (3 mos) -

LuggagePoint
10% 90 days $41.92 (3 mos) Yes (with restrictions)
TUMI

9%  (<$2,500) 11%  (>$2,500) 45 days $28.00 (3 mos) -
Luggage Pros 11% (<$5,000) 13% ($5k-$10k)

16% (>$10,000)

$27.56 (3 mos) Yes
Magellan’s 10%  can vary - 45 days $35.54 (3 mos) -
TravelSmith 7.2%  can vary - 15 days $43.52 (3 mos) -
Luggage.com 10% - 60 days $41 (7 days) -

For more information about or to sign-up for eBags’ and Luggage Online’s travel affiliate programs, go to LinkShare; for LuggageGuru, TUMI and Luggage Pros, visit Commission Junction; Magellan’s and Travel Smith’s travel affiliate program details can be found at Google Affiliate Network; and information about Luggage.com’s affiliate program is available at their preferred affiliate network, ShareASale.

TravelDividends is keen to hear from our readers on the success (or challenges) they are experiencing with travel goods affiliate programs.  Whether you are a veteran of this very sizeable travel niche or a newbie, we’d like to hear from you.  Drop us an email and let us know how travel goods affiliate programs are performing for you…Thanks!

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