Creativity has always been a hallmark of both the online travel agency (OTA) sector and the travel affiliate marketing channel.  Case in point: look no further than Expedia Affiliate Network and One Travel Partner Network, as each is ‘banking’ (literally and figuratively) on affiliate marketers to grow their private label businesses.

Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) announced another in a long line of hotel reservation partnerships, this time with, a social networking website for finance professionals from all over the world.  Expedia’s hotel products will be made available to the social networking portal’s members through a private label agreement.

Emiliano Caradonna, the Monaco-based banker and the founder of Bankers Avenue characterizes his site as being structured in the same fashion as more well-known social networking sites, and said that its intended to be “…a one-stop-shop for all information related to the financial industry.”

Membership is free to any professional in the finance industry, and once accepted to the network, numerous features and functionality are made available for their personal use.  For example, Caradonna notes that members are given their own homepages “…from which they can write about themselves and also blog on points of potential interest to other members.”  Other features include a jobs board where members can post employment opportunities, and a forum where they can discuss new developments and products.    However, as Caradonna admits, the deal with EAN takes this social network to a higher level.

“We have been gathering feedback from our members regarding their preferences and suggestions for the site and specifically asked them which feature they’d like to see added to the portal,” said Caradonna, adding that “More than 80% wanted something that would save them sufficient money in the tough economic times; a good proportion also wanted a feature that could help reduce their travelling expenditure, so the partnership with Expedia was the ideal fit, giving our members a fast and efficient way to make hotel bookings.”

Bankers Avenue currently numbers more than 1,500 members; these members represent over 600 financial companies of all sizes.  Expedia offers more than 100,000 lodging properties, ranging from one- to five-star hotels, B&Bs, self-catering properties and villas. EAN works with more than 10,000 private label partners across the globe.

In TravelDividends‘ opinion, the Expedia – Bankers Avenue partnership is a great example of ‘out of the box’ thinking, and is a terrific example of how other affiliate marketers who have yet to work with travel suppliers could craft other novel business relationships with companies in the travel industry.

Another great example of breakthrough thinking comes from the folks at OneTravel, one of the fastest growing OTAs. The Company’s affiliate division, OneTravel Partner Network, recently announced the launch of TravelSpot US, a new scalable private-label travel platform for its Affiliate Partners.  Developed with Fareportal in cooperation with OneTravel, TravelSpot’s tailored Private Label Solution (PLS) will enable the OTA’s Affiliate Partners to offer their customers a wide range of travel products online, both for leisure and business travel including flights, hotels, cars, activities and insurance.

In describing the free set-up, easy implementation, real time reporting, competitive commission and payouts, and 24/7 customer support service that underpins TravelSpot US, Werner Kunz, CSO of OneTravel added that “This unique technology also allows any website to create a private labeled travel booking site within a few minutes.”

Moreover, Kunz noted that “…unlike most competitors, TravelSpot PLS will payout upon booking as opposed to payout upon consumption.”  Indeed, OneTravel is regarded by many travel affiliates as having one of the most attractive travel commission programs from among the OTAs, and with respect to their pay-out at time of booking policy, in our opinion arguably makes OneTravel one of the most forward thinking travel suppliers in the travel affiliate industry.

The press release went on to note that through TravelSpot PLS technology, OneTravel’s travel affiliate partners gain direct access to the more than 100 million airfare combinations, including more than 20 million consolidator net fare options on over 400 airlines worldwide, as well as more than 85,000 hotel properties that are stored in OneTravel’s database.

Click here to learn more about Expedia’s travel affiliate program; likewise, if you’re interested in OneTravel’s travel affiliate program, here’s the link to their site

TravelDividends applauds both OTAs for their investment in their partner networks, and in the broader travel affiliate channel in general.  We think these companies help set the tone for our industry…what do you think?  Do you agree?  Drop us an email….as always, we greatly appreciate hearing from our readers.  Thanks!