This is the first of three articles we’ll be featuring in this week’s blog that focus on Escorted Tour Operators that offer Travel Affiliate Programs.

Because of their intrinsic value, all-inclusive travel packages are one of the easiest and most profitable travel products that travel affiliates can sell.  Among the most popular types of all-inclusive products is the escorted or ‘guided’ tour.  Although there are hundreds of tour operators offering escorted tour packages, only a handful distribute through the travel affiliate channel; Friendly Planet Travel is one that quickly comes to mind.

Focused on international destinations, Friendly Planet offers a product range that covers some of the most interesting and exotic itineraries around the world.  Whether your customers are interested in going on a safari, cruising the Nile and exploring the Pyramids, taking-in the natural beauty of New Zealand or going on a golfing cruise around the Mediterranean, Friendly Planet will likely have a value-laden escorted tour.

Like most escorted tour packages, Friendly Planet’s tours include, air transportation, hotel accommodations, local transfers (generally by motor  coach), entrance fees to all the places and points of interest listed on the itinerary, most meals (included full breakfast daily) and experienced, knowledgeable guides and tour managers who accompany the travelers through the entire journey.

What sets Friendly Planet apart from most of their competitors is their pricing; as a tour operator of considerable scale, Friendly Planet leverages its buying power with its suppliers; and as a wholesaler, some of the engendered cost-savings is passed along to their customers.

Here are several representative examples of the great deals they offer (each includes round-trip air from either New York or Los Angeles):

  • 8-day ‘Taj Mahal Express’ (Delhi, Jaipur & Agra), $999
  • 12-day ‘South African Explorer’ (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Edeni & Kruger Safaris) from $2,799
  • 10-day ‘Mediterranean Golf Cruise’ aboard the MSC Sinfonia (Livorno, Monte Carlo, Valencia, Ibiza, Tunis, Catania, Naples & Florence), from $2,099
  • 10-day ‘A Taste of China’ (Beijing, Xi’ian & Shanghai) from, $999

Friendly Planet has been operating tours since 1981, and since its founding, the Company has built a solid reputation in the travel industry.  With respect to the travel affiliate channel however, they are relative ‘newbies’; their travel affiliate program with ShareASale was launched in August, 2008.  The salient elements of their travel affiliate program include: a flat commission of $25.00 per sale; 30 day cookie window; a 7 Day EPC of $18.94 and $43.17 over 30 Days; and an unlimited bonus commission of $125.00 once the travel affiliate reaches 5 sales each month.

Additionally, Friendly Planet provides affiliates with a weekly “HoTTTT Deal of Week” newsletter, which lists deeply discounted (and time sensitive) deals to many of the wholesaler’s top destinations.   More information about “Hotttt Deals” and other aspects of Friendly Planet’s travel affiliate program can be found at ShareASale.

If any of TravelDividends’ readers work with escorted tour operators and wholesalers and would like to share their experiences, please feel free to post a comment.  Additionally, if there is a ‘travel affiliate friendly’ escorted tour operator you’d like us to profile, drop us an email…we’d be happy to oblige!