Background and objectives
Sunshine.co.uk began life in May 2007, entering the densely populated and fiercely competitive budget holiday market with a fresh proposition.
The agency wanted to harness the power of affiliate marketing to:
Rapidly establish itself as serious player in the holiday market
Communicate its market position as a supplier of beach breaks with a focus on value and flexibility, powered by dynamic packaging.
The programme with Affiliate Future had the following aims:
- To establish and build brand awareness of sunshine.co.uk
- To attract and secure 400 business-generating affiliates within six months of launch
- To achieve 10,000 unique visitors in the first month of launch
- To establish and grow consumer confidence in sunshine.co.uk
- To generate 10 sales per day within three months of launch
- To achieve 3.5% conversion rate within three months of launch
Sunshine.co.uk’s overriding strategy was to be the best resourced travel merchant for affiliates in the UK.
Sunshine.co.uk launched to the UK travel market using affiliate marketing in order to harness the established trust between the affiliates and their own online communities.
Sunshine.co.uk actively targeted affiliates from non-travel sectors as well as established travel affiliates to achieve wide brand awareness. This approach meant that sunshine.co.uk was better represented by new to travel affiliate sites and in some cases affiliates built travel sites solely featuring content provided by sunshine.co.uk.
To attract affiliates, sunshine.co.uk worked with AffiliateFuture to build comprehensive resource centres for affiliates hosted by AffiliateFuture and on its own website.
Collectively the resource centres featured:
- Video interview with Sunshine.co.uk representative explaining in detail about the brand and its benefits for affiliates
- Copy and images for inclusion in affiliate website editorial, website copy and emails
- A wide range of generic and deal-specific banner ads, the latter of which are dynamically fed with hourly updates of best deals and the latest offers organised ccording to departure airport, destination resort and individual property
- A wide selection of links to specific resorts and properties via banners, text links and the RSS feed
- A regularly updated spreadsheet of the most popular and highest converting links
- RSS feed of sunshine.co.uk’s 20 top deals, all deep linked to deal-specific landing pages
- A live chat facility, linking affiliates with sunshine.co.uk’s affiliate team in real time
- A blog at www.sunshine.co.uk/affiliates/blog
To motivate all affiliates to begin promoting the site, sunshine.co.uk ran a number of incentives whereby winning affiliates were rewarded with holidays. These included:
- Offering a higher than average commission of 7% to affiliates
- Sponsorship of AffiliateFuture’s Barbados incentive
- The ‘Fam Trip’ promotion where affiliates were invited to build virtual familiarity trips in order to win holidays to their chosen destinations
To extend the reach of sunshine.co.uk’s holidays AffiliateFuture added sunshine.co.uk’s deals to its own proprietary database which is syndicated across the network through its white label search solution and standalone travel sites including Henoo.com and cheapholidaydeals.co.uk.
- In the second month of business, sunshine.co.uk attracted 2,932 unique visitors
- In the fourth month of business sunshine.co.uk achieved a conversion rate of 4.6%
- In the fifth month of business sunshine.co.uk sold £126K worth of holidays
Within five months of launch sunshine.co.uk:
- Secured 444 affiliates
- Sold 1,470 holidays
- Welcomed 452,477 unique visitors
- Generated in excess of £700,000 in income
The program also resulted in the following recognition:
- Three nominations in the a4u awards within 3 months of launch
- A4u Affiliate Manager of the Year award
- Shortlisted for the IMA Award in Affiliate Marketing
Chris Clarkson, co-Founder of sunshine.co.uk says: “The way we see it sunshine.co.uk was built by affiliates for affiliates.
“Working with the team at AffiliateFuture meant we could rapidly establish an impressive reach and quickly put together the resources to attract and support our affiliates. The resulting multi-layered affiliate marketing program has enabled us to sell impressive volumes of cheap holidays.”