The ticket sales startup is only partnering with websites that attract visitors a month each month. National Tickets is calculating that the revenue upside would be worth the brand sacrifice that comes with affiliate marketing.
National Tickets is now rolling out a call for affiliate partners, where high-traffic sites can embed National Tickets property listings and make commissions when they are booked. Alongside this, the company has revamped their website with a new look and feel to make the site more user-friendly.
Speaking on the affiliate program, Business Development Manager at National Tickets, Macmillan Murebwa said “At National tickets, we believe in the power of numbers and also in empowering others. It is in this vein that we will accept affiliates who are essentially agents online who place a widget on their site and any customer who accesses services from their site earns them a commission. We will in the next few weeks be releasing a number of features never experienced in the country all in tech endeavor of ensuring convenience to the traveling public.”
Focusing on building out a network of affiliate partners, and the launch of the newly designed website, both show how National Tickets is looking to work much closer with the established travel industry. Affiliate marketing, for example, is one of the biggest ways that sites in the travel sector generate revenue by aggregating inventory and listings from a host of other sites and then getting a small cut of any sale that is generated through those referrals. It’s also one of the most common ways that people eventually end up booking things.
The affiliate site does not currently list any specific partners, nor does it give details on the business model behind it, but the idea here appears to be to present National Tickets listings on non-National Tickets sites where people are already going to purchase travel and related services.
The advantage of affiliate marketing for a player such as National Tickets is that it would boost revenue while the disadvantages are that National Tickets would have to share that revenue with a third party, and these types of relationships come at the expense of promoting the National Tickets brand.
National Tickets has also partnered with third-party payment gateways hence users may see different pricing on the site.
“In the pursuit of convenience to the traveling public National Tickets enlists the services of third parties to provide payments accepting methods. These third parties charge fees which are outside of the control of National Tickets hence when the user is finalizing their transaction those charges are shown the user so they approve of our charge and the third parties charge also. A typical example is when one walks into a supermarket and picks groceries the prices on the shelf do not include the swipe charge but reflect what the supermarket expects as the selling price of the product.” Macmillan said.
With the cost third parties, National Ticket has dev a news concept called advance tickets, which enables customers to buy their tickets 2-3 months in advance at a discounted rate. For example, you will notice that in you want to buy a ticket to South Africa, it will be much cheaper to buy on the platform than at service providers.
“National tickets encourages people to plan their trips in advance as this is the cheapest way to travel. This is a paradigm shift as advance tickets is a relatively new concept in our country. It is common practice around the world to have cheaper prices online than person or have price differentials on the same ticket for the same trip. The prices really depend on how each of the vendors negotiate and agree with the service provider.”
“We, therefore, urge the traveling public to buy their tickets as early as possible tickets are available 6 months before your date of travel and these are usually cheaper than last minute tickets.” Mr Murebwa.
To me, taken together and considering the latest partnerships, these moves mark National Ticket’s latest phase of growth. The earliest concept of the site was around people offering bus tickets from the comfort of their homes as an alternative to staying to buying them physically at the bus offices.