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Working with Affiliates 101

Last updated on May 30, 2023
17 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Working with affiliates can help you sell more tours and activities.
  • FareHarbor will help you set up your affiliates for seamless bookings and invoicing.
  • Get tips on maintaining your relationship with your affiliates.
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Working with affiliates is an excellent way to increase online bookings and sell your tours and activities in a variety of places to gain you more exposure.

If you’re just getting started, it can feel like there are many moving parts to juggle when partnering with affiliates. This guide on working with affiliates should help you get a handle on the affiliate capabilities of FareHarbor and how we can help you set up and maintain affiliates for a smooth, easy experience.

In this article:

How do I start an affiliate negotiation?

How and when to reach out to FareHarbor

Maintaining affiliates

Working with affiliates FAQ

How do I start an affiliate negotiation?

If you’ve decided you’re ready to start working with affiliates, you might be wondering how to get this process started. Some of the first steps include choosing your affiliates and putting together a contract with them. 

1. Determine who will be reselling your tours and activities 

First, you must determine who you’d like to work with, and importantly, whether they are a good fit for your company. Depending on the activities you operate and where you’re located, this could be a hotel concierge, local travel agents, online travel agents (OTAs), and other businesses.

2. Agree on a commission, retail rates, taxes, and items to be sold

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Commission is the payment the affiliate would receive for selling your items. This can be a percentage of the activity cost or a dollar amount.

Keep in mind that retail rates can be increased or decreased to cover the commission or offer a discount to the customer (see this rate sheet template for examples). 

You also need to determine at this point if the affiliate will be reselling all of your items or only a select few.

3. Decide who will be collecting payment (and other payment considerations)

Once you know which items the affiliate will resell, you must determine who will be collecting payment, and how billing will be set up. You have several options:

  • Referral invoicing: You process the payment and owe a commission amount to the affiliate. 
  • Billing invoicing: The affiliate processes the full payment and owes you your net rates. 
  • Net rates no invoicing: The affiliate collects the payment outside of FareHarbor and the prices are set at a rate discounted by the affiliate’s commission percentage. 
  • Referral deposit no invoicing: The affiliate marks that they used a separate system to collect their commission as a deposit from the customer, then save or charge a credit to the FareHarbor book form for the net rate amount. 

See detailed descriptions of each payment relationship and what these all entail in the frequently asked questions at the end of this article.

4. Provide the reseller the best booking options based on the invoicing relationship and their website traffic

Based on how you want customers to book with the affiliate, you can ask that affiliates are able to book online, book directly, or submit bookings separately. Get a better understanding of potential booking methods here.

These four steps should set you on your way to starting a relationship with an affiliate. After that, it’s time to get the affiliate set up with FareHarbor.

How and When to Reach Out to FareHarbor

Once you have negotiated your terms and established a contract, submit the new affiliate request to FareHarbor, which will tell us who you’re working with and other necessary details of the relationship.

For detailed instructions on how to fill out this request form, view the written guidelines here, and a video tutorial here

Next Steps

The Channel Support team receives your request and sets up your affiliate within 3-5 days (usually quicker!). We may reach out for additional context on your request. 

We will provide you and your affiliate the requested booking direct options and training on how to utilize the features. Once affiliates are given a booking direct feature, they will be able to start making bookings for you!

Working with FareHarbor’s Channel Support Team

Our Channel Support Team is here to help with your affiliate setup. See our responsibilities for a better understanding of what we do to support you:

  • Configuring the affiliate Dashboard connections
  • Handling affiliate booking and invoicing problems 
  • Managing price updates
  • Troubleshooting API connections
  • Creating new affiliate booking options

While we are happy to help ensure everything is running smoothly with your setup, certain tasks are not included in our regular responsibilities:

  • Negotiating your contract with your affiliates 
  • Creating and paying invoices on your behalf
  • Requesting payment from your affiliates
  • Applying payments on bookings 

Training for You & Your Affiliates

If you or your staff would like to be trained on affiliates, please reach out to [email protected] to schedule a training. 

We provide affiliates with self-training materials that guide them through the process.

Maintaining Affiliates

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Now that your connections have been established, here are some tips on maintaining affiliates in the long term.

  • Renegotiate your price and commission on a yearly basis, and consider performing invoice and commission auditing.
  • Be sure to conduct reporting on affiliate sales to make sure these relationships are still serving you well. You want to determine if they are still making bookings for you and whether they have provided you with quality customers. You should also evaluate whether you can sell out certain tours without the help of affiliates.
  • Verify that the items affiliates are selling have active calendars, live customer types, and current pricing.

Working with affiliates can certainly give your business a leg up, but make sure you are putting in the work to maintain these relationships and do what makes the most sense for your business.

For more detailed information, check out these frequently asked questions about the topics mentioned in this article.

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Working with Affiliates FAQ

text, whiteboardWhat are the affiliate booking options?

Read about the various affiliate booking options here.

What is a rate sheet?

A detailed breakdown of precise amounts that should be inputted within FareHarbor. Please note, the most important aspects of the rate sheet are the retail rates, commission, and expected net rate. Click here for a rate sheet template.

What is a commission? 

A commission is the financial incentive that a tour operator offers to an affiliate for any bookings the affiliate makes for them.

For example: If there is a 20% commission, this means that if Hotel ABC refers a $100 booking to XYZ Tours, XYZ Tours will owe Hotel ABC a commission of $20.

What is the difference between a partner and an affiliate?

  • Partner: A company whose tours you are reselling.
  • Affiliate: A company that is reselling your tours.

Can I use my existing Dashboard to make bookings for other companies?

Yes, you can use the existing Dashboard as long as they have a matching processor currency!

Who does FareHarbor integrate with via API?

You can find a list of current API partners here

How do I report on affiliates? 

You will want to run a booking source report to see detailed information on the bookings your affiliates and partners have created as well as a breakdown of money owed.

What are the types of payment relationships with affiliates? 

  • Referral Invoicing Relationship: You, the tour operator, are processing the full payment at the time of booking, owing a commission amount to the affiliate.
  • Billing Invoicing Relationship: The affiliate (or reseller) is processing the full payment outside FareHarbor, owing you, the tour operator, your net rates. Please Note: Payment is being processed in the affiliate’s own POS system.
  • Net Rates No Invoicing Relationship: The prices on a booking are set at a rate discounted by the affiliate’s commission percentage. Usually, it is set up so that the net rate for a booking must be charged to a card (usually the affiliate’s company credit card) in order to complete the booking. This type of setup makes the assumption that the affiliate has collected the payment in full from the customer in their own system outside of FH.
  • Referral Deposit No Invoicing Relationship: The affiliate would be using a separate system to collect their commission as a deposit from the customer. They would first show that they collected that invoice price amount themselves (step 1) and then save or charge a credit card to the FareHarbor book form for the net rate amount (step 2). If saving it, the tour provider would charge the net rate upon check-in.

What are affiliate permission groups?

Permission groups allow affiliates with affiliate Dashboard access to view and make bookings on your booking calendar. 

By default, affiliates cannot cancel bookings. If you need them to cancel their own bookings, please reach out to [email protected] to change permissions.

  • Affiliate – Can See Prices: Affiliates are able to see total and invoice amounts when creating bookings. 
  • Affiliate – Cannot See Prices: Affiliates can only see the expected invoice amount when creating bookings. They cannot see retail pricing. 
  • Affiliate – External API: Allows API partners to push through cancellations made in their system according to your cancellation policy. 
  • Affiliate – API: Allows API partners to push through cancellations made in their system according to your cancellation policy. Allows API partners to push through the expected net rate to FareHarbor. This only applies to Expedia, Get Your Guide, Tripadvisor (Viator) and Google.

Can my affiliates create invoices?

Affiliates are unable to create invoices. You will need to generate the invoice from your FareHarbor Dashboard for your affiliate to pay the invoice or for you to pay them.

Follow these steps to create an invoice. 

Are invoice payments automatic?

Currently, commission (or invoice) payments are not automatically issued within the FareHarbor system. The generation of invoices is controlled by the tour operator. Payment of invoices will need to be settled outside of FareHarbor using any financial transfer system. 

For US Clients only: You can use FareHarbor to pay invoices. Please reach out to [email protected] to enable the feature. Please note that a 1.9% + .30 bank transfer fee is incurred by the person receiving the funds. 

Can I make specific fields non-commissionable? 

Yes you can! If you would like for any gratuity, upgrades or add-ons to not be commissionable, just let us know so that we can make the necessary adjustments.

How do I know which of my partners are API connected to FareHarbor?

If the partner is Viator, GetYourGuide, Google or Expedia, please reach out to our Support team and we will get you an answer.

Otherwise, see if they are added to your affiliates list with the External API permission group. That permission allows them to access your specific Dashboard if they have an established API connection with FareHarbor.

You can also generate a booking source report to check if they are sending you bookings via an API User.

I have an affiliate that is not already connected to FareHarbor via the API; what do I do?

The point of contact of the affiliate company should reach out directly to [email protected] to check compatibility and requirements.

My affiliate lost their credentials to access their affiliate Dashboard or their password email expired.

Retrieve the email entitled “Your FareHarbor Account Info” to find your URL and username.

Next, use the provided credentials to access the Dashboard login page and click above “Forgot your username or password” to receive a new email.

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