An affiliate program (also sometimes called an associate program) is a type of business cooperation or agreement in which a product creator/merchant company pays another person/company/website (an affiliate) to promote them and send them traffic or sales.
Usually, affiliates get a unique link (an affiliate link) from the merchant that they spread out via their websites, blogs, social media, etc. Then, if other people follow that link and make a purchase, an affiliate gets a commission. The commission size and terms of payment vary across programs.
Affiliate programs are a potent marketing tool, especially widespread in the eCommerce industry, that allows merchants to increase audience reach, website traffic, monetization, sales volumes, and revenue.
In the travel industry, affiliate programs are also popular and follow a similar scheme. OTAs, hotel brands, tour operators, and other industry players pay affiliates (often it’s travel bloggers) to advertise their services and direct travelers to make bookings on their websites.