Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Dark Rome used a tailored affiliate marketing programme to boost sales of its Italy tours

Dark Rome ( is the tour company that specializes in high quality tours and walks around Rome, the Vatican, Florence, Milan, Tuscany and Pompeii. The tour operator offers travellers guided visits to classic venues as well as lesser known, off the beaten track, sites.

Dark Rome had focused primarily on PPC and SEO to market its range of tours in the UK and across Europe. Although this had been working well the company was keen to extend its marketing efforts.

At the start of 2013 Dark Rome invested its efforts into affiliate networks as it expanded its range of products and looked to extend the brand and increase sales online.

Dark Rome’s primary objective was to generate conversions from qualified traffic via reputable publishers. In addition, it looked to expand awareness of the brand across Europe and support its key multi-channel campaigns.


It was essential that Dark Rome worked with an affiliate network that could offer a deep level of insight and understanding of the tour industry as well as outstanding customer service, campaign tracking and reporting – requirements that would help the company increase sales and improve ROI. Following an intensive selection process, Dark Rome appointed AffiliRed the specialist performance agency for the travel and tourism industry.

With a reputation built on in-depth market expertise in travel and tourism AffiliRed ( was chosen to select networks that included publications, bloggers and voucher code sites whose audiences sit at the core of Dark Rome’s customer base.


Implementing a CPA model, AffiliRed provided a solution that included a simple tracking code and access to a control panel that enabled Dark Rome to closely monitor the campaign.

The programme was initially launched on Trade Tracker UK before extending across the ShareASale network. In addition, AffiliRed has been appointing new publishers, providing them with the tools to promote Dark Rome. AffiliRed has also been launching regular promotional campaigns in different forums and announcements.


Since the programme was launched in 2013 it has grown rapidly. Over 200 publishers actively promote the company, driving qualified traffic and generating direct sales.

Direct sales have increased by 62% and conversion rates have increased from direct and referral traffic.

AffiliRed is planning to expand the programme into new markets, providing Dark Rome with new promotional products that will increase international brand awareness and improve sales worldwide.

Kimberly Elia, who manages the programme on behalf of Dark Rome said: “AffiliRed’s affiliate programme has been enormously successful for us and we are planning to extend into new markets across additional networks. It has become one of the highest converting channels for our products.”

She added:

“Affiliate marketing was a new marketing method for us but we knew it could work well. We needed to ensure that we selected the right agency. AffiliRed was chosen because it focuses purely on the travel sector with a network of affiliates who understand our market. Additionally, we have a clear understanding of how the programme is performing through the reporting process. Affiliate marketing is now a core part of our online strategy.”

AffiliRed’s CEO and founder, Diego Gomila, said:

“Dark Rome is continuously exploring new ways to sell online and promote the brand. They have an excellent product range and we’ll be pushing our affiliate network even harder as we strive for year on year growth for the company.”

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