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Commissions, a plague or a blessing?

09 June, 2016

Many property owners tell us that they don’t want to be on major travel websites because they don’t want to pay the commission, they’d rather do their own marketing to generate bookings.

So, we taken a closer look at the cost of doing your own marketing vs paying commissions to travel agencies, to see which worked out best for the small hotel or B&B:

See the results below:

eviivo - Travel website commission-v2

The advertising costs listed here are for a SINGLE click or a SINGLE placement of the advert. For example, if you pay for £400 pounds for a 2cm advert in your regional paper, to appear say next Wednesday, only those people looking at the newspaper on Wednesday will hear about you.  And even fewer will book with you.

Next is your website. It is easy to be talked into spending a lot on your website or the latest Search Engine Optimisation technology or some other ‘alphabet soup’, but, a custom website could cost thousands of pounds. And often, this doesn’t even include the cost of maintaining and hosting the site, or changing its content and photos over time.

Furthermore, most of the people who search for a place to stay actually search for a place by destination, and rarely by using a property name.  Growing your business is about getting new customers, and new customers, by definition, do not know your name or who you are until they find you. The “pay-per-click” cost of getting your website listed online on the first page when people search for a place in in a specific city or area, can be really prohibitive… especially when you end up competing with major brands and travel agencies who spend billions securing first page placements.

So, you spend all this money, and there is absolutely NO GUARANTEE that you will get any bookings at the end of it.

So, it looks like you’d be better off working with the travel agencies: they will advertise your business all year long completely FREE of charge. Companies like Expedia, LateRooms, Booking.com and TripAdvisor spend billions in advertising every year, to make sure that your property gets noticed. 

For this you will pay them NOTHING until you have a guaranteed booking. And if you don’t get any bookings there are no fees. This means that for every £1 you spend on a travel website like Expedia, Laterooms or Booking.com, you get a guaranteed £5 or more worth of business.

And many of the visitors who find you on these travel websites will also check out your own website.  So if your website looks good, if it can take payments there and then, and inspire customers with great photography and your own special offers, they may well book directly with you, at no cost to you.

So as far as websites go, you may be better off using a free modern template and focus your budget and your time instead on crafting the best possible messages and descriptions, and getting the most enticing photos and special offers, rather than spend a fortune on technology or custom developments.  You may find that a good professional property photographer may deliver more than a website developer.

As to travel agencies?  The best way to work effectively with them is to work with many rather than just one, and take full advantage of their marketing power whilst keeping control of your business at all times. 

eviivo suite lets you connect to all the leading travel websites and manage all your bookings from one place at the simple click of a button. You can control all your rates, cancellation and deposit policies at all times, and choose when and how to collect payment for your bookings, all from one place. And we do not add anything to the commissions charged by travel agencies (we charge a fixed monthly fee).  Optionally, eviivo suite comes with the most secure integrated card payment solution and a range of mobile-friendly, Google-friendly websites, this website is FREE as part of eviivo suite (no additional costs, setup fees, web-design fees or any ongoing management fees) and any bookings via your own website are commission-free.

To find out more about how eviivo can help you share your story with the world, click here



  1. This post is biased because you guys offer registration with the main OTAs. I have been generating direct bookings via Facebook ads and the money I spend on Facebook ads brings in a LOT of business. Ultimately, if a provider has the right marketing strategy in place, it actually pays to be in a position to generate direct bookings rather than relying on OTAs.

  2. I agree that this article is biased and a good website, optimised, is far more cost effective.

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