Tell us your experiences

We want to hear from you. Please share with us your experiences and thoughts regarding being listed on commission based travel accommodation portals. Who’s charging you 15% commission? How much do you think you lose every year in commission fees? What would you spend your saved money on? The questions are endless. Help us build a picture of what everyone is feeling.

We will check your submissions before publishing them so try not to write anything that might land us in court.

NEW – Blog page now open

To keep you abreast of developments as they happen we now have a blog page where you can also add your comments in relation to specific items. Visit the Fairer Fees Blog page now.


59 Responses to “Tell us your experiences”

  1. Steve says:

    As an end customer I tried to make a direct hotel booking in Madrid calling the hotel (speaking in Spanish – no problem). I asked for the price, which was aprox. 12 percent higher than prices! The hotel then checked the prices, the hotel offered a lower price but when I asked accidently! he admited that his price was without VAT so it was still higher than I felt that direct booking is risky! I told him then I will book via because the price is lower there.

    One more reason why I booked with is that I get a more detailed information of what I book then if I just send an email with my credit card details as asked by the hotel in Madrid.

    I suggest to hotel owners to find a way to offer cheaper prices for direct bookings with the same amount of written information like at But maybe the lowest price promise of makes it impossible for you to also offer on

    Certainly and other hotel booking sites are very! important for comparing prices and customer reviews in my opinion.

  2. Roberto Leonardi says:

    I was just back from a holiday in Morocco where I had booked 9 hotels with Booking as they were cheaper than Expedia or other agencies. During Booking prices are shown in your own currency (mine’s Euro) and after booking they warn you you’ll pay directly to the Hotel in the local currency. Okay. What they don’t tell you is that they negotiated with the hotels a standard change rate 10-12% higher than the current tourist change rate. At the end of the day the actual tariffs were much higher than their main competitors’, but you realise it only at check out time. Not to say they censored my reviews where I complained about that.

  3. Fairer Fees says:

    Many hoteliers are good at marketing but do not have the budget to compare with the likes of Online agents do have a place in the mix, however what fairer fees is about is getting a fairer deal for hoteliers on commission, say 8% or less, similar to offline agents (who have higher costs). OTAs have become to dominant and hotel websites are often “hidden” behind adverts or listed lower than those for OTAs

    The charges that hotels make to guests are obviously set at an acceptable price to the guest, many rooms booked on these sites are actually in hotels, B&Bs and hostels that offer none of these services and it is now more and more common to offer free Wifi as a selling point.

    We completely object to the way that OTAs seek to get between the hotel and the customer and pretend that they offer best rate and that the best deal is always with them, clearly many times it is not. The customer needs to understand that often the best deal is direct and many hotels are adopting better direct marketing and persuading guests the best deal is direct. Major hotel chains have seen the light in this respect and are now promoting direct is best. We are here to help the small guy to also get a better deal.

    Many guests do browse OTAs to see hotels and then go the the hotel site and possibly book direct. We welcome direct bookings as 15% commission is just too much these days. Similarly our guests area showing awareness by realising they can get better value by booking direct. This is ‘market forces’ at work; the same forces that the OTAs are free to respond to by offering hoteliers fairer fees which might be reciprocated with a degree of respect.

  4. Robert says:

    If hoteliers were any good at marketing themselves then they wouldn’t need to pay commission to agents. But most hoteliers are not, they are better at running hotels, therefore they pay the commission to fill bedrooms.

    As a result of filling bedrooms with guests who came to them through booking agents they can then get their own back and charge *extortionate* prices for food, drink and internet access (which they all do).

    So don’t complain about commission when what they are doing is exposing your hotel to people that otherwise would never have known you existed. Just do a better job of direct marketing all guests from agents in the future.

    Trust me, for every one booking hotels get from 1 to 3 people will book with the hotel direct as a result of having seen them on!

  5. Matthew says:

    I have been looking in to enrolling on or laterooms but have so far resisted the urge. I run a pub with 8 rooms to let which until recently have been fairly full. I pay no one any commission whatsoever, but this year i have signed up with queensborough group for free online booking once you have paid the annual fee. I have found this to be well worth while, I think I paid them £200 for the first year and £150 it will be after that. I have so far recieved about 250 rooms bookings from them. I and pretty happy with their service too.

  6. Economico Hotel says:

    We have just started a booking site for italian Hotels. We will keep lowest commissions to give our users better prices. We wrote we support you at our page

  7. anonymous says:

    Hello there

    I liked your report on tripadvisor. I am currently in the process of setting up an equal review site but without the constant fees, this will hopefully entice more business on a larger scale, but i would like to hear ‘if in an ideal world’ what you would expect from an equal site such as tripadvisor, and who knows, in the next few months, it could be possible. Please keep your ideas feasible.

    Please email me directly with ideas and suggestions


  8. anonymous says:

    I am ok with the likes of Laterooms and,. though I do get miffed at them charging the 15% on the full room charge when really it would be fairerr to charge it on the net rate as after all 20% of the room rate is VAT which is not our money we are merely a tax collector for the government . Yes we can claim back the 20% VAT on their commission bill but we are still losing money on their commission charge on the VAT element of the original booking.

    The one that really gets my goat is Expedia, we go through a Channel Manager SiteMinder which I must say is very fair pricing and saves a lot of work, but Expedia then set the net rate from the rate we input to SiteMinder, I have just checked on a recently arrived booking and even though we raised our price they are still paying us the same rate but have taken the raise for themsves and are now pocketing 28.69% in a mark up. I shall be emailing them tonight.

    I also find it unfair that Expedia now own Trip Advisor, they import reviews from Expedia to Trip Advisor at random and some of them may not be good, and can be unfair or untrue, they refuse to remove them and what I find unfairer still is you cannot import reviews from other websites . They want it all their own way.

  9. anonymous says:

    To avoid paying commission to the online booking portals, there are some online portals where you can sign up free of charge or for a small fixed fee, and then have customers sent straight to your website where they can contact you directly.
    Try , for instance.
    They offer free signups and will link directly to your own webpage, if you link back. Otherwise there’s a small fee for a direct link or else they send visitors to your page on one of the big portals.
    But it’s only for small hotels, and not for chains.

  10. anonymous says:

    Funny, but lands on So what they charging 90 per year??
    What is the commission you guys vote for?

  11. anonymous says:

    It is really a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.
    , i also added to my bookmark!

  12. anonymous says:

    I am founder of hotel price comparison site

    Our aim is to find the user the best price but we would also look at linking to a hotels direct website for an annual fee. Someone mentioned lodging-world at £90 per year… how would advertising on a site like sletoH grab you? Please send me feedback via this page and via the “feedback” button at top right corner of

    Ben Jackson

  13. anonymous says:

    Getting comments by E-mail on how OTA’s define areas, i.e. Accommodation can actually be no where near the place you are looking for, sometimes over 20 miles away! If you wanted to stay in a completely different town, would you not search for that in the first place?

  14. anonymous says:

    As a hotelier I have noticed a considerable change (in the agents business model) over the years they have placed less emphasize on the contract rate, and more attention on the selling rate (this is to ensure rate parity they tell me) – the problem is booking agents dont offer commission parity. Every month or so i get phone calls from Booking agents informing me that another agent is selling at a cheaper rate – that’s no problem I inform them, I offer the same contract rate to all. Ah, but we have a rate parity guarantee, they inform me; no problem, I reply, just adjust your commission – NO chance of that they inform me.

    Another one is having different commission options in the back office of certain online booking agents. If you increase your commission rate, you will rank higher in their listings.

  15. anonymous says:

    A new one we’ve come across, you’d think would advertise your hotel/s telephone numbers. Not so, called and it goes through to booking agents. Anyone else come across this?

    I assume you’d have to pay to get your own number on there!

  16. anonymous says:

    Well guys – use paid directories where there are no commissions on bookings. lets you advertise for £90 a year. They have excellent Google page rank for towns & cities and many hotels & b&bs get upwards of 100 bookings a month

  17. anonymous says:

    Hi everyone. Real excited to find this blog though at the moment cant make my mind up which camp I’m in as most I speak to say they couldn’t live without DC’s.

    I write a blog for hoteliers and have wrote some damning articles about the channels.

    Have a butchers at this one:

  18. anonymous says: have recently been a total nightmare we’ve had a rep that is so much up her a… can’t talk to her. Just feeds us with c..p. They are popular right now but seem to be a closed shop we get bookings but never appear on it? Pulling out seems imminent.

  19. anonymous says:

    Since reading this website 8 weeks ago and implementing some changes.

    1) Stopping Pay Per Click adverts by Agents
    2) Ensuring best rate on available direct
    3) Removing the tripadvisor badge I had on my website

    I have seen an increase in revenue and a drop in commission, making me think that we have done the correct thing. Simple changes have meant better and easier business for me, thanks to fairerfees.

  20. anonymous says:

    When VAT rises in January B and B’s and other low turnover businesses will lose another 2.5% as they cannot reclaim the VAT that OTA’s charge. But if you use direct booking sites then no loss of any money at all!

  21. anonymous says:

    What angers me is that the booking companies are charging commission on the total room value, including VAT. Making money on a tax is immoral. And come January 2011, when VAT goes up to 20%, they will pocket even more!

  22. anonymous says:

    I think there are too many people getting in the middle and making a quick buck from using hotel names and getting an affiliate fee. and laterooms should not give these guys any rewards for this practice and charge us half what they charge just now. The amount on sites I find when I google ny hotel name that are “selling” my hotel is mad.

  23. anonymous says:

    After another botched up booking by laterooms we are increasingly finding them difficult to work with.

    Apparently they no longer need to give the 3 digit code on the reverse of a credit card for us to take a deposit, most hotels are now accepting a post-code to secure the booking?! –

    The staff also refuse to refer to a supervisor and won’t supply their names. I wonder why.

    We are slowly getting very irritated with them and their bullyish attitude. We have increased tariff with them and will discount to anyone who books with us direct. We may be shooting ourselves in the foot here but the less contact with them the better.

  24. anonymous says:

    I am delighted to see that the campaign is still going strong. We all seem to feel the same so lets not let it lose its momentum.

    We too have stopped them using the pay per click on our site and are receiving more bookings on our own website which proves the point that customers are looking for us directly.

  25. anonymous says:

    Taking 8% seems reasonable for these guys and as it compares with offline agents, but my experience is that over the years they have just got more and more greedy on the fees and will not back down. Yes they may have to pay the odd affiliate fee to others, but they pocket all the money most of the time. It is time that we got a better deal from these guys, but it is only going to happen if we stand together. Also who is going to do something about Tripadvisor and those useless reviews.

  26. anonymous says:

    I to have received the e-mail from Matt at talking about them advertising throughout the world. In the last month 95% of my limited bookings via came from the UK. I think that they have in the past used my name to get bookings via Pay per Click as others have stated, not anymore! It would be great if they found new business but I think they were just taking business that was coming anyway. Also they do not allow feedback on guest reviews and although they talk about account management and customer support my experience of this is not good.

  27. anonymous says:

    This was my response from
    The very fact that the email was recognised as a template email, says a lot!!
    I will be pointing this out to them in my next email.

    Thank you for your email.

    Unfortunately does not negotiate commission as to keep a fair system, we charge all hotels the same level.

    As you’ll notice we produce a large amount of business for your property and last month we achieved over £5000 in bookings. We can only do this by advertising your property and extensively throughout the world which is where the majority of our commission is spent. We also offer a 24 hour customer service team as well as account management which is all included within your commission.

    As we have worked together for quite a while, I would request in the future that if you have concerns with that you give me a call as I cannot assist you fully with template emails.

    If you have any questions, please let me know.

  28. anonymous says:

    I have used Laterooms and for some years but in that time I have learned a few lessons. At one time I was paying far to much commission each month to these sites so I took some actions.

    1)I got online booking on my own site.
    2) I closed all the dates in the year when I knew we were going to sell out on Laterooms and as this was just giving money away.
    3)I asked for them to stop using Pay Per click on my name as I thought they were getting to much of my business.
    4) I listed on many site that went directly to my own not to a commission based site.

    I still use and laterooms plus a few others but I pay a lot less than half the commission I paid before,in some months virtually nothing, yet have the same revenue. I think that 15% is a complete rip off from these guys and minimise the commission they get, I am happy to pay 8-10% to many offline agents, but what makes them think 15% is ok?

    I stayed in a McDonald hotel recently where they gave me a card saying next time book direct on checkout, this was a good idea, but this is just one small thing. We do need to do something about this collectively as it no use doing it individually they just won’t listen. Great site and keep up the good work.

  29. anonymous says:

    As a hotelier I am very pleased to find this site. It is time customers understood the cost of doing business with these online agents. Booking direct is always best simples! As independents let’s get behind this campaign.

  30. Fairer Fees says:

    Fairer fees is not about stopping working with these guys, it’s about getting a fairer deal on commission charges for all. If they bring any new business that’s good for everyone, but they should not be charging 15% on business that they have worked hard to divert to their sites rather than book direct with the business.

    Selling last minute availability is great but laterooms now want inventory for a year in advance, hardly late availability! Read more about this on our blog – Helping you fill spare rooms or fishing for all your bookings?

  31. anonymous says:

    So, you’re all unhappy – but still work with them…?

    You’re all posting “anonymous”

    Has anyone engaged them? Found out why their rates are that much?

    It’s because they find customers we can’t. Fill bedrooms we can’t. And that comes at a cost. We actively try to make people book direct, but we have to accept that the cost of booking through an online agent does cost.

    And extras and room types – congratulations. Take them off if you don’t want to pay commissions on them. Put them on if you want them to have the chance to generate revenue on your behalf. Sounds like basic revenue management to me.

  32. anonymous says:

    One thing that I feel strongly about is that and other online providers encourage hotels to load up extras – such as Dinner, wine, chocolates etc. This annoys me because not only are they getting 15% of the accommodation booking but they are taking away 15% of our other methods of revenue too and they are doing nothing for it. We’re doing all their work!

    A few suggestions:

    1. Take off all your extras from the sites
    2. Limit your availability and room types on these sites
    3. Offer incentives for guests to book direct with you
    4. Have all the room types and extras available to book direct on your own website

  33. anonymous says:

    I also emailed both and last week about trying to get our commission rates reduced last week. I received the standard reply.

    However, a few days after I had a phone call from laterooms. After a brief chat about why we were unhappy they asked me if I would remove my posting from the hotel’s facebook page which I had posted earlier that morning about the fairer fees campaign with a link to the site and a comment about laterooms,, expedia charging hotels 15%. He asked if I would remove it as he thought the comment was unfair. I explained to him that he wouldn’t be able to control what everyone said online.

    I know now that laterooms are aware of the campaign and I feel that they must be worried about it if they are calling up hotels and I don’t think they want the public to know how much commission that they are taking. I think that everyone should visit the and suggest to all their friends and let everyone know about the commission rates.

  34. anonymous says:

    Without a doubt the commissions are too high and always rank us at the bottom unless we pay an enhanced commission fee.

    The piggy backing off our business names is disgraceful and having just done a check on Google it’s worse now than it’s ever been.

    A domain comprising our business name was registered last year by a Daniel Kirchhof and the page tries to give the impression it is our website. If you try to make an online booking it redirects you It appears from information on the net that are using’s affiliate programme!!

  35. anonymous says:

    This has got to be one of the best sites I have seen to sort out what has become a money making scheme for, Late Rooms and all the others jumping on the band wagon, it is shocking that it has come to this and once again the local hoteliers need to take there own action/s. In today’s economy we have these major companies raking in thousand of pounds for nothing more than our hard work, this needs to stop and together we can make this happen. I was always under the impression these companies were like us there for the benefit of the/our guests, it only seems that they are only for themselves. Maybe just maybe if they lowered the commission rate, more and more people would use our hotels, but because of these outrageous charges for little or no work we the hotelier need to increase our rates. Lets work together and make the country a better place to visit but most of all give a greater variety of locations to stay at reasonable price, producing same standards at a better price (The message is clear to these companies charging outrageous commission. Always think of the Guests, not your own pockets)

  36. anonymous says:

    As a Hotelier I have e-mail on a few occasions to ask for a reduction on the 15%, their attitude is very much take it or leave it, but acting together we can change this. They are clearly not worth 15% of anyones money when efectively they are diverting the customer away from booking direct.Lets make our voices heard.

  37. anonymous says:

    I was invited to attend the launch of this in Perth last Friday by the letsbookrooms people. It was a good presentation/meeting of 12 hoteliers all who use 15% online agents and form the majority of the hotels on this towns listing (this was presented as fairly typical). hence we are all now listed on We had some lively debate and having had a few days to consider and read a bit more, I think that the following is true.

    We all felt that 15% or more commission was way to much (most of us were using 6-10 % agents as well)
    These sites spend a lot of time trying to get between hotels/b and b’s and the customer and being deceptive about it.
    Many of us were not aware of some of the tactics or the tripadvisor connection.
    We would loose no business if we stopped using them as the customer was always coming to Perth anyway.

    Reading the comments above today, I to have had many customers arrive thinking they have booked with me direct only to see that they haven’t sometimes we even have to convince them they have not paid already. The guys also dealt very factually with the cost of listing on, it would take many millions of hotels to join before they got near the revenue that the 15% lot have, in fact it’s simple 10,000 hotels equals £540,000 per year but as previously noted this would probably save the hotels involved at least 40 times that and keep it in the local community.

    As Perth hotels we have 12 listings on the site at a cost of £600, this will save us and the town potentially £100,000’s so good luck to these guys, I have sent my e-mail about getting off my hotel name and giving me 5% commission. All hoteliers and local businesses should read the site and give their support.

  38. anonymous says:

    A tutti voi colleghi del campo Alberghiero proprietari di piccoli e grandi alberghi propongo di sostenere questa campagna iniziata dai nostri amici a Perth in Scozzia con lo scopo di ridurre L’importo delle commissioni sulle varie Riservazioni dalle online booking siti. La e stata creata per dare a noi un piu giusto e bilanciato grado di commissione considerarando che siamo noi ad addosarci la maggior parte del lavoro.
    La crede che non ce bisogno di caricare
    fino al 15% di commissione agli Alberghi Pensioni o a tutti coloro che provvedono accomodazione in generale
    e ci incitano a agire insieme per ottenere a better Deal dalle online Booking agent. Il Discorso e semplice noi siamo tutti contenti di continuare a fare il business con voi GIGANTI dell’ Laterooms, e vi ringraziamo per il passato, Pero ora riducete il tasso di commissione a un livello piu accettabile 6-8% come certe altre agenzie tipo offline agent, ricordandovi che voi avete un Business modello meno costoso e quindi non ce bisogno di pagare il 15% per il vostro servizio prendendo Riservazione da noi che in tutti i casi arriverebbero direttamente. E chiaro che Laterooms e anche Expedia contano sulla natura frammentata della nostra grande Industria e fino ad ora ne anno aprofittato riempindosi le tasche con MILLIONI che potrebbero giovare l’economia locale a qualche cosa in pui per il vostro Businnes dandovi la possibilita di impiegare piu personale, aiuto con i restauri ecc.
    Personalmente penso in questo clima economico e arrivato il momento in qui tutti noi uniti insieme facciamoci sentire dando supporto alla
    Io ci credo. Se la pensate come me mandate ia vostri colleghi il mio e-mail. Il vostro parere e sempre gradito. Saluti

  39. anonymous says:

    I generally try to get on booking engines to try and expose the hotel more. We use an online booking system which gets us most of the top sites and to be honest most of our bookings come through our own website which we pay about 6% commission for which is fair enough. The 15% is way over the top but I do incorporate some of the cost in the prices shown on these sites unless times are very hard. What I sincerely object to is the 15% plus the added VAT. We are paying commission on our price which includes VAT and then having to pay again. The commission should be based on Net price and not gross no matter what the % is.

  40. anonymous says:

    I have no problem paying commission to online agents which I do.
    What I do have a problem with is the level of commission that & Laterooms charge while piggy backing on OUR SITES to drive business to their 15% commission sites and without our permission.
    This is what drives the cost up for our customers, and our customers must be made aware of this. & Laterooms have a responsibility to those who feed them,hoteliers and our customers. We all saw what greed did for our Banks.

  41. Fairer Fees says:

    Letsbookrooms is a small team of which 1 is a hotelier, we have however seen the trends in online booking and there is a clear gap in the market for a portal to connect customers and hotels directly and therefore avoiding commission to online guys who use the tactic’s listed on the site in order to divert customers from booking direct as has been stated in previous posts.

    Having asked the hotelier, they confirm they use Bsi,Expotel, Capita and others and are very happy with their level of commission charged as it is a sensible level and they provide a good service to consumer and hotelier alike.

    There is no agenda other than getting the industry together and creating a funded portal of good value to all.

  42. anonymous says:

    Having read this site, I think the point is not the business model its the level of charging. Sky will reduce your your fee if you threaten to leave and a lot of insurance brokers now work on fixed fees.

    If these guys can make money by charging £54.00 a year to loads of hotels then good on them as they will be saving you and other hotels that £1000’s of pounds of commision, what would you rather pay?

    In fact why don’t not just charge a flat fee? Probably because they spend so much money on trying to drive business to their site

  43. anonymous says:

    We are a small privately owned hotel in Perthshire and have noticed that over the last years more and more of the bookings are directed to or Late Rooms rather than coming direct to ourselves. We do not object to paying a commission between 6/8% that will still make them plenty of profits, but 15% is not justifiable for the amount of work being done. This extra revenue could help us to do more refurbishment work in our hotel or engage another member of staff and thereby helping our own local economy instead of filling the coffers of some greedy corporate in the States. We are very much in support of this campaign and hope many more hoteliers will join – all we want is fairer fees.

  44. anonymous says:

    Well said fellow hoteler! go on, tell us what’s your real motive!
    If you are a hotelier why don’t you tell your customers to book directly with you so you don’t have to pay commission? Why you don’t take on Expotel, BSI etc…

    I have been using laterooms, active and expedia for years I found them excellent so move on and try to make money by working hard….. I don’t suppose you know what hard work is.

    Another hotelier from Glasgow (large branded hotel)

  45. anonymous says:

    We should all give our full support to this campaign
    15% commission is sheer greed and way over the top, and they tag onto our websites to channel our customers through their high commission sites without our permission. & Laterooms THE GAME IS UP this campaign is gathering momentum

  46. anonymous says:

    We use but really don’t get too much business from them unless we pay even more commission than 15%! If we up our commission we suddenly start to get bookings.

    Whilst I think they are a good source of advertising our rooms I think that the commission is far too high and they seem to be the only ones gaining from this recession.

    I asked if I could come out of the advert and just keep my own and they said that I have to write to them because their agreement with can not be changed. What about their agreement with me!

    I think it is high time that we all clubbed together to try to get a fairer commission. At 8% they will still be making tons of money.

  47. anonymous says:

    This is their business model and the way they make money. If you don’t like it don’t do business with them. Same as Sky TV and in a way the travel agents we book our holidays with.

    The hoteliers need to get their act together and offer good service and quality product as this is the only way to win business and make profit.

    What is your motive, take the big blue chip company on or make money for yourself? I think make money for yourself!

    Finally, I pay commission for my insurance broken and is worth every penny. You only realise the benefit of this kind of companies if something goes wrong, then you appreciate their role more.

    From a small hotelier in Buckinghamshire who wants more business from laterooms and

  48. anonymous says:

    Have been working with Active Hotels since around 1998 and over the years comissions have continued to rise to an unnaceptable level.

    It is more recently over the last few years though that guests have arrived at the hotel still in full belief that they have booked direct through the hotels own website and when I tell them they have come through a 3rd party agent they struggle to accept this, still in belief that they booked direct having searched for the hotel name.

    This turns out to be related to the fact that were pay per click advertising on my hotel name, stealing 15% of our business that we would have got anyway. This has now been rectified as we have asked them to remove us from this form of advertising.

    We do need to stand together and help to fight against these comissions and have them brought to an acceptable level.

  49. anonymous says:

    What a great site and so correct about keeping it local. These guys who are charging an incredible 15% or even more are so out of order and lining their own pockets in some foreign land. Booking direct is best and everyone should know that. I always check the hotels own website or call and get a better deal than on or everytime.

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