It’s important to look beyond the accounting at the bigger problem: Sure, looking solely at the percentages, it seems that poor old hoteliers are increasingly being exploited by the evil intermediaries. In fact, with very limited marketing capabilities, the majority of hotels would not be able to win such business for themselves even if customers were not being siphoned off by the OTAs. The big question is: do smaller hotels really understand the true cost of customer acquisition? From a marketing perspective, the reality is that filling a room without going through OTAs would be incredibly expensive for most hotels – much more than they currently pay in commission. Driving such business directly would demand that they invest in better websites and implement online marketing techniques such as search engine marketing and social media marketing just to let the customer know they even exist. But for a small hotel in Paris, for example, buying Google Ad Words for “Hotel Paris” would be much too expensive to be justified, even if they had the technical skills to do so in the first place. Many of these smaller hotels are thinking that in will cost them nothing to fill the rooms themselves. But in reality, they have to build the site, promote it, have a bookings engine and even then they are very likely not to sell due to weak merchandising skills that mean that most hotel websites have very low conversion rates. What these hotels also fail to consider is the opportunity cost of not paying such commissions and not getting this business from the travel agent community, online or otherwise. In such cases the cost would be equal to the room revenue, or 100%. Get the full story at France 24