What Different Sales Channels Cost in Europe

compareI see over and over people discussing which sales channels are best. Of course there is no simple answer – one man’s meat is another’s poison. But still we can make some generalizations to guide us in the right direction. Here is my experience from my perch at Apartmentsapart for our sales in one city: Brussels. We allow many other agents to resell our many properties so our data should make quite interesting reading. Bear in mind our own accommodation is based in European cities. You also won’t find Apartmentsapart in this list because obviously we sell disproportionately high numbers of our own properties.

Agent Share of Sales Commission
Booking.com 56.9% 15-18%
Airbnb 5.8% 3% + 6-12% for the customer
Expedia 5.8% 25-35%
Wimdu 1.8% 3% + 12% from customer
Orbitz 2.1% 25% – 35%
Housetrip 5.7% 12% from customer
Transhotel 2.5% 20-35%
Flipkey 3.5% Pay per lead
Only Apartments 3.6% 20% from customer
Google Places 2.1% free
Tourico 2.33% 25-35% from customer
WaytoStay 3.5% 20% from customer
Hotelbeds 2.4$ 25-35%
Suricata 1.8% 15%

Is this the whole story? No, but it’s a good indicator. Booking.com is the clear leader in terms of volume, but you should remember that the rates you will achieve there are going to be your lowest. Customers on Booking.com tend to be looking for the lowest price and don’t seem to care to pay extra for a niche product like a Non-Hotel. You’ll likely achieve your best rates on the vacation rentals sites. Remember also that this is for Brussels, a north European destination. The Mediterranean locations sell much better through the specialist sites like Holiday Lettings and Owners Direct.

Take a look at those fees from the hotel agencies. Don’t they make your eyes water just reading them? 35%? Really? Housetrip gives a nice trade off between volume and commission, as does Airbnb, but remember with those sites – in most cases you need to make the sale to the customer yourself via text chat. Waytostay, Only Apartments,  Holiday Velvet and my company, Apartmentsapart (15% commission) take care of the who process for you, so along with Booking.com they represent the best value full turnkey reservations service.


If you don’t mind spending the time to “sell” your own bookings, then Airbnb, Housetrip, Wimdu are good options. If you prefer the customer on a plate then Booking.com and the online booking agencies might suit you better. Looking at those rates from the other hotel specialists who don’t bring much traffic anyhow, I think it’s better to give them a wide berth.