Six months ago I wrote about a new hotel price comparison site called Travel Pony as it was expanding its service to more markets and more hotels (“New Hotel Booking Site: TravelPony.com – extra savings for Facebook users“). The site promises to give better deals for users of Facebook if they use their profile to sign into the site.
I have kept an eye on the site as it continued to grow, and always look there for hotel offers in destinations they cover when ever I am travelling. They now cover 20 markets and offer deals at over 2,000 hotels. The big appeal for me is that hey seem to be able to offer better savings, even on upscale hotels, than other sites. They make it easy to know this fact by showing what their savings are versus the prices for the same hotel on competitive sites. This saves you having to search across multiple sites when looking for a great deal.
I have three top tip tips and insights about the site based on my experiences over the last few months and by asking TravelPony.com for their insider tips on how to find the best deals for hotels. Here they are:
Tip #1: Sort Prices by Savings. This is my preferred way of looking at the prices on TravelPony.com. The first screenshot below shows the search I did for a planned weekend break in Barcelona. You will see that the prices of the hotels are ranked by the percentage savings TravelPony.com offer versus other sites. If you click on the “market price comparison” link for each hotel you then can see the prices offered by other sites (The second screen grab shows this, where you can see the prices for the Hesperia Presidente hotel where TravelPony.com offer a 15,1% discount to other sites). This way of ranking hotels helps a great deal when looking for bargains. You can also sort the results by price, but I prefer to see where the biggest savings are!
Tip #2: The Best Time To Book. Hotel prices move up and down based on clever price optimisation programs that will adjust prices based on demand and how many empty rooms hotels expect to have. Prices can be more volatile the closer it gets to check-in deadlines. Rates can go up or down significantly. TravelPony told me that they recommend people book three to six weeks in advance so they get a good deal and the hotel they may really want to stay in. However, you should keep an eye on prices as you may find the fare goes down the closer to your trip – and you could get an even better deal! I like to be organized and so I tend to book in that time period. However, I look for bookings that can be cancelled or changed if my travel plans move or get changed.
Tip #3: Look for the Cancellation Policy when Booking. Linked to my tip above, the advantage that I have seen on TravelPony is that all the hotels I have looked at offer a rate and booking that can be cancelled up to 72 hours before check-in. The exception they tell me are hotels in vacation resorts during the key holiday seasons. So watch out for this. You never know when something may force you to change your trip and booking a deal that can be cancelled means you may be able to get a better deal – but also saves you the hassle of trying to claim back for cancellation through your travel insurance (if you have any).
I hope these tips and insights help. Let me know about your experiences using the site and any tips you have by leaving a comment in the post comments.