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The following branded content post is brought to you by TravelPony. In this instance, TravelPony’s staff asked me to give their site an honest review, warts and all. Frankly, I think their site is great, which is why I agreed to this post. All opinions shared in this piece, as always, are my own.
I fancy myself a bit of a travel deal ninja. I love running around and finding deals that seem hidden to the rest of the world, and I rejoice when I find an amazing one (remember my $280 flight from Dubai to Tokyo?).
So when a new site comes around and tells me that their site brings in cheaper hotel rates than the big sites, I’m intrigued.
The team at TravelPony contacted me and asked me if I were interested in running a review of their site in the form of a post. I get dozens of offers like these a week and most weeks turn every single one down — but TravelPony was different. This was a site that had something I wanted — lower rates for hotels.
I decided to put TravelPony to the test, comparing their rates to those of Kayak, the site that usually finds me the lowest rates on the web. Here are three varying itineraries:
Boston, Massachusetts. October 18-20, 2013. Two adults, one room. A fall foliage weekend — definitely a popular time to visit the city, just over a month away. The Doubletree is a good midrange hotel in the heart of downtown Boston.
TravelPony: $254 per night ($222 plus $32 taxes and fees)
Kayak via Kayak.com: $399.48 per night ($349 plus 49.48 taxes and fees)
Holy crap. That’s savings of nearly $150 per night. That is insane.
London, England. September 13-16, 2013. One adult, one room. Last minute booking — during London’s best summer in years! The Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge is a luxury hotel on Sloane Street — you can’t do much better than that for location.
TravelPony: $410 per night ($410 per night — no taxes, no fees!)
Agoda via Kayak.com: $433.26 per night ($361 per night plus $72.21 hotel tax)
Once again — it’s cheaper through TravelPony. Color me even more impressed.
Las Vegas, Nevada. December 30, 2013-January 3, 2014. Two adults, one room. NEW YEAR’S IN VEGAS. That’s pretty much the ultimate hotel test. The Palms is one of my favorite party spots in Vegas (in part because celebrities always seem to be there!) and spending New Year’s there would be a dream come true.
TravelPony: $137 per night ($122 plus $15 taxes and fees)
Kayak via Kayak.com: $215.02 per night ($175.02 plus $40 taxes and fees)
First of all, the Palms is that cheap over New Year’s?! BOOK THAT. That is a great rate anytime, let alone on Vegas’s biggest party night of the year.
And second, once again, TravelPony has offered a rate much lower than my usual cheap booking site.
How is this possible?
TravelPony says their rates are this low because they can’t show them to the public — only to their users. You join the site either by using Facebook — and they never post anything to your wall without your permission, nor do they use deceptive means to use your profile to spam others, unlike certain other travel sites that shall remain nameless — or by creating a new profile.
The site’s emphasis is on social media. If you find a deal, they ask if you’d like to tell your friends via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If you don’t want to share, they allow you to check a box reading “I promise to tell my friends about this amazing deal.”
They are banking heavily on word of mouth and using social media to do so. It’s an interesting idea — but to be honest, it’s possible to opt entirely out of using any social media with TravelPony, and I’m curious as to how that will affect its bottom line.
TravelPony doesn’t give you unlimited hotels — it just pulls from a selection of its hotel partners. For example, I was only able to find two hotels in London on those last-minute dates.
The hotels are primarily mid-range to high-end. The site divides them into two camps — Standard and Upscale — and I saw 2-4 star hotels in the former, 4-5 star hotels in the latter.
At this point in time, TravelPony is only live in 24 cities — 22 US cities, London, and Paris. That’s quite limited and because of that, I sadly won’t get a chance to use TravelPony for myself for quite awhile (I get back to the US in early April). I hope to see them expand in the future.
Additionally, the site only allows you to book out six months in advance. For most people, that won’t be an issue, but I’m someone who likes to search as far in advance as possible, just to get ideas of pricing, and I found it inconvenient to those needs of mine.
When to Use TravelPony
If you have a specific hotel in mind in one of the cities they cover, definitely check out TravelPony to see if they have an even lower rate posted. TravelPony is also good if you’re looking to book a midrange to luxury hotel and open to suggestions.
If you’re looking for accommodation on the low end — specifically, the cheapest accommodation possible — TravelPony is probably not the best source for you. It’s worth checking, though, because you never know what you can find.
Will I be using TravelPony in the future? You can bet on it. Any site that gets me much lower rates than my go-to booking site will definitely be seeing business from me in the future.
16 thoughts on “TravelPony Review: I Can’t Believe How Cheap These Hotels Are”
That is a ridiculous amount of savings! Would love to see this website go global.
Looks amazing. I wish they did airfare too!
This is great! I’ll definitely be checking this site out, always looking for a deal!
You are the second blogger I know of now that’s talked about Travel Pony. I’m so intrigued. I’m actually going to Boston a couple days before those dates you typed in. I’ll definitely be checking this site out before I book elsewhere. Thanks for sharing!
Happy travels 🙂
While the cheaper rates sound great, I’m curious as to how it competitive it is when you consider the amount of choice available on other sites (a point you raised).
All three hotels may have been cheaper than Kayak, but did Kayak offer a better deal at another hotel that wasn’t offered on TravelPony? For example, is there another good, midrange hotel in downtown Boston available for less than $254 on another site?
That’s just the budget traveller in me that considers every option to find the best deal.
But I’m definitely intrigued and if I’m ever looking for a hotel in a big city, I’ll keep Travelpony in mind.
PS Í really enjoy your review posts. I always feel like I’m getting your genuine opinion, which of course all reviewers promise but not everyone delivers. So thank you for that 🙂
Wow. That’s a different approach to use social media. Pretty interesting.
Yes, an interesting concept. I too hope they go global and who knows maybe even airfare in the future??
definitely good to know about! I’m always looking for a good hotel deal! Thanks for the info.
I have never heard of them before. I am amazed how much cheaper they are though. Will definitely check them out for my next trip.
OMG. this is so great! You’re blog is so inspirational and this is just pushing me over the edge! lol I’m living in France right now, and I want to go to Rome, but I’m going to have go alone. I’m gonna man up and do it for the first time ever, and I’m gonna use this website!
Wow.. This is a great addition to my arsenal of saving-tips. Thanks for sharing.
But, are they similar to the Groupon for the travel industry, trying to negotiate prices with the providers based on demand? In which case, the savings really depend number of purchases!
That’s pretty fascinating that they’re cutting out costs by relying almost entirely on social media for advertising. It definitely seems risky, but I like it–it’s like they’re selling on the street corners of the web. I hope it works, and I’ll have to keep an eye on them.
Good resource for hotels.
The most cheapest thing when traveling alone though are still dorm beds, and I think hostelworld and hostelbookers still cover those options best.
Hey people, did you see some new cool App that will come soon? I think that will be very useful for us travelers, it is about connecting directly with people, with locals or somebody with same interests and lots of good things. I found that at http://www.funility.com.
Thanks for the great info. I checked out Travel Pony’s prices but have to say Priceline’s Express Deals are much better (i.e. Hotel in Charlotte, NC for $55 on Priceline; same hotel on Travel Pony was $99). Still, it’s nice to have options, so thanks for the tip.
I’ve been following Travel Pony for about six months, and just this past week used it to book a room at the Wyndam Grand Chicago Riverfront (formerly Hotel 71) smack in the middle of the Chicago Loop using Travel Pony and I got such an amazing deal (and believe me when I say, that I, too, pride myself in being a travel deal ninja, so after already having done a couple of days of reserach, I knew it was an unbeatable deal for that weekend) that I was a little afraid that the site might be a fraud (thanks for your review confirming it’s not!). But I’ll also offer up an amateur-tip: Do a google search for a coupon code before checking out (one of my favorite tricks for ANY internet shopping). I managed to get another $25 off my total simply by taking a few extra minutes to experiment, which will make my husband’s an my anniversary dinner in Chicago all the more sweet!