Travel Pony – A new hotel booking company

Share the Pony!I first heard of Travel Pony a while back when I saw a friend had posted on Facebook that they saved some money on hotels.  The idea behind Travel Pony is that you do all of their marketing work for them (i.e. tell people about the site) and in return they give you some of their marketing budget back as a discount on hotel rooms.  Power to the people and all of that.  I saw an ad for it online the other day so decided I would give it a try for an upcoming trip to Madrid in July for MrsTravelFreak and I.

In order to see the special rates that Travel Pony offer, you need to sign up for an account.  The easiest way I found to do this was simply to link my Facebook account.  The process took seconds and was very easy.

Travel Pony pic 1

I could then select the city and dates that I needed using the drop-down menus. Cities to select include all US states, along with some key locations in Canada, Europe and Mexico.  Travel Pony is a start-up company and there is a disclaimer that explains they are launching new cities weekly; luckily for me Madrid was one of the cities currently available.  I entered the details and searched away.

Travel Pony 2

Three pages of hotels were listed with the highest % saving at the top.  Travel Pony seems to target the luxury end of hotels, with the best deals being available on 4 and 5 stars which suited me perfectly.  The best saving was at the Ritz hotel (which I know that MrsTravelFreak would just love), which was showing a rate of $295 per night and an 18.5% saving against competitors.  This was a fully flexible rate.

Travel Pony 3

I decided to check the displayed rate at the Hotel Club (the cheapest competitor) and sure enough, the rate was correct – Travel Pony was 18.5% cheaper.  Just for fun I decided to call the Ritz directly to ask for their price on the room; the best rate they could offer was €330 or $446!

Being cynical by nature, I decided to do some of my own research too.  Trivago is a comparison website which provides a pretty good starting point for comparing hotel prices, so I entered the hotel name and dates into the site and started my search.

Travel Pony 4

The best available rate here was £180 or $295 which matched the Travel Pony rate, although:

  • The rate could not be cancelled without charge
  • The rate was only available for a twin room and not a double which was available on Travel Pony

The rate (shown in the screen shot as the next cheapest option) was also a fully pre-paid, restricted rate.

If I were going to make this booking, I would have booked with Travel Pony for the flexibility (and $25 sign-up bonus).

I wanted to try another comparison so I went back to the list of hotels that Travel Pony had recommended and selected the next option which was the Hotel Opera.

Travel Pony 7

With a Travel Pony rate of $135, I once again compared the rate with Trivago.

Travel Pony 6

Trivago showed Expedia as the best deal, with a rate of £71 or $116, which of course was less than what Travel Pony quoted.  Clicking through to Expedia however brought out a some familiar differences:

  • Expedia could only offer Twin bedded rooms whereas Double rooms were available on Travel Pony
  • The Expedia rate was an advanced purchase rate with full pre-payment required and no changes or cancellations allowed, while the Travel Pony rate could be cancelled up until the day before arrival with no penalty

The cheapest competitor who offered the same room and cancellation rules, was Prestigia, who came in at £78 or $127. Although this is $8 less than the rate that Travel Pony quoted, I spent at least 30 minutes of my life finding the deal.  Factor in the $25 sign up bonus on offer and Travel Pony was an easy winner on this booking too.

I will use Travel Pony again when searching for 4 and 5 star hotels in major cities; maybe you should do the same?

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