As a budget traveler, I prefer hostels (or Couchsurfing) whenever I travel. After all, budget is my primary consideration so I can travel farther and longer.
I admit that there are times, however, when the comfort of staying in hotels is irresistible, especially when I’ve been on the road for some time. There’s nothing like having a big room to yourself–no noisy roommates, no scrambling for the best bunk.
Such a luxury, however, has to be paid.
A couple of months ago, I was asked to review TravelPony.com, a hotel booking site that promised to give the best deals on hotels. At that time, I had been in Bangkok for three months, and that was a really long time to stay in one place in hostels.
I grabbed the chance and was glad I did. Using TravelPony was pretty easy, and with the credits I was given, I was able to spend my last three nights in Bangkok in a four-star hotel. What a way to end my Thailand stay!
The reason TravelPony can afford to offer cheaper prices than the other hotel booking sites is that they spend only a small amount on advertising. They ask users instead to share their deals on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. So it’s using digital word of mouth to spread the news about the site, thereby giving the savings back to the user.
Signing up at TravelPony is easy enough; just use your Facebook login. If you don’t have one, you can also use your email address.
I put in the dates I wanted, the city, and then I ranked the hotels according to price. After all, I wanted to get the best bang for my buck.
Aside from price, I also looked at the hotel’s location. There’s an interactive map when you click on the property so you’ll clearly see what’s nearby. Based on the results, I chose Kingston Suites; it’s walking distance to the BTS and Terminal 21, my favorite mall in Bangkok.
When I clicked on the property, I saw the rate compared with the other hotel booking sites. The difference was indeed substantial! Using TravelPony, I only spent $168 for three nights, compared to $228 in other sites.
After clicking “Book It,” I was taken to the booking page which was quite simple in presentation and layout. I liked it, as I could easily see the information I needed. Using TravelPony was indeed very easy.
To summarize, here are the reasons why I liked TravelPony and why I would recommend it:
1. Login is easy–when you use your Facebook account to login, there’s no need to check your email just to confirm your sign-up.
2. The site is simple to use and the navigation is intuitive. You won’t get lost there. It’s also uncluttered, not like the other sites which are full of ads.
3. The rates I had seen are indeed the cheapest. I couldn’t believe I’d spent three nights in a four-star hotel for less than $200.
4. You can save more when you share the deals on your social media sites. If you’re staying in hotels a lot, this can mean major savings!
5. Checking in at the hotel was very easy. They didn’t ask me for my booking number or for a printout of my booking. Loved the service at the hotel, too.
What I didn’t like about it:
1. The selection of hotels is limited to mid-range and luxury properties, none cheaper than $50 per day. This automatically excludes budget travelers like me.
2. You can’t filter by location. When I was choosing where to stay, for example, I had to click on every individual property to see its location in the map. It would have been easier if they had that feature.
3. When I used it (May 2014), there was no way to filter hotel by amenities. I’m so glad to see there’s one now! It makes it so much easier to choose.
Would I recommend TravelPony? Yep. I’ll definitely use the site again when I get fed up staying in hostels when I travel.
How about you? How do you save money on hotels when you travel?