Travel Pony: A Silly Name That Could Save You Some Serious Travel Dollars

Travel Pony Home Page

There’s a new social hotel booking site that we’ve heard a lot about in the past few weeks. Travel Pony was launched last year and claims to save you 40 to 70% on hotel rooms.

Here’s the theory.

TravelPony says that they can offer cheaper prices by keeping their costs low. Unlike the big hotel booking sites (which sometimes spend 40% of their budget on flashy ads), TravelPony has a minimal advertising budget. Instead, Travel Pony relies on users to share their deals on Facebook and other social media. They use the money they save on advertising to bring you cheaper prices.

But does Travel Pony really save you any money?

I signed in and tested their search results. Turns out they ponied up (couldn’t resist that, sorry), and were often a fair bit cheaper than the big name travel booking sites they compared against.

Throwdown Number 1: Vancouver

The Westin Bayshore

Right on the water, this hotel gets stellar user reviews. It’s walking distance to Robson Street and Stanley Park, has indoor and outdoor pools and rooms include wireless Internet access.

The Winner: TravelPony, with a rate of $158. The cheapest competitor was: $207.

TravelPony Vancouver Westin Bayshore

Throwdown Number 2: New York City

Fairfield Inn by Marriott Long Island City 

A hotel just minutes from Manhattan with a complementary shuttle to the subway? Heck, yes. The rate includes a free continental breakfast, free high speed internet and an outdoor patio.

The Winner: TravelPony, with a rate of $122. The cheapest competitor: $174.

TravelPony New York Fairfield Inn

Throwdown Number 3: Las Vegas

Westin Las Vegas Hotel Casino

The Westin is an  upscale hotel with its own casino, spa, Starbucks (vente skinny moccachino, here I come) and its own restaurant.

The Winner: TravelPony, with a rate of $129. The cheapest competitor: $198.

TravelPony Las Vegas Westin Las Vegas Hotel Casino

 

Once we got our rates, we verified the prices TravelPony listed for their competitors and every one we checked seemed accurate.

TravelPony’s new, so there are a few things to note.

Right now, it seems they’re focusing on larger markets, so you may not be able to find every city or town in their search. To give you an example, our search for Vancouver pulled up only five results, but in every case, TravelPony’s prices were significantly lower than the listed competition.

We also noted that they tend to deal more with the higher end hotels so getting a cut rate deal on a low end hotel isn’t their forte. Of course, when you can stay at a 5 star hotel for the price of a 2 star you won’t find us complaining.

Finally, we didn’t scour the net to see if we could find any cheaper prices at other sites not listed in their price comparison however since they usually include most major players you can be sure that even if you’re not getting the absolute lowest price, you’re probably still getting a good deal.

To start trying Travel Pony, just sign in with your email or Facebook.

Give it a try, you might just find a great deal!

Want more? Some other helpful posts on how to save money on travel:

50 Responses

  1. Kungphoo

    That is great.. i always look to save as much as i can when traveling so we can do other things.. I have stayed at that fairfield marriot..

  2. Petro Neagu

    I actually like the name, it’s cute :) And I’m definitely going to give them a try next time I will need to travel, I never get any good travel deals.

  3. wini

    Looks like it would be helpful mostly for large cities and major tourist destinations. Not any of the offbeat places we go.

    • Charles Kosman

      Hey John, I think that depends on the hotel. We’ve gotten our hotel points at check-in at various times in the past using various third party sites and sometimes they’ll credit you and sometimes they won’t. I don’t believe you can get points online when you get your reservation. You need to talk to the people while checking in. You can call whichever hotel you’re booking directly to find out more.

  4. Sheik Mahmuut Al Abu Adran

    Tried to book the Emperor´s suite at the “Hotel de Paris” in Monte Carlo for all next year. Did not get a discount through travelpony. Disapointing.

  5. Leica

    You’ve got a typo… “HotelPony”
    we all know what you mean though so it’s cool. :)

    • Charles Kosman

      Oops. Thanks Leica, it’s been corrected. Interesting point, I tried hotelpony.com and it forwarded me to their site. Someone was thinking ahead. :)

  6. Ric Garrido

    In my analysis, the rates shown on TravelPony.com for OTA competitors were nearly always higher than what I found when going to those sites.

    • Charles Kosman

      That’s interesting Ric, we didn’t find that the rates were much different than what they posted. We always check multiple sites when we book anything so that won’t change in the future. Since TravelPony had good rates when we searched, it’s definitely on our list of sites to check.

      We have found times where the best rate anywhere was actually after we walked in the door and asked at the front counter how much for a night. The problem with that is there are no guarantees of getting a room. We’ve also booked rooms online from our phone while standing at the check-in counter when the hotel refused to match the best price we found. Always awkward but a deal is a deal! ;)

    • Charles Kosman

      Shaun, always hard to compare a bid to a guaranteed cost for a specific hotel. Bids depend on availability and how desperate a hotel is to fill it’s rooms. The price they’ll accept can change hourly and definitely changes depending on the season, if there’s a big local event coming up, etc.

      You also don’t know exactly which hotel you’re bidding on with Priceline though you can sometimes figure out which one by comparing the area, rating, amenities and so forth. No matter what, it’s always a gamble though.

      We also haven’t always had the best experiences with bids from Priceline and stayed in a few hotels over the years that I wish we had dropped a few extra dollars to stay where we hoped we’d win. There’s definitely something to say for TravelPony and similar sites and simply selecting the hotel you want and getting a great price without the uncertainty of putting in a lower number and hoping for the best.

      That said, you can sometimes get great deals by bidding. The kicker is you have to be able to live with whichever hotel Priceline chooses, not you. These days we’d rather choose.

  7. N Dundu

    Thank you for share this travel tips. It help me arrange budget for traveling.

  8. vipin

    SO i just put the articles claim to test….. this seems like a cheap publicity stunt. I have booked three hotel for a 15 day trip to boston, new york and Atlantic city. The hotels have exactly the same rate as i got from booking.com. My case might be an exception. so please post your experience

    • Charles Kosman

      Vipin, prices fluctuate all the time for hotels from site to site and day to day. Did Travel Pony include a price for booking.com that was different than what booking.com said? Did you have a special discount code that you were using at booking.com? Did you verify the quoted prices within a short timeframe of each other? I’m sure Travel Pony won’t always be the cheapest however the only problem I have with a site is if the comparison numbers they post aren’t at all what they claim. That said, I always compare a few sites just to be safe before I book. Another question, even if the rates were the same as booking.com, were they still one of the best deals around?

  9. Datuk Ahmad

    Their comparative prices DO NOT include taxes/fees. So will you have to pay these on top of their quoted price?

    Please clarify.

    • Micki Kosman

      Hi Krikhi,

      No, I don’t see Reston, VA listed anywhere. They mostly seem to have larger cities for now. It’ll be interesting to see if they start to add smaller cities as well.

  10. Paul Taylor

    I am recently retired and looking forward to continuing regular travel abroad.
    My focus in the future will be more on South America, Asia and India.

  11. Dan Schultz

    I tested it with hotels in Berlin, Germany and compared US$ prices displayed by TravelPony with EUR prices on display at the largest German booking website (hrs.de). The TravelPony prices were considerably lower, but you cannot be quite sure which exchange rate the hotels will calculate, as they will write their bill in EUR and not in US$.

  12. Napoleon C. Villanueva

    Will certainly try this website to stretch the value of money for the hotel expenses

  13. Sarah Lee

    Thanks for the tips..I’ll be sure to try these next time I book.if you must use a travel booking site, AVOID e-dreams like the proverbial plague! They will happily charge your credit card however you will still find yourself without a booking. It is hazardous when you have onward bookings and accommodation, as there is an inevitable domino effect with these.

    Trying to reason with them is also fruitless, you can forget your refunds. E-dreams is even more dastardly in their suspicious business practice than Ryanair. And they take some beating!
    Good luck!
    Sarah Lee recently posted..Dive Into Shapes GiveawayMy Profile

    • Charles Kosman

      Thanks for the tip Sarah! We’ve never booked anything through e-dreams before and we’ll be cautious about trying them in the future.

  14. David goldstein

    Await for you to arrive in London as hotels there are outrageously bad value .

  15. Manoj

    I am always looking for the methods to save money. thanks a lot for sharing this

  16. kazi shoeb

    I don’t think its always cheaper, I compared other travel portals and found same or cheaper rates than TravelPony.

    • Charles Kosman

      Kazi, it’s always cheaper than the other sites it displays however I doubt that it would always be the cheapest rates on the net. There’s just too much competition out there and prices fluctuate all the time. That’s why we always compare multiple sites before booking anything.

      This post was written simply to tell people about a new site we found and to verify that the prices it quotes for other competitors is accurate. We love that it displays the prices of other market leading sites and that when comparing prices we don’t need to bother checking any of the other sites it lists. That being said, always check a few other sites not listed first just to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

  17. John Smith

    Has anyone compared it to Agoda?

    Or Hotels Combined?

    • Charles Kosman

      John, we’ve compared it against both and sometimes one is cheaper and sometimes another. That’s why it’s nice to have another site in the mix to help find the cheapest prices and to make sure each site stays competitive. I’m anxious for them to create an app so we can quickly check prices on the go like some of the other major sites out there.