Want more Thailand travel tips?
I’ve become a little spoiled these past few years. Thailand and Southeast Asia does that to you.
I got to used to cheap food, cheap transportation and cheap accommodation – I rarely spent more than $45 for a room…and even that was splurging, normally I was staying in places for $10-15 a night. I never made a huge effort to look for deals or find the lowest prices, except for a few times trying out fun boutique hotels in Bangkok, and rarely booked a room far in advance since I knew I could easily find something within my budget no matter where I was. Spoiled!
Coming back to the U.S., and now planning for five weeks in Europe, has been a bit of a shock. I mean, I knew everything was going to be more expensive…but WOW. One night in an average Seattle Marriott is more expensive than my monthly rent was in Chiang Mai. Ouch.
So, I’m now being more diligent at keeping an eye on deals and looking for ways to save money on hotel rooms, especially when I’m planning on booking a ‘traditional’ hotel and not staying in a guesthouse or trying out an apartment rental.
Enter Travel Pony.
Launched last year, the site prides itself on being able to offer cheaper room deals than other booking sites by putting their marketing budget back into customer pockets instead of spending big money on advertising. Instead, its looking to leverage social media to get the word out about the service and pass savings onnto you when you book a room. Not only are the rooms cheaper on Travel Pony than other booking or hotel sites, but there are also regular ways, like referring new members, to earn extra booking credits awarded to your account.
Testing it out, I looked at hotel listings for Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Seattle (since they were three places I was familiar with) and compared the prices I found on Travel Pony to the prices on the individual hotel websites. From what I saw, Travel Pony was cheaper every time, and not just by a couple of dollars.
For example, I’ve always wanted to spend a night at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa (formerly known as the Chedi). It’s a gorgeous 4-star property with an excellent restaurant that’s housed within the first British Consulate, a grand colonial-style building. It’s just cool. And expensive. On the hotel’s website a deluxe room is listed at $256 including all the taxes and breakfast.
On Travel Pony, the same room on the same dates, is listed at $179.20 including taxes. That’s a $76.80 difference – not too shabby! And I found similar savings in Bangkok and Seattle.
Of course, the site isn’t perfect, it’s a little clunky and there aren’t really hotel descriptions…although I know for a fact that the hotel descriptions on large booking sites are often written by people who know nothing about the property, so you’re not really missing out but instead have to do a little extra research to learn more about the individual properties. I’d rather do a couple more Google searches and save $75 though than have the site invest more money into descriptions!
Also, I’m assuming because it’s relatively new, the hotel offerings are limited (there were only seven hotels listed in Chiang Mai) and seem to be mainly for larger chain hotels such as Best Western, Grand Hyatt, Hilton, etc. If you’re looking for smaller, local places or boutique hotels, you won’t find many. But if you’re wanting to stay with some of the big brands, you’re sure to find some extra savings – it just depends on what you’re looking for. I know that I’m already eyeing some hotels in Paris for when I’m over there in a couple months…
Have you used Travel Pony before? What did you think? What are some other ways you’ve found to save money on hotel rooms? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your tricks!
Note: This post was written by me in conjunction with Travel Pony who gave me a credit to test out the site. As always, all opinions and recommendations are my own…and you can’t argue with the numbers!