As we were doing our 9-week rapid tour of western Europe, I was offered some credits to try out the booking site TravelPony.com. I have my old standbys, but it’s always nice to check out another site and see what deals you can find. The timing worked out well for us to give it a whirl as we prepared to head to Marseille.
The site is really geared more for people whose budget is in the mid to high range. Budget travelers won’t find accommodations within their range.
Unfortunately, you also have to register via email or Facebook to even look at prices, locations, etc., which I think is an odd policy when the competitor sites can be easily searched without registration.
TravelPony arranges results in an interesting fashion. One column is for top deals, ostensibly for those people who are interested in the size of the discount more than the bottom line price. Some of these deals are quite a big difference when compared to some other sites like Orbitz, Agoda, CheapTickets, etc., so it’s worth giving it a go.
Another column is marked “Standard.” Their FAQs don’t explain what this represents, and I’m not really quite sure either to be honest. I see the same properties from the other columns appearing in this one.
“Upscale” seems to be rather self explanatory. If you’re a 4- and 5-star resort kind of traveler, you’ll want to click on this column immediately and peruse away.
All searches will give you a market comparison so you can see what deals are being fond on other sites. The initial search screen provides 2 sites for comparison, but if you click on a property you’ll see a much larger list.
One thing I like about the other sites is being able to filter by amenities. For instance, WiFi is always important to Tigger and me, so any property not offering it won’t be an option. TravelPony does not offer this type of filter, and property descriptions aren’t always the most helpful.
When people are using the web to search for lodging, they want to be able to easily skim to get to the properties they’re interested in. Amenities are usually a big deal for travelers, and there is no quick way to know what a hotel or resort offers.
Another nice feature is an interactive map (supplied by Google Maps) at the bottom of each property’s page. While other sites offer maps, they’re usually an extra click or two and not always as convenient. With TravelPony, it’s right there so you can see what’s nearby, how far away it is from things like the beach, etc.
Once you’re ready to do a booking, it’s pretty straightforward. You can readily see the breakdown of the cost, including taxes, which I like. Cancellation policies are clearly written for you on the same page, so you can review them before hitting the purchase button.
In fact, you have to scroll past the cancellation information before you can even submit your booking. I really like the bare bones format for these policies. There really is no room for confusion, which is great.
The process after booking is very similar to what other sites provide, and it all went pretty smoothly.
- Good selection
- Site is pretty easy to use and visually uncluttered
- Ability to view properties in the luxury range quickly and easily.
- Often cheaper than other sites for midrange and luxury properties.
- A locked front door. You can’t view anything without registering via email or Facebook.
- Inability to filter by amenities.
- Descriptions are in paragraph form, so you have to read the full description to discover whether or not the property offers what you’re looking for.
- Budget travelers are completely left out.