To start my #SocialCurrency themed articles where your social following can actually be converted in to real currency towards hotel stays, I focus in on TravelPony which is an interesting social media hotel booking site that does not require you to have much of a following at all and will still give you a discount on your hotel stay as long as you share details of your booking with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
Simply login to TravelPony using your email address, browse the selection of hotels including the main chain hotels in London, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, but with no coverage of luxury bespoke hotels like Leading Hotels of the World and other high end establishments. When I searched for Monaco, the closest hotel was in Nice and there were a lot of 3 and 4 star but virtually no 5 star hotels. However the Grosvenor House London, a JW Marriott 5 star property comes in at $318 instead of $380+ on Travelocity and Hotels.com so the concept is sound as long as you are flexible on the hotel and you are looking for a big city location.
Once you have chosen, there is detailed information on each hotel so that you can see the saving that you’ll make by booking via TravelPony over other hotel engines. Once you’ve booked your hotel, you can tick boxes to share on twitter, facebook or linkedin, or you can tick the ‘Pony Promise’ box, and promise to share with a friend offline instead. And this is the flaw with TravelPony, there is no way that they can tell if you have shared and therefore this will limit the value of of the social coverage to the site and the hotels it features. TravelPony relies on word of mouth and people sharing for its marketing. This free marketing clearly works to an extent. Whether it works as well as serious marketing expenditure or could even replace standard forms of marketing remains to be seen. This kind of offering remains in it’s infancy.
What I do know is that TravelPony does seem to offer better prices as a result. Is social a sensible and new way for hotel sites to market themselves thus giving consumers cheaper hotel stays? In combination with a more generic marketing budget, the answer is a resounding yes.
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.