This ski season may be the best on record for people looking for deals. But, where does one look? Of course every online travel portal suggests their engine, their prices, their service is the best – but which one really is? The answer is, “it’s anyone’s guess,” if we are talking about finding the best deal for you. The fact is, for the average online travel shopper, it appears there is a huge disparity where trips are concerned still. Let’s take a look at a casual ski vacation search.
First we have to qualify how we perform a search for a last minute ski vacation. We don’t want Expedia dropping in to accuse us oof partiality or unfairness. For most people doing Internet searches is just another habitual pattern in life, ask Google or ask Kayak, and everything in between, many people just trust to their own methods. So here is the method we chose.
- Search Google for Ski Vacation Deals Europe
- Target desired Bulgarian ski resort
- Search via Expedia
- Search via LastMinute
- Search via Kayak
- Make all searches from London’s Gatwick with same variables
And this is about as fair as any random traveler will be when looking for a ski destination. In fact, most of them will not take as much time. Face it, we learn to trust certain methods and hardly ever change unless our method is so wrong we cannot deny it. Ergo, the reason for this post – we are all so wrong at times. Here is where we are headed (image below)
In the images below you will see the various random searches for the Pamporovo ski resort in Bulgaria – a superb place to find a ski vacation getaway. My first result came logically from a general Google search for ski resort deals, the site Igluiski actually returned one of the best results as you can see below. 209 GBP for flight and hotel equates to about $ 322 US – not bad at all for 7 days per person is it?
As you might surmise, IGLUSKI is not exactly a household name. But where great prices and simplicity are concerned, at least the results appear to be superb – and as we shall see, almost unbeatable on the face of this vacation search. Looking at the next result, this “disparity” I spoke of became clear from the onset, Balkan Holidays ski packages seem like a good deal, but are they? Nearly twice the rate of the previous deal does not seem so competitive to me. Of course there may be some “apples versus oranges” issues – but not without some in depth investigation.
Just when we thought we had found the very best ski deal in Bulgaria, to our surprise the very same accommodations and dates were available even more cheaply at Inghams. Yes, we beat $322 for a week on the Bulgarian slopes by nearly $20 as you can see below – at exactly the same ski lodge no less.
And for those of you inclined to casually head on over to Expedia? Well, you may be able to find a great deal to somewhere, but a reasonable search on Expedia may not be your best bet. As you can see below, we could only find (easily that is) accommodations in Sophia, which is many leagues from the slopes at Pamporovo. With the difference in price you could easily outfit you and your ski mate in news gear. Expedia may be expedient, but is is a far cry from being the best deal on the Web.
As for other huge players in the online travel booking industry, I took a quick look at Kayak and found a decent price with superb booking filters etc. Just under $500 is not bad, but like the Expedia case, Kayak makes it a bit tough to find something close to the slopes – these rates are for Sophia too.
Last but certainly not least, we decided to visit LastMinute, maybe the world’s coolest last minute travel booking site. What did we run across there? Well, maybe the most trustworthy and relevant deal out there. The image below shows a good price for a nice hotel, with a shuttle bus to the slopes – and best of all we did not even have to try and specify all this. LastMinute has to be the best travel search in the UK – at least based on this search. $453 per person, right down the road from your ski fantasy, this is what I would consider a good deal.
Let me end by saying this was not a very scientific test of any website’s ability to offer up the best ski deals to customers. That being said though, consider this. Anyone looking online might have performed their search similarly. And what if any client relied on Expedia alone for example? Sure it is possible to find a better deal, even on Expedia perhaps, but this is not the point. Your money, no matter how much of it you have, should not be wasted for expediency sake – let alone so a corporation can line its pockets.
As a suggestion, we suggest refining your search methods to further ensure you get the best deal possible, that is until someone comes up with a fool proof answer. Use Google, take a few minutes to find several offers, then do the research to separate the apples and oranges – next we will show you the forest for the trees.