Are Groupon Getaways good hotel deals? Here’s what we found

MarinaBaySandsPoolAt least in the United States, Groupon is the largest and most famous of the “daily deals” websites, and they have a whole section dedicated to travel deals. Groupon Getaways, as they are known, can range from one night in a hotel near your home to a multi-week package holiday to Europe or Asia including airfare.

The deals seem tempting at first glance, as they usually promise anywhere from 30% up to 75% off. But how good are these deals in reality? Since Groupon (to its credit) provides you with the actual hotel name as well as all terms and conditions on the offer page, it’s actually pretty easy to check to see how good these Groupon Getaway deals really are. So that’s what we did.

We also ran the numbers to see if LivingSocial Escapes are a good deal, with equally interesting results.

We checked prices on US hotels as well as Latin American resorts

To see how realistic the promised discounts were, we took a sample of 10 different hotels in different parts of the United States, as well as 5 different resorts in Latin America. We calculated the total Groupon price (which usually involves extra taxes), and then added in the “extras” (like dining credit or parking) to get the total value.

Then we scoured various travel-booking websites as well as the official websites of the hotels to find the best possible price for the exact same thing that Groupon was offering. We can’t say that 10 hotels and 5 resorts are enough to judge ALL Groupon Getaways, but they were enough to get a good sense of the range of bargains that might be available.

The conclusion (short version)

BeverlyWilshireIf you aren’t interested in the data and the subtleties involved I’m sure you are not alone. So the bottom line is this: Groupon Getaways for US hotels usually don’t deliver the full promised discount, but they are always the lowest price available, and often the savings are actually as huge as they claim.

As for the resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America, the results were mixed. At two all-inclusive resorts, the actual savings were only around 5%, while they were 31% at another. At two beach hotels, one offered a real world savings of 48% while the other actually offered a price that was almost double what was offered elsewhere.

>>>Check your local Groupon Getaways

More conclusions and advice are below the data

Groupon Getaway hotel deals in the United States

The following deals were all available in late October 2013, and we compared Groupon prices to the best prices found elsewhere on the internet for the exact same deal.

1 – The Manhattan At Times Square Hotel – Manhattan, NYC

1 night in standard king room

  • Groupon price*: $129.09
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $129.09
  • Best price elsewhere: $144.69
  • Groupon savings promise: 29%
  • Actual savings: 11%

*Offer price including all extra taxes and fees

2 – Revel Hotel – Atlantic City, NJ

One night in Ocean King room

  • Groupon price*: $115.14
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $115.14
  • Best price elsewhere: $159.06
  • Groupon savings promise: 44%
  • Actual savings: 28%

3 – Ramada Venice Resort – Venice, FL

1 night in standard room

  • Groupon price*: $72.80
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $72.80
  • Best price elsewhere: $108.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 50%
  • Actual savings: 33%

4 – Courtyard Marriott Downtown/Brickell Area – Downtown Miami

1 night in standard king room

  • Groupon price*: $142.38
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $142.38
  • Best price elsewhere: $179.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 30%
  • Actual savings: 20%

5 – Hotel Normandie Los Angeles – Los Angeles

1 night in king room

  • Groupon price*: $114.35
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $114.35
  • Best price elsewhere: $159.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 40%
  • Actual savings: 28%

6 – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV

2 nights in Tower King Room plus $50 dining credit

  • Groupon price*: $161.28
  • Extras included: $50.00
  • Total deal price: $111.28
  • Best price elsewhere: $180.95
  • Groupon savings promise: 54%
  • Actual savings: 39% (including extras)

7 – Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa – South Lake Tahoe, CA

1 night in a queen room

  • Groupon price*: $85.80
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $85.80
  • Best price elsewhere: $134.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 42%
  • Actual savings: 36%

8 – Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn – Moab, UT

1 night in room with 2 queen beds

  • Groupon price*: $76.11
  • Extras included: $0.00
  • Total deal price: $76.11
  • Best price elsewhere: $111.44
  • Groupon savings promise: 39%
  • Actual savings: 32%

9 – Inn at Seaside – Seaside, OR

2 weeknights at hotel w/aquarium passes, $25 dining credit, and $10 arcade credit.

  • Groupon price*: $162.41
  • Extras included: $51.00
  • Total deal price: $111.41
  • Best price elsewhere: $216.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 49%
  • Actual savings: 48% (including extras)

10 – Red Lion Portland, Convention Center – Portland, OR

1 night plus parking and bottle of wine

  • Groupon price*: $85.88
  • Extras included: $35.00
  • Total deal price: $50.88
  • Best price elsewhere: $99.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 31%
  • Actual savings: 49% (including extras)

Bottom line on Groupon Getaway US hotel deals

WaldorfAstoriaSomewhat to our surprise, the Groupon Getaway deals turned out to be consistently good and by far the best price available anywhere for what they offer. They are typically offered during non-busy times of the year in each place, but still the Groupon Getaways tend to be much cheaper than other discounts available for the same rooms.

It would be unwise to see that a deal claims to be “50% off!” and just assume that most other suckers will be paying double what you pay. But at the same time, these Groupon Getaway hotel deals are big discounts in pretty much every case. If you really want to buy and use the offer, you are probably going to save quite a bit of money.

Groupon Getaway resort deals in Mexico, the Caribbean & Latin America

1 – Alsol Luxury Village – Dominican Republic

3 nights for two at all inclusive resort

  • Groupon price*: $585.00
  • Best price elsewhere: $631.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 71%
  • Actual savings: 7%

2 – The Reef Playacar Resort and Spa – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

4 nights for two at all inclusive resort

  • Groupon price*: $588.00
  • Best price elsewhere: $622.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 50%
  • Actual savings: 5%

3 – Hotel Vamar – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 nights for two at all inclusive resort

  • Groupon price*: $658.00
  • Best price elsewhere: $946.92
  • Groupon savings promise: 53%
  • Actual savings: 31%

4 – Almond Beach – Belize

4 nights in oceanview room at beach resort

  • Groupon price*: $572.13
  • Best price elsewhere: $293.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 55%
  • Actual savings: Overpaying by 95%

5 – Clarion Suites Roatan – Roatán, Honduras

5 nights in one-bedroom suite

  • Groupon price*: $462.84
  • Best price elsewhere: $894.00
  • Groupon savings promise: 49%
  • Actual savings: 48%

Bottom line on Groupon Getaway resort deals

SandalsNegrilWe didn’t test any of the deals that include airfare because that becomes far more complicated and airlines don’t offer huge discounts to any travel agency anymore so there’s no way Groupon Getaways that include airfare will be more than a little better than resort-only deals.

With that in mind, the all-inclusive deals we checked on Groupon were in fact the lowest prices we could find, but not by much. The market in all-inclusive resorts is extremely competitive and big discounts are not hard to find, even if they aren’t quite as cheap.

More puzzling, the two beachfront hotels we checked gave totally opposite results. One delived the promised 49% discount while the other appears that Groupon is charging almost double the price that is available on a hotel-booking site.

Important caveat: Be wary of “extras” in the deals

This bit of advice is important for Groupon Getaways or anything else where extras are included for “free”: Look closely at what is offered and how much it’s really worth to you. Many extras are very worthwhile, just as others might be better avoided.

For example, if a deal comes with an extra of free breakfast, that’s probably worth what it claims to be. But if it comes with free parking and you won’t have a car, it’s obviously useless. Even if you do use it, they might say it’s worth $25 to park in the hotel lot, but there might be a public lot for $10 across the street.

Some deals come with, say, a $25 dining credit. If the credit can only be used at their dinner restaurant where couples usually spend $100 or more, then using that extra might actually cost you money. The point is, don’t just assume that all extras are worth what they claim they are.

Compare alternatives just to be sure

PhucLoi300Booking hotels in new places can be confusing, and being confident that you got the best deal possible is a challenge. One last thing to remember in this regard is that just because a hotel offers 50% off its normal rates, that doesn’t automatically make it a good deal. There are many hotels around the world that drastically inflate their “normal rates” because most of their business is tour groups who love staying in hotels with high rack rates.

So to be sure you are really getting a good deal it’s wise to compare the Groupon Getaway not only to the normal price, but to an alternative as well. For example, if an offer is $100 per night for a beach hotel that normally charges $200 per night, what do the hotels next door charge for a similar room? If it’s for a downtown chain hotel room, how much are other chain hotel rooms in the same city?

You might find that the Groupon Getaway is an excellent deal overall, but you might actually find that a similar property is even cheaper through a hotel-booking site. Groupon gets a large commission for each Getaway they book, so a similar hotel might be able to offer an even better deal on its own website since it doesn’t have to pay any commission.



4 Responses to “Are Groupon Getaways good hotel deals? Here’s what we found”

Sheila Manning says:

Looking for a good price at Cheeca Lodge Islamorado, The Keyes, Florida

 
Deborah says:

We purchased a groupon hotel getway in Niagara Falls and turned out not be great deal. The hotel was nice and rooms good but there are hidden information in the extras they don’t tell you. For example they say $20 outback coupon included however, they don’t say until you get the coupon that you have to buy 2 full entrees at Outback to get $20 off. Niagara Falls is probably one of the most expensive tourist areas and dinner for 2 at outback is probabaly close to $100 so you aren’t saving anything. We were given a $59 dinner for 2 at a steakhouse that was closed during week and only open 2 days that we weren’t there. We as the receivers of gift were stuck without a anniversary dinner and Groupon would not do anything about it. They eventually reimbursed the gift giver with groupon bucks which are useless unless you buy something you don’t want. So my advice if is too good to be true is usually is…

 
Eddy says:

This is the first time I have used Groupon, and found a Las Vegas Hotel for almost 50% off. Lowest price on the web by far. Thank you!

 
Chris says:

As a Canadian I did notice the subtle mention that the prices were in USD. However, I was so excited for the HILTON HOTEL AND SUITES NIAGARA FALLS/FALLSVIEW getaway package that I did not fully calculate what the exchange rate would have been. As such, the one night for the FALLS-VIEW KING JACUZZI STUDIO came to $176.11 USD, which later appeared on my VISA as $235.84. Upon arrival to the Hilton, our room did have a Queen/King sized bed, in an old room with multiple ceiling cracks and a hole at the back of the Jacuzzi tub which was located in the back corner of the room within the washroom itself, and the view was a tiny sliver of a section of the Falls if you close the curtains around the rest of the room. If you utilize Trip Advisor or trust the comments about this getaway on the Groupon website you will be led to believe that you will be staying in a Jacuzzi King Studio room, where there is an optimal King sized bed and a Jacuzzi in the middle of the room with a great view of the Falls. We were very disappointed with our stay and our bill. Upon searching for a room even on the actual Hilton website, it would have been less expensive to have booked the room outside of Groupon.
After speaking with the hotel, they stated the room we were staying in was in fact a King Jacuzzi Studio-FallsView, not what is actually depicted on the Groupon or Hilton websites. Furthermore, upon discussion with Groupon, they hold no accountability for any exchange rates between USD and CDN funds. Thus I will be boycotting Groupon in the future and if you don’t want to have a negative experience that is NOT WORTH THE MONEY I advise that you should too.

 

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