Genie Traveler is the new way to travel the world at wholesale rates.
If you’re like me and have a passion – or rather obsession – for traveling, you’ll know that the biggest pain point is the costs involved. We all have limited funds and we want to maximize the travel opportunities we can get for them.
Searching for hotel deals, cheap flights and various travel hacks becomes a bit of an obsession. There are various sites that promise travel deals, cheap airline tickets and discounted hotels but the reality is that these deals just don’t exist. Trust me. I’ve been doing this a long time and while the big sites might seem like they’re offering you deals, the prices they offer are mostly just a marketing spin, enticing you in, while not really exposing the limit of their pricing strategy.
The travel industry, specifically the Online Travel Agents (known in the business as OTAs), are a duopoly – there are just two companies that control the market. You might have heard of lots of different brands but 80% of this online travel space is controlled by Expedia and Priceline.
You might think when you’re booking flights, hotels, car rentals and more that you can compare the prices and get the best deals by going to a few different sites. But all they do is compete against themselves with small price differences to make you feel like you’re getting a deal.
In fact, because they’re so powerful they enforce something called rate parity and ensure the public rates they offer can’t be undercut. Well, at least in public.
That public part is important. There are also wholesale rates that aren’t available to the general public. These rates can be significantly lower than you can find elsewhere. This is often how your high street travel agency access their inventory and makes bookings on your behalf. There can be a huge difference between the retail rates you and I pay and the actual wholesale rates that are available behind closed doors.
Travel deals do exist. Just not for you. Until now…
Wholesale rates aren’t meant for the likes of you or I. They’re aimed at businesses. Those that buy in bulk. I’m talking about Fortune 500 companies or travel agents. These businesses pay a premium to access these rates, often $50,000 to $250,000. But, because of their scale, it’s worth it for them. The rates are normally 30% to 70% cheaper than the rest of us can get. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less but, even so, that’s some pretty significant savings.
Businesses either sell the products (travel agents), use them to book their own corporate travel and/or as an employee benefit which they can use for their own (and family) personal travel. Access to these wholesale rates are restricted and behind a password protected firewall preventing us from accessing them.
These wholesale feeds are only allowed to be accessed by authorized personnel. The people that can access them must be members or a group, known as a Closed User Group (CUG). If you’re not in a CUG you can’t access these secret rates.
And you can’t get into a CUG. Until now…
How You Can Save With Genie Traveler
I recently teamed up with a company called Genie Traveler that is breaking open these travel myths and exposing the travel industry’s Dirty Little Secret. They’re bringing these wholesale rates straight to the general public and disrupting the OTAs.
They’ve created their own CUG and they’re letting anyone join. Instead of marking up their rates 30% to 70% like the OTAs might do they are making their money in a really ingenious way; they’re charging a small monthly fee for you to access these incredible deals. Rates start at just $3.99 a month for hotel deals only (when you pay annually), and $4.99 a month for the All Travel Elite package which includes flights too. You can easily save more than the cost of a years membership in just one booking through them.
These guys are fairly new to the marketplace but are already making waves and upsetting the more traditional OTAs.
Of course, I had to check them out for myself.
Travel Savings With Genie Traveler
I wouldn’t have teamed up with Genie Traveler if I hadn’t checked it all out properly myself.
First I had a look at their flights. I didn’t think the deals would be that great. The margins on flights are so small that I really didn’t think they’d be able to do much.
I picked some dates and decided I’d look at a flight from JFK in New York to London Heathrow. Here’s a screenshot:
Genie Traveler’s best deal was $697.17 with British Airways (all inclusive of taxes too).
I then went to the British Airways website to see what I could get it for:
British Airways (including taxes) was $983.01.
That’s a $285.84 saving at Genie Traveler or a 30% saving. Now that’s impressive.
I searched a long haul flight on purpose. Savings on short haul flights are not as likely to be so good (unless you’re flying Business Class). If you’re a short haul traveler then the flight savings might not be for you.
Next I went on to look at hotels. I was hoping for some good savings here as I know the margins can be quite good.
I also wanted to check in a few different countries to see how the rates stood up.
First stop, Washington DC.
As this was the first place I was checking out I decided to test their top two best deals, especially given that they were at very different price points as well.
The Mayflower Hotel is a beautiful hotel. Genie Traveler shows an incredible 80% saving (note you can only get savings above 70% on their All Travel Elite annual plans which work out at $4.99 a month) from $2,975.60 down to $610.94.
I checked Expedia first:
They have it listed at $3,000.
Orbitz also listed it for $3,000:
Note on the bottom of the Orbitz listing they show prices as well at Hotels.com, Hotwire and Travelocity also all at $3,000.
Genie Traveler are offering incredible value here with their huge 80% savings. If you stayed for one night you’d save $2,364.66. You could buy 40 years of membership at Genie Traveler with that saving (even more if you use a coupon code – more on that soon)!
I then checked the second hotel in Washington DC, Courtyard by Marriott which is showing a 54% discount down from $647.08 to $302.42.
I went to Hotels.com and found this:
They’re selling it at $659.
I’ll save you from too many screenshots but Expedia and Travelocity also have it at $659.
Genie Traveler again saves you $344.66 on this hotel.
With that done I went to check Europe. I settled on Venice, Italy:
The savings weren’t as high for Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal at 39% off but that’s still pretty impressive.
Booking.com lists it at $356 (including breakfast, but Genie Traveler includes breakfast as well):
Hotels.com does a little better at $323:
But even at the Hotels.com rate it’s still a 38% saving at Genie Traveler.
I went on to check Prague, in the Czech Republic, which has an incredible 86% saving:
Although, I found that the best comparison savings I could find worked out at 83% and not 86%. I’ll happily take the 83% though.
See again on the Orbitz listing you get prices at Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire and Hotels.com all at $441 compared to the Genie Traveler price of $77.67.
How To Use Genie Traveler
There are a couple of ways to use their service. You can either save massively on your travel budget – that’s probably the option that most people will take. But the other way is to upgrade how you travel. For example, if you normally stay in a 3 star hotel then you can often find a 5 star hotel for the price you would normally pay for a 3 star hotel. In fact, Genie Traveler will even let you search by star rating too (and they use TripAdvisor’s rating system so you know it’s valid).
I’ve given my examples in dollars but there’s an option to switch your currency too, so don’t worry too much if you’re not from the US. Membership though for Genie Traveler is only currently in US dollars though – they’re rolling out more currencies later this year though.
There are no packages (currently) so you would need to book your hotel and your flight separately. They also don’t have car rental although they expect to add that to their site soon.
Is Genie Traveler Worth It?
Well that’s up to you and what fits for your personal travel needs. Personally, with savings like this, I’m hooked.
But, here’s the best bit. Genie Traveler offer a 7 day free trial. That means you can sign up and check out the deals yourself, all for free. In fact, it’s even better than that – you can book as much as you want during that period and, even if you cancel your free trial, all of those bookings will still be honored.
Genie Traveler has 800,000 hotels, a Best Rate Guarantee and 15,000 destinations. 130 million people have been using this technology for the last 20 years. Genie Traveler have now opened this up to the general public to allow us all to get these incredible savings.
Why pay retail like everyone else when you don’t have to?
Legal Disclaimer: this post is written in cooperation with Genie Traveler.