Theatre Breaks: My Research
As I get older and more sophisticated (well kind of) I have found that my tastes have somewhat changed. Things that I found infinitely boring 5 years ago is now something I look forward to and a night at the theatre is one of those things. My Mrs and I are always on the lookout for things to do together that are close by and if we can spend the night somewhere, even better.
As a kid I remember going to see Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Dr Doolittle and I always enjoyed my evenings however I also sat through more adult shows and was bored out my brain. I recently went to see Blood Brothers with my family and I must say it was a completely difference experience. I now want to take my girlfriend to see the same show while staying the night up London to make a weekend of it. There are a number of websites geared up for Theatre goers, with a number of them integrated into hotel feeds which allow you to book your theatre tickets and hotels from the comfort of a single website.
I found two websites that are designed to book theatre tickets and hotels at the same time but which one is the best? The two sites in question are SuperBreak.com & WestEndTheatreBreaks.com and the purpose of this article is to decide which of the two websites provides the best service over price.
I suspect that SuperBreak.com is one of the most successful booking services as I found a number of smaller sites using their data feed to offer the same service as a white label. SuperBreak.com was exceptionally easy to use and provided a great deal of information on the show and hotel to ensure I have everything perfect for my trip. You start off by choosing a show from a drop down list at the top which opens up a calendar with all available show dates. Simply click on the date you want to see the show and it will then illustrate all available tickets and their prices. Once you decide which type of ticket you want it will start asking you about the hotel room you would like, namely how many nights and how many people will be staying. The results for my search (two people, one night) came back with over 60 results but I must say they made it real easy for me to make my decision. The cheapest room available was £74 for the night whilst the most expensive was a hefty £481 per night, but you are staying in one of the most presdigious hotels in London so what do you expect. All hotels have user ratings so if you don't trust the descriptions, just read what other people said about the place. At the end of the process, everything is totalled up and paid for online using your credit/debit card. There are no hidden charges and you don't have to worry about getting your tickets on time as they can always be picked up outside the theatre itself.
WestEndTheatreBreaks.com on first impression was not as clean as SuperBreak.com but looks are not everything. I actually prefer the web form on this site in contrast to SuperBreak as most of the questions are asked on a single form rather than asking you more and more questions the closer you get to purchase your tickets. What I like about this website is it shows you prices and ticket availability up to 3 days before and after your specified date, so if your date is not set in stone, you may find you get a better deal by choosing another day. Finally, instead of showing you a list of all available hotels, it allows you to select between a number of packages so you are not bombarded with choices. Personally I prefer the filtered look to the hotels as having 100's to choose from just isn't practical. After choosing my hotel my package was priced up with a full summary of my break, where I need to be and when.
Both websites are very well designed and easy to use but which one do I prefer. Overall the WestEndTheatreBreaks.com proved to be much simpler to use as it already filters your hotel search by price before you view the results. Ultimately, both websites charged me pretty much the same for a one night stay at a London hotel and some decent seats for Blood Brothers (£245) however I found that WestEndTheatreBreaks.com has more budget hotels than SuperBreak.com who seem to concentrate their offers on the high end market. Personally I prefer the WestEndTheatreBreaks website over SuperBreak as their hotels are more in my price packet and the fact that they filter the hotel results by Stars/Price is an extra added bonus and makes the whole process much easier to complete.