BackyardBC.com (hotel only, BC residents' rates)
BCFerriesVacations.com (hotel + ferry pkgs)
PacificCoach.com (hotel + coach bus transfer pkgs)
For the Canada Day weekend I was looking for 2 nts at a 4* downtown hotel. Peak expensive travel, and travelocity.ca and hotels.ca prices ranged from $224 to $349/nt. Yikes!
Miss 604 recently featured BackyardBC so I gave it a whirl...Surprise! Prices either dropped or were improved upon with free extras like parking and breakfast. For extra measure I checked rates directly on hotel websites, and only one hotel had an even better CAA rate.
Add in transportation... ferry fare and city-to-ferry transfers on both sides (car, city bus, or coach bus), and maybe parking. Check for packages with your desired transportation options, make sure you're comparing apples to apples, and you might be surprised with the savings. Here's what I found:
BC Ferries package: 2 nts @ Delta hotel, ferry fare for car + 2 adults, and taxes = $538. Stripping out the value of the ferries and taxes gives a hotel rate of $171/nt... much better than the $215 I had found elsewhere.
PCL package: 2 nts @ Empress Hotel, ferry fare for 2 adults, r/t coach bus from downtown to downtown, and taxes = $546. Stripping out ferries, bus, and tax gives a hotel rate of $165/nt... compared to $297!!!
I believe PCL packages are flexible, too, so you could drive to Tsawwassen, park, and get coach bus transfers on the Victoria side, or use the coach bus on the Vancouver side and the city bus on the Victoria side.
*If you go the hotel-only route, you may also want to check US$ prices on priceline.com, and get adventurous with hotwire.com's "blind" offers and priceline.com's Name-Your-Own-Price (refer to my article about using these sites).