On the heels of launching search engine Bing and its accompanying mobile site, Microsoft today rolled out its latest vertical: Bing Travel.
The site combines elements from Microsoft-owned travel site—previously mentioned Farecast (the site now redirects to Bing Travel)—and sprinkles in some editorial news from MSN Travel (MSN Travel now also redirects to Bing Travel).
Price Predictor. Bing Travel uses Farecast technology to analyze more than 175 billion airfare observations and predict whether the price of a flight is going up or down. It offers people a recommendation of "Buy Now" or "Wait," including a confidence level and expected price increase or decrease over the next seven days.
Rate Indicator. How does someone know if the rate for a hotel is a deal or not? The Rate Indicator analyzes historical rate data from thousands of hotels to determine whether the current price is a good deal, or not a deal at all. People can view a city map with details for each hotel, color coded by Rate Indicator data.
Travel Deals. Bing Travel features up-to-the-minute flight and hotel deals for nearly 40 cities around the world. When people choose their origin city, Bing Travel will show the best airfare and hotel deals it has and will even show them why particular flights are considered deals. For example, people will see that flights to certain destinations may be a record low, or more than $150 less than the average for a particular route. People can be sure that all Travel Deals are based strictly on science, not marketing.
Comparison Flight & Hotel Search. Bing Travel makes it fast and easy for consumers to get flight and hotel results and pricing for thousands of destinations worldwide. Finding the right flight or hotel is made simple with tools that allow people to refine results: nonstop flights only, specific airlines, hotels within a mile of an address, and many more. After selecting the hotel or flight, Bing Travel makes booking directly with suppliers or agencies seamless.
Fare Alerts. Most airfare price drops last less than 48 hours, so people need to be ready to jump when a fare falls. Fare Alerts will notify people if the fares for their trips drop, allowing them to catch lower fares.
I played around with the site this morning and found the 7-day price predictor and the percentage confidence score most useful. We've been big fans of the fare prediction idea ever since we covered Farecast a couple of years back, so we're happy to see it incorporated with Bing. Bing Travel also lets you adjust your price range and trip times using a slider, which given the sensitivity of the tool, made it slightly difficult to pin down an exact match.
We're curious to hear your thoughts, so give Bing Travel a whirl and lets us know what you do and don't like, and how the web site stacks up against your Hive Five travel site favorites (among which Farecast was already a favorite).
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