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March 11, 2011
Microsoft's Bing has recently added a new feature called Price Predictors to its travel searches. It suggests if one should buy now or hold off for a better fare based on how fares are trending. Some analysts believe this will have an impact on companies like Expedia and challenge Google's move into travel search.
Bing's new feature makes travel searches even quicker and more convenient than what's available elsewhere by suggesting a best price deal based on flexible dates and times for travel. If one searches "flights to Boston," this service will offer the best prices on flights from your current location. For more specific searches, one can specify date and location and then look across 100+ to find the best deal, similar to what other aggregator sites do. This includes a chart that shows how fares trend through the date range specified so a user knows when the cheapest time to travel is.
Google's search lacks the suggested travel option and so takes more steps to find the best deals for travelers.
The budget traveler normally looks up at various sources over the Internet for best deals on airfares, hotel stays and special holiday packages. While the quick comparison facilitated by Bing's new feature might make the travel bookings more convenient for users, it reduces the number of visitors to online travel sites like Expedia. The reduced traffic translates into lower revenue from advertising placements on the websites as well as lower booking fees.
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