In the highly complex world of buying travel services on the web, there’s an important new development showing up that can turn the game on its head.
Already for car rentals and now for hotels websites have been launched that can lower the price even after we’ve bought the deal.
This is a huge gift to the baffled traveler trying to make heads or tails of the travel pricing systems. Huge.
AutoSlash continues to look through the market to apply coupons and reductions in price that occur even after one’s purchase. Car rental prices change a lot, as I found out recently after renting a car for a week which, with all the maddening fees and taxes, came out to $196. Several days later, I checked again and found I could get the same car for $138. AutoSlash does the checking for me and reduces the tab automatically.
Now, Tingo is launched to do the same thing for hotels — where one can spend more than for flights and car rentals combined. Savings here can be even more substantial.
One of the axioms of travel from those wanting to avoid ulcers has been, “Never look back.” It always seems that if you shake hands on something the price goes down, or up, wildly thereafter. Now, with these sorts of services the consumer has a chance of holding his own — and getting the best price.
Not holding my breath but next would be the madhouse land of air fares. We may not see this in any hurry because the airfare system is so wild as to be nearly impossible to comprehend by the average traveler, never mind fix. The other day I priced a ticket from Hartford to Tampa on the nifty Hipmunk site which lays them out so easily to read and compare. I love this site. If there wasn’t so much money involved you could laugh out loud. A Delta flight costs $480 — and the same flight two hours later, same stop, etc — was well over $1,000. A few hours later than that it was down to $480 again. And up again after that. Same line. Same route. Same day. Greatly different fares.
It’ll take a pretty big computer to make sense of what drives such as that. But we can dream.
Meantime, for hotels and car rentals there’s something good going on. I don’t see how we can lose.