Right ahead of the summer travel season, a new tool called Tingo has been released with a grand promise that it could save travelers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The reasoning behind Tingo, which is owned by TripAdvisor, is simple -- hotels often change rates dependent on demand (i.e., how many rooms they have sold), and if you've booked ahead like everybody advises you to, you can lose money if the price drops.
Instead of this, Tingo watches the rates and promises a refund of the difference if the room rate you've agreed to pay changes, by rebooking the room automatically at a new, lower rate.
It may sound slightly complex, but the site makes the booking process surprisingly painless and -- according to its own figures at least -- it could save travelers a lot.
The average price drop in February 2012 in New York, for instance, was $46 for an average of 218 hotels.
If the rates don't drop, the booking proceeds as normal and you just pay the price agreed on the booking site.
Consumers are facing an increasing number of options when it comes to making a simple hotel booking thanks to the increasing ingenuity of online travel agents.
Flash sales, such as those pioneered by Voyage Privé and Jetsetter, were the first to offer considerable reduction by allowing hotels to advertise their unfilled rooms to a small selection of users.
In time, this gave way to 'opaque' bookings of the sort used by Hotwire, where users can select a hotel based on a discounted price but aren't told which hotel it is until the booking is confirmed, followed by Priceline's 'Name your Own' offers where users could offer to buy a room at a price they deemed fair and the offer would be accepted or rejected.