Microsoft's Bing search engine announced on its community blog a nifty tool called the Bing
Travel Rate Indicator touting it as an "intelligent tool to help you figure out whether the hotel rate you’re
being offered is a deal or not." The rate indicator unlike its "price predictor" for airline fares "doesn’t project whether the cost of a room will
go up or down on the dates you want to stay; instead, it compares the
current rates to past rates for that hotel."
Bing's indicator compares a hotel's rates to its rates in the past for the same period and lets prospective customers know if it is a deal or not and if a traveler is flexible it shows a range of dates when the best "deal" could be obtained. Caveat: If a hotel is not affiliated with an OTA as is the case with more than a few independents in gateway cities, it will not show up! Nevertheless, Bing's tool is considerably more user friendly than arch rival Google's offering which is labeled a "recreation directory" that takes getting past several layers before drilling down to a destination at the end of which there is barely a third of hotels listed as is in this example of a search for New York City's hotels.
Bing Travel also has a forecast for the summer that points to higher air fares all over the US but lower (by as much as 10%) hotel rates. The Wall Street Journal's Travel Watch column quotes Bing as saying "hotel rates have dropped, including Las Vegas, where premium hotel
rates are down 18%, and Seattle, where rates are down 13%. San
Francisco, Honolulu and San Diego have also been discounted deeply." Bing's experts may have made their call a tad too early given the (continually) compressing booking window.
Bing's prediction notwithstanding, if travel growth picks on closer to normal terms unlike last year, rates likely will go up particularly in destination cities like New York and Orlando. Europe, on the other hand, according to website, www.tourism-review.com has already seen rapid increases in hotel prices with parts of the continent witnessing as much as 12% increase in April. Per UK based Trivago, a company that offers "travel advice and hotel price comparisons" the country with the greatest increase in hotel rates is the Czech republic where prices in the last month went up an astonishing 38%! Could well end being a summer of contentment for some as in hoteliers and discontent for others as in customers.