In a move that could potentially corner the travel/hotel booking market, Smarter Travel Media launched Tingo on Wednesday, a hotel booking site that automatically re-books travelers at the lower rate if their hotel room drops in price.
The site conveniently eliminates the factor of trying to time a hotel reservation in order to get the best price possible.
By offering its customers a selection of Money Back rooms, Tingo provides the service of watching the room's rate to see if it changes.
If the price of the room drops, Tingo re-books the same room at the lower rate and refunds the difference to the credit card on file.
Although other hotel booking sites like Orbitz promise to refund you the price difference in case your room's rate drops, Tingo Travel Watchdog George Hobica said that the Tingo system is easier to use and has less conditions to be met.
The difference between Tingo and sites like Orbitz is that with other sites, if you book a hotel room and the price of the room drops, another consumer must book the identical hotel stay (room and dates) at a lower rate in order for you to get money back, Hobica said.
Another consumer booking the same stay at a lower rate is not a requirement with Tingo. If the price of the room drops more than $1, you get that much back, plain and simple.
The site, which made its debut on the World Wide Web Wednesday, offers an extensive international hotel inventory that is powered by the Expedia Affiliate Network. In doing so, consumers may see many of the same hotels offered on Tingo being offered on other hotel booking sites.
So why use Tingo?
Because who doesn't love to get money back? Hobica said. Hotel rates on Tingo are already the most competitive rates you are going to find on the Internet. So even if the price of a reservation doesn't drop, travelers still get a great rate and can enjoy peace of mind knowing that Tingo is watching out for them.
Tingo also offers a site comparison feature which allows you to compare rates available on other sites with those found on Tingo. If you see a cheaper rate on another site, which Hobica said is unlikely, then you are free to take advantage of the other offer. But Tingo's Travel Watchdog doesn't suggest you do that.
By booking a hotel on another site, you run the risk of not getting any money back, if the rate of the room drops. Why take that risk? Hobica said.
In February of 2012, rates in 218 New York hotels had average price drops of $46 a room, while 105 hotels in Los Angeles had average price drops of $35 a room, Tingo reports.
Travelers could have saved millions last year had there been a simple system in place that automatically re-booked their rooms, said Smarter Travel Media General Manager David Krauter.
And that's what Tingo does, by taking the gamble out of booking and refunding travelers' money when rates drop. It's a no-brainer.
Smarter Travel Media, a company that came to fruition in 1998, saw an opportunity to save travelers time and money by providing them with the Tingo service, according to Hobica.
We just made our debut on the Web today, Hobica said. But soon enough we are going to have an app so that people can easily access the site with their smartphones and tablets.
When asked what he thought the best feature about Tingo was, Hobica said, it's like our slogan says, 'You just can't lose.'