How do you know if you’re getting a good deal on a hotel room? Well, a new Web service plans to tell you.
Travel search newcomer Farecast.com, which makes predictions on the rise or fall of air fares, launched a new hotel search service on Wednesday that tells users whether the rate for a particular property is a good one.
Hotel rates can vary widely, affected by local events like weddings or conferences as well as broader travel trends like winter weather.
Also, all hotels are not created equal, with location and amenities affecting rates.
“The supply-and-demand characteristics of a hotel room are very unique,” Hugh Crean, the site’s president and chief executive, said in an interview.
“Prices do meaningfully change week to week.”
Hotel searches on Farecast.com display on a map showing where they’re located. The search results are also color coded to show good rates versus bad ones. Red equals a deal (lower than the hotel’s past rates), while blue means it’s not.
The service also shows rates for similar stays.
For instance, a Friday to Sunday stay at the Sheraton Boston in early October is classified as a deal at $319 a night, because it’s 10 percent less than other Friday to Sunday stays. At the same hotel, the rate jumps to $449 a night two weeks later, according to a search on the site.
Similarly, the Holiday Inn Express in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is not considered a deal at $270 a night in early October, because it’s well above the $162 a night rate in November, according to the site.
Farecast.com, which launched last June, supports itself through advertising and referral fees and doesn’t earn directly when you book a hotel room or a flight.
Farecast.com is one of a new breed of travel sites that is taking on players such as Expedia Inc and Priceline.com Inc.
Farecast.com’s partners in the current beta, or test, version of the service which still has some kinks and lacks pricing data on some of the properties, are ReserveTravel.com and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and its unit CheapTickets.com.
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