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January 15, 2013

I Predict . . . Kayak

By Ashley Caputo, TMCnet Web Editor

For travelers there are tons of websites -- and even apps – that can help you find and book cheap flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. To take the competition even further among travel search engines, companies have begun to promise consumers the gift of the future.

Travel companies are now offering a price prediction option of “buy now or wait” for airline tickets. Bing has already put this price predictor on its search engine, where it analyzes millions of fares daily for the best deals. Kayak is next to join the group of the search engine psychics.

Kayak’ s new feature that offers travelers advice on whether to buy their airline tickets, or wait until the predicted decrease in price.

It might sound farfetched in terms of how valid the predictions could be, but according to Kayak, its forecasts are based on empirical data supported by algorithms and mathematical models. It used past pricing history from reservation services, online travel agents, low-cost carriers and wholesalers to help design its prediction scales.

Like any good psychic, Kayak can’t promise that what it sees in the future will be correct, so with each prediction it adds: “If you see a good price, book it.”

This new feature is a helpful addition to search engines, as it provides a free advice and creates a more personalized experience for travelers. However, the predictions these websites provide can’t be held accountable for any losses and don’t offer reimbursements.

Essentially, the use of Bing or Kayak’s feature is similar to taking your own chances or following your gut feeling, as neither option provides a consumer with a promised outcome.

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Edited by Rich Steeves
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