Seattle-based Farecast, a startup that launched about 18 months ago to focus on predicting flight prices and guaranteeing users against increases, just expanded to help people find deals on hotel rooms as well.
The hotels area of the site helps users see prices based on a number of travel search engines (Orbitz, CheapTickets and ReserveTravel). All the results are shown on a map along with price and other basic information.
But the service also looks at each of the hotels to let you know if it’s priced attractively or not. For most hotels, the star rating isn’t enough to tell if the price is too high or low v. local competition. Over the long run market forces even the playing field, but a traveler unfamiliar with a specific hotel can (and often is) overcharged occasionally. Farecast will help you understand if you are getting a deal or not on that specific hotel.
What it means: I love these services that crack open what I call “black-box” industries and give the power back to the users. Farecast does it for flights and hotels. Zillow does it for real estate. I can think of at least a dozen other industries that could be disrupted that way.