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Tingo and BackBid are new online hotel booking sites with a twist

March 22, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The new online hotel booking site Tingo made its debut Wednesday.
The new online hotel booking site Tingo made its debut Wednesday. ( )

I'm always looking for better, easier ways to save money on hotel rooms. Tingo and BackBid are two booking sites I haven't yet tried but plan to. Each has an interesting way of delivering savings in the low-hotel-rate game -- and none of them involves William Shatner. If you've tried either one, please share your experience in the comments section below. 

Tingo: The website launched Wednesday by the folks who bring you Smartertravel, Bookingbuddy, Airfarewatchdog and OneTime as well as Sniqueaway, the membership-driven travel booking site.

Here's how Tingo works: Register for free and make a hotel reservation at a price you like. The prices are those you would find on Expedia and other booking sites. If the price on the room goes down for one or all nights of your stay, you get the lower rate and pocket the difference -- without doing anything.

Airfarewatchdog's George Hobica says he made a reservation for a Kimpton hotel in Washington, D.C., and found rates had dropped $22 the next day. Orbitz, by comparison, has a low-price guarantee that will refund the difference if you find the same prepaid room in the same hotel for the same dates at a lower price online.

Tingo gives you the refund if the rate drops just one day of your stay. Of course, the rate might not change at all, so it's like gambling with nothing to lose.

BackBid: The quirky concept for this online travel site based in Montreal is that you make a reservation and then invite hotels to make you a better offer.

Here's how BackBid works: You make a standard hotel booking via phone, a travel agency, an online travel company or directly with the hotel -- but one that isn't prepaid. Once you receive confirmation of your reservation, the fun begins.

Fill out a free profile on BackBid and list the amenities you like, how many stars you require your hotel to have and other information. Then add confirmation of the hotel reservation to your account. Hotels in the same area as the one you booked will look at your reservation and your criteria and then offer you a "bid."

You may get no bids at all. Or you may bet a bid at a lower rate or the same rate with free breakfast and an upgraded room. It's related to what you say you prefer in creating your profile. If you decide you like one of the bids, you cancel the existing reservation (which is why this doesn't work for prepaid rooms) and pay in full on the offer you have received. USAToday gave it a test drive with pretty good results. BackBid applies only to hotels throughout the U.S.

What I like about this is that the hotels "bidding" for your business are known quantities, unlike Priceline where you make the offer and only learn of the hotel's name after you have paid.

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