4 Reasons You’re Missing Out on the Best Travel Savings, Secrets, and Inspiration (… and How Bing Can Help)
You’re all about The Google. I get it. For years, Google’s been my boy, my homie. Not Yahoo or Ask Jeeves (wow, remember them?) or Microsoft, or … well honestly I can’t name another search engine because frankly I stopped paying attention around 2005. Old habits die hard.
Which is why, when Bing came knocking to educate me on their search experience, I told them they could take their new-fangled search engine and go … well, who am I kidding? I was all ears.
I told them I was a staunch Google user. They listened patiently and gave me a simple task: just give Bing a try. And so it went (under substantial protest) that I agreed to use Bing exclusively for the last few weeks. All my travel booking, research, inspiration, kitty cat videos. Everything.
I went into it with an open mind. And a strange thing happened: I began to realize how staid – how vanilla Google feels – particularly for travel planning. But I’d been using it for so long simply because I hadn’t considered anything else.
Google’s like that kid everyone got along with in high school — the one who never rocked any boats and somehow had an “in” with every clique. You’re not sure how or when you met him — one day he was just there. But somewhere along the line, he lost his charm, his mojo, his (as the French call it) “I don’t know what.”
On the other hand, Bing was always the high school nerd — harmless, forgettable, a bit of an outcast. Everyone knew of him, but didn’t bother to actually know him. But by your 10-year class reunion, he’s suddenly all grown up, going to the gym, got a decent haircut. And now he’s a whole lot cooler.
That’s the reality of using Bing for travel planning, research, inspiration and, ultimately, savings. Here’s why …
#1: Get Inspired with Bing’s Daily Jaw-dropping Photos
Great photos make me giddy. Like little kid at Christmas, shaking his hands maniacally, shouting “Oo … ooo … gimme!” kind of giddy. And travel photos even more so. Well, the background photos used by Bing’s general search are pure porn for travel photography-lovers.
Like this one:
… and this one:
I’ve no idea what photos are posted on their homepage right this second, but I guarantee they’re supremely awesome. Seriously, go take a look. Go on … I’ll wait …
… see what I mean? If that alone doesn’t inspire your sense of wanderlust, check your pulse.
#2: Plan Your Next Trip Visually with a Vacation “Dream Board”
If you’re already convinced of where you’re traveling next, Bing’s image search is an excellent base for visual inspiration. It’s fast, easy, and features an ultra-clean layout.
Just above the image grid, a list of links reveals the most popular, related search terms. To the right, you’ll find other relevant searches, like so:
The ancillary search column to the right is particularly interesting to travelers. In the example above, Bing reveals a few similar destinations (Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, etc.) that I might not have considered when researching Maldives.
You can of course do a similar image search on Google, et. al. But Bing provides the added ability to pin images to Pinterest directly. So, if you’re me, you’ve setup your travel inspiration board on Pinterest already. You can now get lost in an endless sea (get it?) of white sand beaches and overwater bungalows, pinning and daydreaming as you go …
#3: Save a Boatload of Money (Plus, You’re Already Using Kayak Anyway)
If you’re a power traveler, you’re already using Kayak.com to book flights, hotels, and car rentals. Great news: Bing is too. All of their travel search results are sourced directly from Kayak.
BUT they sweeten the pot with one additional feature you probably don’t know even about – price predictor. Here’s the gist:
Bing Travel analyzes millions of round-trip flight itineraries daily and intelligently filters airfare data to reveal the best prices and deals. The Bing Travel Price Predictor can advise you whether fares are rising, holding steady, or dropping, and whether you should buy now or wait:
If fares are predicted to rise, you’re likely to pay more by waiting.
If fares are predicted to drop, you may save money by waiting.
That’s it! There’s even a “confidence” indicator to reveal how much faith they have in their predictions.
#4: Get Insider Travel Tips & Secrets from Your Social Media Peeps Who’ve Been There
For travel planning, this may be my favorite feature of Bing. Simply link your Facebook account to Bing and you’ll start seeing relevant Facebook mentions from your friends and influencers alongside your personalized search results.
Research for my upcoming Antarctica trip revealed four posts from Facebook friends who’ve recently visited the frozen continent:
Sure, I may have known that already. But, I typically don’t remember anyway. This added feature alone (1) lets me read my friend’s thoughts and recommendations for travel to Antarctica, and (2) pester them further for their best firsthand tips and advice.
This is the part where I tell you that Microsoft is paying me to say all of this. And that’s absolutely true. But, in the past few weeks, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve grown to like using Bing.
Of course it’s all subjective — a matter of preference — but I recommend at least giving it a try. You can even compare Bing and Google web results side by side at www.bingiton.com and see which you prefer if you don’t know which is which. If you don’t like Bing after trying it for yourself, you can always go back to hanging out with “I just wanna be everyone’s friend” guy from high school.