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Booking Site Tingo Gives Refunds After Price Drops

When you book a hotel online, there’s always a chance that the price will drop later and you’ll be stuck paying more than you have to. A new hotel booking site called Tingo — which was launched on Wednesday by Smarter Travel Media, a subsidiary of TripAdvisor — fixes this problem by automatically rebooking hotel rooms at a lower price if the rate drops.

This means that if you book a hotel online for $200 each night, the site will automatically rebook your reservation if the price drops. Tingo keeps watching the price and rebooks you again and again if the rate decreases. It refunds the difference to your credit card shortly after your stay.

Tingo, which shares a parent company with and travel deal site SniqueAway, allows users to book most hotels found on sites such as Expedia and continually monitors the rate after it’s booked.

The name “Tingo” is a play on “bingo” and “travel,” according to George Hobica, the CEO of and “travel watchdog” of Tingo.

“There are other sites that offer money back for hotel price drops, but that is only if someone books the same hotel for the same exact dates as you,” Hobica told Mashable. “Tingo gets you the lowest price whenever the hotel drops the price, not based on what other people book online. There’s also no limit to how much money you can get back.”

Sites such as Orbitz have a $500 money back limit, Hobica noted.

According to Tingo, about 45% of hotels are booked online, and Americans could have saved nearly $314 million if they had access to the platform in 2011.

Hobica gave an example of how Tingo would benefit users by referencing a reservation booked in January at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas for two nights. Although it cost a total of $1,273 when it was first booked, the price had dropped by $519 by the February 23 check-in date.

It’s not uncommon for hotel rates to drop. While looking at hotels in New York during February 2012, Tingo found that the average price drop for hotel stays was $46. Meanwhile, the average price drop in Los Angeles was $35, followed by Las Vegas with $26 and Chicago ($37).