Microsoft Bing to launch travel platform in the UK

Microsoft will launch a dedicated version of its new Bing Travel system in the UK, officials have confirmed.

The widely talked about new Bing search engine – which launched in Beta earlier this week – has integrated the Farecast travel search provider which Microsoft purchased in 2008.

US web users are currently able to tap into the Farecast-driven flight and hotel search functionality, now operating under the new brand of Bing Travel.

The original Farecast technology of drawing data from airlines, hotels and online travel agencies and using tools to predict when is the best time to make a booking is included in the new system.

Bing Travel will also include a Hotel Rate Indicator to trawl through historical data to indicate via a colour-coded system as to whether a current price for a room is a fair price for the user.

A Microsoft spokeswoman told Travolution: “Our goal is to fully localise Bing to the UK and that’s when we’ll remove the beta, however, unfortunately we cannot confirm when we will be bringing this to the UK yet.”

It is unclear as yet whether Microsoft will establish a dedicated team to run Bing Travel in the UK to operate the commercial and technical elements of the system.

MSN UK, Microsoft’s consumer portal, currently uses Ebookers for search functionality on its travel channel pages, but has already included the Bing box for general searches. It is also unclear if Bing Travel will be incorporated

The launch of Bing Travel in the UK will come against a backdrop of other new travel search products in the UK including fly.com (backed by Travelzoo) and Tripadvisor’s new flight search engine.

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