Microsoft Bing has launched a new travel search experience, the company announced Friday. The new experience consists of travel-oriented search results pages for destinations as well as a new trip-planning and booking hub known simply as the Travel Guide.
Why we care. For years, search engines have been expanding their travel offerings to the dismay of online travel agencies — Bing’s new travel features only continue that trend.
The new destination search results pages are visual-heavy, which may make them more compelling to users. Many of the search features, like hotel results or the “Explore destination” carousel, take users to other Bing properties. And, since they’re more visually compelling than a standard search listing, it may be even more difficult for OTAs to compete in the search results.
The new Travel Guide is quite similar to Google’s travel portal, but both Bing’s Travel Guide and its destination search results seem to be designed for discovery, which may help it serve customers that are in the initial stages of their planning.
Revamped destination search results. Searching a destination on Bing may trigger its new travel search experience (shown below for the query “honolulu”).
This search results page format includes a large search feature containing a link to the Travel Guide (more on that below) for the destination, as well as carousels for local attractions and news. The best time of the year to visit and hotel listings are also prominent on the page, along with Tours and activities ads.
Introducing Bing’s Travel Guide. “The Travel Guide serves as a jumping-off point for your trip-planning needs,” Microsoft said in the announcement. The guide’s landing page shows numerous destinations and provides users with ideas for the type of traveling they’d like to do (solo, romantic or budget, for example). It also showcases flights to various locations, coupons and deals, sample itineraries and travel packages.
Users can also search for a particular destination to see potential itineraries, attractions, and flight and hotel information. Clicking on the “Book flights” or “Book hotels” links takes users to Bing’s flight and hotels results, respectively.
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