Startups #nofilter sits down with Itai Marcipar, CEO of Pruvo, an incredible new service which lets customers find discounts on hotel rooms even after they have booked! Read the interview to appreciate this cutting edge disrupting service:
1) Where was the name Pruvo derived from?
A: The name Pruvo was derived from “improve”. Our vision was to improve the procedure of booking a hotel room at the best price. We figured out that this process is far from being optimal as there may be major changes in hotel room pricing from the moment you book till check in date.
2) Your company finds the cheapest hotel room prices. Explain why you are different than any other hotel booking site, which ostensibly finds you the lowest prices anyhow.
Pruvo doesn’t purport to be another booking site. Moreover, we actually rely on them. Pruvo is a complementary service that is used after the booking is made.
Our purpose is to reduce booking prices by taking an existing hotel reservation from any website (Really! Any website) and monitor its price on a large number of websites (such as: booking.com, Agoda, Expedia, hotels.com, etc.) from booking till check-in date.
Once we find the exact room for a lower price, a notification will be sent by email.
In order to reduce the price, a rebooking wizard will guide you through the process of reserving the new booking directly through major booking sites and then cancelling your original order.
Pruvo doesn’t take any intermediate part in the transactions. This way we make Pruvo risk free and provide the user a complete transparency on his rebooking procedure.
3) Do you have competitors? Do you consider Expedia and co. to be competitors?
Yes, there are few competitors around the world that are based on the same idea that hotel prices change frequently. We believe that competition is a good thing – it motivates us into making a better product. Pruvo’s advantage is its transparency to the user which is obtained by providing each user a personal account where he/she can see all his booking and monitor their current price.
Regarding Expedia and co, Pruvo relies on those sites, as all re-booking are made directly through sites like Expedia, booking.com and more. We consider these websites as partners to our journey, as Pruvo is indeed an official affiliate of them.
4) Are hotels okay with your service? Isn’t it possible they will become upset that you are booking rooms from them at their lowest (and perhaps most vulnerable) rates?
Nowadays, websites like booking.com, Expedia and more, offer “Best price guarantee” for your reservation. The thing is that it needs to be done manually (which is an impossible task) and requires you to contact their customer service and prove that the same room with a lower price is still available. Price drops tend to have a short lifespan, and until your customer support ticket gets handled, the price is not available anymore. Pruvo offers you an immediate price reduction by re-booking the same room at a lower price.
5) I see that you have a Chrome extension, but are not in Google Play – any plans for an app?
In order to start tracking a booking, the user needs to forward his confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our chrome extension aims to automate that procedure. Once our extension notices that you’ve made a hotel reservation, it will automatically start tracking it and alert you when it finds a better price – no mail sending needed.
We are currently working on new features and improvements such as a mobile app and more. Needless to say that our website is fully responsive and adjusted to any mobile phone.
6) What are you most excited about right now?
There is nothing more exciting than saving money for our customers.
We just saved $511 for a hotel reservation in New York and $70 for a reservation in Spain (and that is just in a single day!).
7) What is one regret you have since your Pruvo’s inception?
I don’t think there is one. I truly believe that every mistake is a lesson that had to be learned.
8) Do you have any growth numbers you’d like to share with our readers?
We officially launched about a month ago and prompted our service only by word of mouth, and the news spread far and wide. We were surprised to hear lots of positive feedback and get a good traction to the site.
By now we’ve gotten thousands of visits, and we expect these numbers to rise once we start an advertising campaign.
9) Do you plan to utilize your algorithm for any other industries outside of hotels?
We are currently working on some new features that will take part in other industries besides the accommodation sector and we will be happy to share it with you very soon.
10) For fun: Which apps do you have on your phone’s homescreen?
Google analytics and Facebook page manager.
11) For fun: Do you think Microsoft overpaid for LinkedIn?
A: It feels like the valuation was a bit high but it all depends on what Microsoft is planning to do with all the data that LinkedIn possesses.
12) For fun: What website do you go to when you need to check if your internet is working?
13) For fun: One piece of advice for Startups #nofilter?
When starting a startup company, the most important part is selecting the right team. I would recommend selecting team members you enjoy working with and from different fields of expertise.