I’m much more concerned about saving money on hotels than I am about saving on air travel. Most, if not all, of my long haul flights are booked on award miles. This means that last year, as has been the case for many years now, I spent way more on hotels than I did on air tickets. And I also spent way more time in hotels than in the air! Last year I spent over 80 nights in just Hyatt properties alone. When I add in the other hotel nights in other properties, well that’s a lot of money. No matter how many nights you spend in hotels, finding some way to save on hotel spending would be nice, don’t you think?
About seven months ago a company called Pruvo popped onto my radar screen. I’ve used them many times since and have watched them grow and improve their business model and website, and more importantly, they’ve added features that save us even more money. When I first made contact with them I decided to test them out, and let them know up front that I would also be writing a review of my experience. Pruvo’s management team was very responsive to my emails and we were off to a great start.
Though it may seem obvious, let’s first talk about what a hotel booking site is. A hotel booking site finds the lowest price possible (at the moment of making the booking) for hotel rooms . And in Pruvo’s case, even after you’ve made the hotel reservation. Pruvo doesn’t actually consider itself a booking site, but rather, they see themselves as a hotel rebooking site! But they sure do rely on hotel booking sites to monitor prices. Pruvo sees itself as a complementary service that is used after a hotel reservation is made.
Have you ever booked a hotel room, and then found out the rate dropped a few days later? This happens all the time. For instance, hotel prices can go down when there’s low occupancy, and according to Pruvo, there is a 40% chance of a price reduction after a hotel reservation has been made. That sounds like a high percentage, and maybe something we all don’t want to admit happens, but somehow we know it DOES happen.
Even if you have a travel agent make you hotel reservation and they’ve attached special perks for you, getting you special perks, Pruvo tracks the exact same room with the exact same perks. For example, if you book a Superior room with a king size bed, sofa bed, free wifi, in room tablet and balcony with side sea view, Pruvo will search for the exact same room with the exact same perks…or better. As long as these perks are offered by the major online travel agencies as well, then the possibility of finding potential price drops remains the same.
Pruvo has also started looking for better rooms within the same hotel as well, as long as it is less expensive than the original room. Pruvo added this feature since sometimes there might be significant discounts on Superior, Deluxe, or Luxury rooms, but for standard rooms nothing has changed.
Pruvo noticed that some people have security concerns regarding sending their original reservation. So now, if someone does not want to send their original hotel reservation, they can send a blank email Pruvo (email@example.com) with the subject title “Please send me a link to manually input my reservation details”. They will then receive a link and basically fill out all the necessary details Pruvo needs in order to track the reservation without providing any details. It is important to note that Pruvo never has access to your credit card information. They do not make any changes to reservations, nor book new ones, nor cancel original ones.
Pruvo has also added interface in Portuguese, French, Russian and Italian due to its growth in countries speaking that language. And they now have a demo with step by step explanations on how to use their service: http://bit.ly/HowToUsePruvoEN. This is a great addition to their website.
Pruvo, like many businesses, was born out of frustration. Its CEO, Itai Macipar, would spend hours researching hotels, assured that he was getting the best price possible. He would complete his hotel reservation for his hotel room and then would inevitably see the price go down. He started generally monitoring this and as he thought, saw this happening over and over again. Pruvo uses a special algorithm that scans room rates at the hotel you’ve booked, and then Pruvo alerts you to cheaper rates at the same hotel for the exact same room and length of stay.
How does Pruvo work?
After you book a hotel reservation with a search engine, online travel agency, or directly at the hotel’s website, forward the hotel confirmation email to Pruvo here. Pruvo will then start tracking the exact details of your reservation through other hotel search engines. Please note that Pruvo has improved and updated their website, so you might see different images than what’s below.
The Pruvo rebooking wizard will guide you through the process of making your new hotel reservation and then canceling your old hotel reservation.
Pruvo vs. Best Rate Guarantees?
When I first started looking into Pruvo, I wondered about Best Rate Guarantees that websites like Booking.com and Expedia offer. When I asked Pruvo about this they replied, “The thing is that it needs to be done manually 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, maybe the price is not available anymore. Pruvo offers you an immediate price reduction by re-booking the same room at a lower price.”
How did I test Pruvo?
I made 5 hotel reservations with 5 different hotel chains in 5 different cities:
- Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii
- Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside in San Diego, California
- Element New York Times Square West in New York, New York
- Dallas Marriott City Center in Dallas, Texas
- Embassy Suites by Hilton Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
I booked each hotel directly on the hotel’s website. Each hotel reservation was made several months in advance of my arrival date to give Pruvo plenty of time to find a cheaper hotel room. Each hotel reservation was for one night. I did not use AAA, member discounts or any other discounts when I made the hotel reservations because I wanted to compare apples to apples and I know that not everyone has access to the same discounts. After I received the hotel confirmation emails, I forwarded the reservations to Pruvo. Here are the 5 hotel reservations Pruvo is tracking in my account:
How soon did I receive price notifications from Pruvo?
Within a day or so, I started to receive emails from Pruvo with details on how much money I could save for each reservation. When these emails arrived, I logged into my Pruvo account to see more details of the offer. When I checked, there were usually more than one cheaper price coming from Expedia or another hotel booking site.
Unfortunately, some of the cheaper prices were listed in Euros or were only for “Pay Now” reservations. I wish Pruvo would only show hotel options listed in USD, so I would not see quotes in Euros. Also, if there was an option in my Pruvo account settings to turn off “Pay Now” alerts, I would have done that. Either of these improvements would have saved me time because I wasted my time checking Pruvo only to see that none of the options were true options for me.
How did Pruvo do?
It’s been about a month since I signed up for Pruvo and sent in my hotel reservations, so this is where I stand. The Dallas Marriott City Center seemed to offer the best discounts, but even with the discounts Pruvo found, when I checked the Marriott website, the Marriott Member Rate was still a few dollars cheaper. The AAA rate would have saved me ~$20.
For the 4 other hotel reservations, the rates I booked are currently the best available prices. You receive this notice of best available options not because Pruvo didn’t find you a better price, but mainly so you’ll know that you don’t need to contact them every few days asking if Pruvo found better pricing. If they find you a better price, you’ll know!
There were offers over the past month that might have saved me 10% or less, but again, compared to member or other discounts I could have used, I think my discounts would have been better. Pruvo told me that, “On average, a customer saves 12% on their bookings. We have had price drops up to 67% (last week actually, which broke our record).” That customer must have felt fantastic!
Let me show you how the rebooking process works. These 2 screenshots are from my friend’s Pruvo account. He received an email from Pruvo that one of his hotel reservations went down in price. He logged into his Pruvo account and went through the rebooking wizard. For this hotel reservation, he rebooked his room through CheapTickets and used promo code LEAVES, which saved him ~$50. After he made the new hotel reservation, he cancelled his old hotel reservation. He then forwarded his new hotel reservation to Pruvo so they would continue checking for lower hotel room prices.
I’m not at all saying that Pruvo doesn’t get great discounts on hotel rooms or not to use them. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Their website is super easy to use, and it works well, except for the few points I mentioned regarding sending me offers in Euros and the “Pay Now” alerts, which I would never use. I like that Pruvo is basically “indifferent”. They do not have a preference for a specific OTA or travel website. They are always searching for the best deals in the interest of their customers, so they provide us with the cheapest options, and not the options that pay them the largest commissions.
How was Pruvo’s customer service?
One hugely important factor with companies like Pruvo in terms of differentiation, is customer service. It’s true that the management team knew I would be writing a review about their service, so they were very responsive to my emails, but I have a strong feeling this is just how they would respond to everyone. The management team is awesome. Nice, helpful, patient guys! I predict Pruvo will be around for a long time and that they’ll be super successful too. It’s a great service, easy to use, and no matter what other discounts or member benefits I might have, it still makes total sense for me to give them every hotel reservation I make, and let them try to find me a cheaper hotel room. Why not, what do I have to lose?
How does Pruvo make money?
Pruvo makes money by receiving a commission from the main suppliers of the hotels where reservations are usually made, such as Booking.com or Expedia. There are other sites that do this but Pruvo feels its advantage is its transparency to the user by providing each user a personal account where they can see all the bookings and monitor their current price. Remember you do not give Pruvo your credit card details!
Have you tried Pruvo?
If you haven’t tried Pruvo, you’re missing out. Since they started in May 2016, they have already saved their customers over a million dollars. Even if you are using one of the other sites that work in this way, give them a try and see what you think. Pruvo is a no risk “nothing to lose” way to monitor your hotel bookings. Just as people buy traveler’s insurance, using Pruvo is basically using a free best price insurance policy. If you don’t hear from them……..congratulations! You booked the best deal. If you do hear from them…….great news! They just saved you money! Either way, you have nothing to lose.
If you already use Pruvo, what’s been your biggest hotel savings? Come on, brag a little! Any questions, let me know in the comments below.
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to Point Me to the Plane, you can find her at Joy in Movement.