Zero commission hotel room website Treovi plans to exit beta early in 2014 with a focus on major European city destinations.
Co-founder Michal Wrobel said the site has been running in beta 2.0 for the whole of this year adding new functionality.
It has also been enhancing its hotel extranet offering as well as integrating with channel managers. Currently it is connected to nine but has a further 45 in development.
Wrobel said the fundamental model has not changed, with Treovi operating a Gumtree classifieds-style ‘freemium’ model under which it will monetise by charging to optional services.
“In January or February will be exiting beta for a fully fledged website with a new design for the homepage and new features for the extranet for hoteliers.
“We have listed to a lot of suggestions from hoteliers regarding how to make the extranet faster and to create hotel profiles – features hoteliers need.
“Our major focus from now on is major European cities where can have the volume to offer a value-added proposition compared to other big OTAs.
“If a major OTA has 1,200 properties in Barcelona, for instance, we will have 400-500 to be able to compete. At the moment we achieve this type of figure in major European cities.
“We will be able to launch very focused campaigns to advertise these locations in order to encourage people to use Treovi instead of the competition.”
Wrobel said integration with channel managers makes the Treovi business model a “no brainer” for hotels who are looking to avoid the costs of distributing through existing online agents.
He claimed interest from hoteliers was growing, in particular from some of the chains in the hospitality sector.
One other potential threat to the business model is rate parity, but Wrobel believes Treovi can find ways around this.
“In theory we cannot be cheaper because of rate parity. We will try to make the customer understand that at some level Treovi will mean cheaper prices.
“The important thing for us is to create a set of product offerings that are very relevant to the customer, to set a competitive benchmark.”
Wrobel believes that a legal challenge to rate parity is likely to work in Treovi’s favour and the site has always said it will seek to exploit new channels like social media where it is not necessarily an issue.