Company Name – Trivago
Founder – Matte Siewert, Rolf Schrömgens, Stephan Stubner, Peter Vinnemeier
Widely popular for the Trivago guy and Trivago girl showing audience how to find the “ideal hotel”, the German transnational company Trivago N. V. is marketed with the name trivago in lowercase styling. From information technology to internet services especially for lodging, hotels, as well as meta-searching fields, the services of Trivago, is not only limited to websites but also as a mobile app. Trivago has its headquarters in Düsseldorf of Germany and as a matter of fact, it was the foremost German search engine for hotels. All international operations of the company are dealt at the headquarters and this is where 90% employees of the company work. The current CEO is Rolf Schrömgens, CMO is Andrej Lehnert, COO is Johannes Thomas, CFO is Axel Hefer and CPO is Anna Drüing.
How It All Started
It was January in 2005 when the opportunity of creating an online hotel search engine was given a real look by the four founders in Düsseldorf –Peter Vinnemeier, Malte Siewart, Rolf Schrömgens and Stephen Stubner. Among these four founders and managing directors, Stubner soon resigned but the fate of Trivago was not to be perished as the company achieved €1 million investment from investors namely Florian Heinemann, Christian Vollmann etc.
Howzat Media LLP also invested 1.14 million USD through Series B funding. By 2010 end, Trivago sold one-fourth of the company’s stake to Insight Venture Partners and after around three years, its 61.6% stake was acquired by Expedia.
The Trivago mobile app was developed in the month of December in 2014 and in the following year, Johannes Thomas and Andrej Lehnert was appointed in the group of Managing Director.
The idea of Trivago was conceptualized from one garage in Düsseldorf with the four university friends’ initiatives and after Stubner left the start-up to start his career as professor, the founding team got its new member in Malte Siewert. Trivago was launched officially in Germany in 2006 and in the first financing round the company became popular as price comparison website where hotel price comparison was introduced for the first time. In the second financing round, Trivago was launched in France, Italy and Spain –as a result, the company earned profitability in the following year.
Trivago now launched its metadata searching feature for the website and after its first television campaign was launched in 2009 in Spain and Germany, the launch of trivago.com took place in 2010. In the following year, Trivago was launched in Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Belgium and in 2012 and 2013, respectively, Trivago was launched in the US and Asia. From 500+ employees in 2014 to twice number of employees in 2016, Trivago was able to create 55 localized platforms.
On 16th December in 2016 Trivago was publicly traded under symbol of TRVG on NASDAQ exchange. By 2017, Trivago had more than 230 booking sites enlisted, more than 180 hotel sites included and had over 11,300 individual hotels under its wing.
Trivago’s marketing strategy and reasons behind its success
- With less than 2 million USD external funding, building and promoting of the brand was a challenge but in 2008, Trivago took an unconventional strategy to reach out to the wider audience. Apart from relying on search engines like Google for delivering traffic, Trivago relied on TV advertising as it was effective yet not risky. During that period, digital brand marketing by travel companies was not common and hence, this strategy was a success.
- In order to emerge as a global brand, Trivago has made sure to stand as forerunner in competition with other market and in this strategy, the introduction of the “Trivago Guy” was significant in aiding brand awareness. The brand faces of the Trivago Guy and Trivago Girl has always been homely faces instead of celebrities and for marketing in India, Trivago has even appointed its Country Manager Abhinav Kumar as brand face.
- Trivago has made sure that its revenue does not get affected by business model confusions and without negotiating on commissions like its competitors, it relies fully on cost-per-click i.e. whenever a user clicks on any link, Trivago gets revenue. With CPC bidding on property level, Trivago lets advertisers fine-tune bidding strategies instead of choosing among presets. In showing property rates, the lowest is always shown on top so that both advertisers and customers are benefitted.
- The dependence on mobile app has aided Trivago earn over 50% revenue because customers are now more dependent on mobile rather than desktops. The price structure on desktop and app is not different. Trivago depends largely on the parent brand of Expedia and Priceline Group which, although competitors, contribute significant percentage of revenue of Trivago.
There is hardly anyone with a television at home who has not seen the simple and somewhat irritating advertisements featuring the Trivago guy or girl and as a matter of fact, almost half of Trivago’s sales owe to these advertisements in various countries including France and the U.S. The advertising campaigns of Trivago rely on using various formats, identifying the ineffective formats and adapting to investments according to outcomes. In 2013, Tim Williams starred in the first Trivago advertisement and in the following years, this format was dubbed in different languages for different countries.
Focusing on different scenarios faced by customers having Trivago experience, there were videos shot and promoted in different cities like Venice, Barcelona and Berlin. Two advertisements featuring couples were also aired where the main aim was to emphasize the catchphrase depicting same experience in same hotel but with different prices.
In order to showcase three major markets namely America (New York), Europe (Italy) and Asia (Bangkok), the campaign format was changed with catchphrase depicting that Trivago is omniscient about hotels. To target more audience, the videos were dubbed in eleven local languages. Although Abhinav’s Indian campaign featuring the (in)famous question “Have you ever searched hotels online?” faced many criticisms especially from millennial audience, Trivago has not changed the face, but focused on highlighting more important features of Trivago.
Apart from the Hotel Manager as B2B Platform and Trivago App, the company has offices in Shanghai, Amsterdam, Palma de Mallorca and Leipzig. Although there are few negative responses regarding the overly promotional Trivago Guy, as a whole, the initiative of Trivago is undoubtedly unique.
With millions of hotel ratings along with supporting pictures, Trivago site is supposedly the largest hotel search engine across the globe.