Startup City Magazine
A monthly magazine for business startups and young entrepreneurs.



As the travel season approaches, a major part of planning is to search for an ideal hotel to stay at the holiday destinations. Globally today, the internet has to revolutionise a lot of operations that people perform before and during travelling, one such platform that facilitated hotel search according to the customised need of each traveller is Trivago. The digitally facilitated successful startup has become of the top choices to compare and choose a space where one would like to spend their quality holiday time.

Trivago, a name that is when breaking down in three parts “tri” “va” and “go” means depart in three different languages where “tri” is French, “va” is Spanish and “go” is English. The hotel search platform and a successful startup, Trivago aims to assist user find an ideal hotel at the best price has been remodelling the traveller’s process of searching and comparing. Conceptualised in 2005 by three visionaries who happen to be university friends Rolf Schrömgens, Peter Vinnemeier and Stephan Stubner in a garage, like most start-ups’ first iteration site.

Almost a year after its initiation, in 2006, one of the co-founders Stephan decided to pursue a career in education and become a professor and that’s when Malte Siewert joined the founding team. The brand received positive feedback when it started its operations in the city of Düsseldorf, Germany. The founders spotted the opportunity in the hotel search space and developed Germany’s first hotel search engine. An initiative like Trivago got positive reviews and received €1 million from investors. These investors who trusted the travel booking platform included the Samwer brothers, Florian Heinemann, and Christian Vollmann.

Acquisitions and Investments over the Year

Over the years, the brand received funding from different investors including receiving US$1.14 million in Series B funding from the British company HOWZAT media LLP in 2008. The brand sold a quarter of the company for US$52.86 million to a US investment fund, Insight Venture Partners in 2010. Expedia in 2012 announced that it would acquire a stake in Trivago for $632 million. Trivago acquired mobile app product and development company Rheinfabrik that remains independent after the acquisition in 2014. It acquired a portion of Cloud-PMS Company Base7booking in 2015.

Business Model

Being an online hotel price comparison platform, the successful startup Trivago’s business model includes using a cost-per-click (CPC) as it is associated with various hotels as an advertising partner. Hoteliers and booking platforms rates and advertise on Trivago and pay for the clicks received from user online.

It also offers free and fee-based versions of its Hotel Manager product, which hoteliers use to market their facilities on the Trivago site. Claiming to be one of the world’s largest online hotel search site, the successful startup, Trivago compares rates from over 1 million hotels and more than 250 booking sites worldwide.

Since their majority shareholder is Expedia, the effort is to direct bookings to their sites by way of various “adjustments” to how other sites’ rates are perceived. They also offer rates through many sites reselling for travel wholesalers, where rooms may or may not be available at time of booking.

Marketing a Successful Startup

  • The “Trivago guy”

Trivago has a unique and creative marketing campaign. The brand aired its first U.S. TV advertisement in 2012 and the unusual looking spokesman for the ad turned into a trending hashtag i.e. #trivagoguy. The brand needed someone who is someone real, approachable and genuine to represent their brand when it chose actor Tim Williams to star in the ad.

The brand also has Spanish and French “Trivago Guy” following the large response the U.S. “Trivago guy” received a great response which led it to become a crucial part of the marketing strategy for the successful startup Trivago. Various actors from around the world have received unexpected popularity becoming “The Trivago Guy”, be it Latin America, the Spanish speaking region where

Trivago’s commercials are presented by Spanish actor Gonzalo Peña, or Brazil, where the man shown on screen is the well-known actor and model Willian Mello, or India, in 2016, the actor Abhinav Kumar also created a huge amount of publicity for the brand by appearing ads as “The Trivago Guy”. He also received popularity and become an internet sensation for his role in ubiquitous Trivago ads in India.

  • The “Trivago” Girl

The “Trivago girl” is also an important part of the marketing campaign for this successful startup. Trivago was represented by various actresses around the world to promote the successful startup where in the UK, an Australian actress and musician Gabrielle Miller, in Japan, singer/songwriter Natalie Emmons, who uses the pseudonym “Strae” in the United States, and in Malaysia, actress and TV host Dahlia Shazwan starred in Trivago’s advertisements.

Having various features of an successful startup, the Trivago platform allows travellers to have a platform where they can filter from thousands of hotels by their rating, price, and various facilities Wi-Fi, pool, room facilities, child friendly and many others which makes the startup is not only successful one in one country but globally.

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