From Dusseldorf to a billion dollar NASDAQ IPO—trivago founder on stage at OMR Festival 2017

Trivago founder, Ralf Schrömgens
Trivago founder, Ralf Schrömgens

trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens to appear at OMR Festival 2017

For its most recent IPO, trivago generated a massive valuation—roughly USD 4.7 billion to be precise—making the hotel search engine one of the most successful digital companies ever founded in Germany. What better guest to have on stage at OMR Festival 2017 than trivago co-founder and CEO Rolf Schrömgens. He’ll divulge some insight into the company’s marketing strategies that helped trivago achieve such unprecedented success.

Back in 2005, trivago was founded in a modest office in the small Düsseldorf suburb of Flingern. “Our aim at the time was to create a commercialized version of Wikipedia for travelling,” said Schrömgens in early 2016. What began as a hotel ratings portal, quickly morphed into a meta-search engine for hotels that kept growing and growing, year after year. In 2012, Expedia acquired a 61.1% share in trivago—for EUR 477 million.

More than USD 800 million in revenue

Today, trivago is connected to more than 200 booking platforms, including an impressive 1.3 million hotels in 190 different countries. The company employs some 1100 members of staff and in 2015 generated revenue of approximately USD 836 million. Trivago’s growth and success positioned it for a massive and lucrative step last November: its IPO on the NASDAQ.

A large portion of the company’s value creation stems from its marketing activities, as more than 85% of all revenue is spent on advertising. Thus, trivago employs one of the largest search budgets in Europe and also has also developed proprietary software tools to monitor and steer its performance marketing activities.

Digital pioneer in brand building

Simultaneously, trivago recognized that it was too risky (and too expensive in the long-term) to be dependent on generating traffic through Google. Therefore, they began investing in brand building early on, with the elevator spot, catapulting the company into the European consciousness, while the “Trivago Guy,” did the same for the company stateside. The company itself says that over 50% of all traffic comes from branded sources.

Trivago also seems to have had no difficulty in making the shift to mobile as 50% of revenue is generated through mobile. More than enough reason for us to give spot 2 in our recent Rockstars 50 ranking to Rolf Schrömgens.

Sven Schmidt

His interlocutor on the Rockstars’ stage is German digital insider, VC expert, investor and ICS CEO Sven Schmidt, and he is a regular guest on the OMR Podcast. Sven and Rolf will be taking a deep dive into the trivago model and discuss various insights from the past few years. If that sounds like something for you—act now and get your ticket here before they’re all gone!

Unfortunately some bad news in closing: Ben Lerer had to cancel his appearance at OMR Festival 2017. While it’s disappointing for both Ben and us, some things have priority. Ben and his wife recently welcomed their child into the world. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Ben is unable to travel at present. We wish him all the best and hope to have him on board at a future OMR event.

Roland Eisenbrand & Scott Peterson
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