CODE on Campus: Our trivago Experience
Monday morning, 3:30 AM. Even though it is always hard to get out of bed on a Monday, getting out of bed five hours earlier than usual was something else. But, as we all know, the early bird catches the worm and the reason to wake up in the middle of the night was definitely a good one: Visiting our project partners, trivago, at their Headquarters in Düsseldorf. But before we jump right into the action, I’m going to give you a little bit of context about who I am and why my team and I visited the HQ.
My name is Till ─ I’m 20 years old, born and raised near Hamburg, and despite the stereotype of Northern Germans, really talkative. I’m studying product management in Berlin. And yes, you read that correctly, you can actually study product management nowadays ─ more precisely at the CODE University of Applied Sciences, which was founded in 2017. I, amongst 87 other students, took the dive into cold water and started studying at a University that was and still is like a startup, meaning it comes with all the great and sometimes as well with all the frustrating things I am sure most of you already experienced in your career.
The main idea of CODE is to create a self-driven “learning by doing” study experience for its students in the courses Software Engineering, Interaction Design, and Product Management. And since the best way to learn the skills is by applying them in projects, this is what we do at CODE. In the beginning of each semester every student can choose the projects that sounds most appealing to them and their individual learning journey. The available projects range from student-created projects, projects with young startups and projects with established and renowned companies such as (surprise!) trivago.
Okay, let’s get back to our visit to trivago’s campus in Düsseldorf. After one of the hardest landings ever courtesy of Eurowings, we arrived in the capital of North Rhine Westphalia. Of course, we didn’t only visit trivago to have a look around in the new impressive campus and to play FIFA and Kicker during our downtime, but also to present our project outcome. 12 weeks before we visited the campus, the team was having the kick off meeting for TripMe, a project curated by Tiago Ferreira, Software Engineer and Brian Sinclair, Product Manager at trivago. Our team consisted of two Software Engineers, Jonas and Tobi, one Interaction Designer, Dominic, and me as a Product Manager. Also a big thanks to our CODE internal team coach Florian, who helped us a lot along the way!
The task was to create a product that is able to convert around 30% of trivago’s traffic, the so-called “Browsers” with no defined hotel destination in mind, into revenue. Basically, the user would give the input on which category (“Beach”, “City”, etc.) he/she has in mind, the time frame, the amount of different locations the user wants to see, the continent he/she would like to go to, and the departure/arrival airport.
As we all know, a product does not become a reality from the one day to another, so we went on and did some research about people’s travel behavior, we looked at other existing services out there and had multiple ideation sessions regarding designs and features. With the great support from trivago, providing us with multiple APIs including the Hotel Search and the destination finder API, we created our own API using the ones from trivago as well as external ones. We managed to put the process of selecting all the different filters and preferences for an individual travel request on one page, making it easy to understand and convenient to use. While our current MVP design looks a bit different, you can find a picture of the user flow below:
It was amazing to see the reactions when they first saw the product and what we have achieved in the last 12 weeks. I think we can confidently say that we exceeded Tiago and Brian’s expectations ─ their feedback and collaboration was really much appreciated and helpful during the journey of turning this exciting idea into an even more exciting product that, with the manpower and (a lot) of data, could definitely become one of the coolest and most convenient booking platforms for personalized, all-in-one travel packages.
Our visit at trivago’s campus once again proved that we were lucky to have been able to work with such a motivated and extraordinary partner. The people we met during the day were all super interested in us and so were we in the people that make trivago what it is. Oh, and also seeing a proper cafeteria with reasonable prices was a great experience (you have to know that CODE is embedded into a huge co-working building called Factory, where every meal is quite pricey, to say the least, and for someone like me who loves a nice Pizza or Pasta every once in awhile is is definitely not the best place to go), so props for that!
But, as we all know, all good things come to an end, and there was no better way to end off an exciting day than by trying out trivago’s very own Bottoms Up beer! In the name of the whole TripMe team I would like to say a big THANK YOU to trivago for this great experience! Thanks to Tiago and Brian for being such great partners to work with, thanks to Ankia for organizing the visit and thanks to all the trivago employees we got a chance to talk to during the day! CODE is looking forward to many great years of collaboration to come and we are excited to see what the future has in story for CODE x trivago! Now, there is only one question left: Is anyone really using the running track on the roof?
For those interested in getting involved:
If you have any particular project or idea in mind and you would love to work together with a talented and extremely motivated group of students from all parts of the world and from all kinds of backgrounds, feel free to reach out to CODE’s person in charge or partnership, Emilia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ankia (email@example.com) who is in charge of university collaborations.