trivago Experience Academy: Rafting in Austria

At trivago we encourage our employees to be constantly learning, whether that be through a book from our library, regular creative workshops, or our weekly academy speakers. But the most exciting learning opportunity has to be our Experience Academies.

An Experience Academy is not your standard work trip, in the past we have run a meditation retreat, sailed the North Sea and hiked 100km across Spain. But the latest academy was up there with the best, we took 22 employees to Austria for four days of white water rafting and canyoning.

Here’s what they had to say about it…

Sabina – Organisational Culture

“What happens when you send a group of 22 strangers on an adventure? Bonding happens. Canyoning, hiking and rafting in the outdoors are experiences that are connected to risk and require a trustful group dynamic. Within minutes, a platform is created that was made for friendship. Fears are exchanged, weaknesses are communicated and dreams are supported. By dinner, everyone was acquainted and started feeling responsible for their newly found friends. When it was time to get the adrenaline pumping, the group naturally supported each other throughout the experience. I believe this was the most valuable moment”.

Jeremy – Content Talent Development

“Business trips. We all know the drill: pack your bag, drag yourself to the airport, sit in your economy seat, get the bus to your hotel, put on your wetsuit and jump 12m into the base of a waterfall’.

“While it might not sound like a normal business trip, at trivago, it’s an itinerary that’s not wholly out of the ordinary. As one of 20 lucky people chosen from of over 100 hopeful entrants, I was fortunate enough to participate in an Experience Academy in Tyrol, Austria that was wholly organised by trivago and although the trip included white water rafting, canyoning, hiking and an afternoon at Area47 waterpark, those were not even the highlights”.

“Over four days, 22 talents from different pillars of the company (some of whom work in different countries) forged new bonds through our shared adventure. We worked together as a team to encourage each other, push our individual boundaries and at night time share a beer (or two).

Now, when I see someone with whom I shared that time, my mind is instantly transported back to Tyrol; standing on a rocky outcrop, paddling down the river or even sitting in the bus on the last day in shared agony with the kind of all-over pain which tells you that you achieved something special together”.

Jessica – Talents & Organisation

“When Inaki told me about Canyoning, which was the second big part of our rafting adventure, I actually got a bit scared. But in the end, I found myself in a canyon with my 21 other rafting peeps who were supporting for each other like they had known each other for many. Everyone was cheering each other on when someone was brave enough to jump from the high cliff.

I must admit, there was still some scary moments, but having shared this whole experience with this amazing trivago crew was worth every second of fear. I can’t express how grateful I am to have been part of this amazing trip and to get to know more of my colleagues in such a beautiful surrounding like the Tyrolean alps”.

Jelena – Talents & Organisation

“What a trip! I remember sitting in the airplane to Munich, chatting about the upcoming trip and that I was looking forward to canoeing! Then the guys (especially Iñaki) were all laughing at me. “Jelena you should read the instructions before you sign up, we‘re doing canyoning not canoeing….”

“I can honestly say I loved each single activity we did from rafting to the waterpark, but canyoning was my absolute highlight! That day was one of the best in my life so far, I left my comfort zone in so many ways but I also felt so much support from the rest of the team. In between you panic then you are in shock then you jump from the canyon and feel super awesome. My new nickname is Jelly Jumper”.

Inaki – Content Marketing

“I was lucky enough to be invited to help organise the rafting trip, I love these kinds of excursions and I was very happy to be on board. The first morning, after our breakfast, we got ready to go rafting. We geared up (wetsuits, neoprene boots, helmets and life jackets) and drove down to the the river. We took our first dip into the freezing cold water, then started going down the river, surrounded by high mountains and picturesque towns. We had a few chances to go swimming and splashing and playing around with the other boats”.

“The next morning we went hiking up the nearby mountains, it was a short hike but very steep up the hill, we climbed close to 500 meters elevation in less than 3 km of paths and were rewarded with some spectacular view from the top”.

“Then, as the previous day, we got our gear, again the wetsuits and helmets, but this time we also got harnesses, pulleys, carabiners and hiking boots. We then got onto the cars and drove up the mountains. After our safety talk, we got on to the adventure. Using our carabiners and a fixed cable on the mountain, we climbed down a steep wall, slowly making our way to the creek in the middle of the canyon. This was one of the most exciting parts of the day, with the rain and wind adding to it.

Once at the bottom, we started walking in and around the river and started having fun with the many features it had: natural rock waterslides, abseiling sections and small and mid-height jumps (2 to 5 meters). People started getting more comfortable and it was very nice to see the group adapting to everyone. People helping each other, encouraging others and supporting each other, since this was by no means an easy walk”.

“After a short break, we had the option to get out of the canyon or keep going to the most adventurous part: a couple of high abseils, some rope descents and the main highlight: a 10-meter jump into a small water pool below. Almost the entire group decided to push on and finish the canyon, while those who decided to get out were rewarded with a prime seat to witness the action from above”.

Nick – Content

“The trip to Austria was an amazing experience, hiking, rafting, canyoning, and getting to know a group of people at the company I would otherwise have no interaction with. During a quiet part of the rapids we started talking and realized that no two people in the boat were even from the same country. Very cool to see that kind of diversity”.

Judson – Product

“Of the many trivago events and activities in which I have participated, I have gained the highest level of personal and professional value from the whitewater rafting and canyoning Experience Academy to Austria. For those of us on the trip, we bonded in ways which no typical team event could ever match. Surviving these challenges as a group, with the support of one another, many of us who have never met each other or worked together before, have now been bound to one another’s souls in a way which only this kind of experience can achieve. Thanks trivago!”

Domizia – Hotel Relations

“Joining the trivago Experience Academy was one of the most exciting experiences at trivago so far (almost 2 years)! I had such a great time getting to know new colleagues and bonding during rafting and canyoning. 4 days of traveling, hiking, eating, sharing our stories, laughing and experiencing the same amazing feeling of being in such an incredible place”.

“Perfect organization from trivago, a special thanks to Sabina and Inaki, and a reason more to be grateful the company we are working for! I hope more people in the future will have the chance to attend these events that empower us, and strengthen our culture and values”.

Anna – Content Marketing

“The experience academy in Austria was amazing, shared with a really good group of trivago people. It was cool to get to know people who I hadn’t met before and some who I knew from attending boxing classes by name but had never actually talked with them. My favourite part of the trip was no doubt the canyoning. I love extreme sports and I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie, I love the feeling when I do something that I’m scared of”.

“A couple of the highest jumps and abseiling down without a safety rope really got me going. Helping each other get through the scary parts of canyoning and laughing about how stupid we looked in wet suits or how gross it is to put on an already wet wet suit were definitely moments I’ll remember. But most of all I have now even more people from different departments who’ll I’ll actually talk to when I encounter them in trivago, not just say “hi” and keep walking”.

Robin – Content Marketing

“The trip was a great opportunity to meet new colleagues and friends in an amazing environment. As the group was quite small, it was easy to meet everybody and understand what their jobs were within trivago. The quality of the activities ensured we all had a unique experience, it felt just like being in summer camp as a teenager”.


Stefan Durski
Stefan Durski

Stefan is a Marketing and Employer Branding specialist in trivago’s Talent Attraction team.

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