Working at trivago in 2020: Your latest FAQs answered

Job hunting in 2020 is understandably even trickier than before and we understand that candidates have many questions regarding the current circumstances and what to expect when starting a new job. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions our recruiters have received over the past months and answered them for you below – let us know if you have any more questions by reaching out to us @lifeattrivago on social media.

How was trivago’s product affected by the global pandemic?

It will come as no surprise that the pandemic had a major impact on the travel industry overall and we’re no exception. 

In general the core value proposition of our product remains the same – people want a holistic overview of accommodation and prices to make the best decision on a place to stay. Nevertheless, the type of searches has changed quite a bit – people are often looking for places within the country, within driving distance, shorter trips or very long stays. 

We’re currently focused on our product to make it relevant for the market post-Covid-19, focusing mainly on local travelling.

During this time we developed a new search function called: “Discover” that supports our users to look for deals around them within a 300 km radius. We’ve seen that there is a desire to travel and we want to support our users to do it in the safest way possible. Coherently with this strategy we also worked on a database called “COVID Travel Alliance” built with other players in the industry such as Eurowings, and Flixbus: the objective is to make information about the travel industry available to other players on the market and give guidance to our users about travel restrictions. If you work in the travel industry you can request free access to the database: our objective is to support our partners and together re-start the travel industry.

Besides these initiatives we’re working on implementing various features both for users and advertisers to accommodate their needs in the new normal.

How much has Covid-19 financially affected your business?

Being a travel business, our revenue almost completely stopped within weeks. This was very difficult at the beginning as the numbers declined daily and it was very challenging to focus on what really matters: the future.

Once we accepted that almost no revenue was our new reality for the foreseeable future, we were able to focus again on the future and what our customers will want once they can safely start any type of travel again: How can we help them to have a good travel experience? Do we have the right product for that customer at that moment in time? We pictured this moment in time, defined a “recovery plan” and started executing on it to ensure that we will have the right product, setup, and marketing once our customers are ready to travel again.

At first our leadership team focused on keeping operational costs at a minimum and we managed to cut significant marketing expenses in a very short time. This helped us to maintain our cash position and sustain our business with almost no revenues streams. Secondly, we focused on our product to make it more relevant for users during the recovery phase, focusing mainly on local travel, which then further improved our cash position over the summer. We are currently also investigating alternative revenue streams such as sponsored listings and other travel verticals. 
For more insight, read this Q&A with our CFO Matthias Tillmann.

What is trivago working on at the moment? 

We know that our users’ travel needs and wants are changing and we’re meeting this newness with changes and services on the main product, but also several product offerings throughout this year.

For example, we believe that we have the opportunity to become much more relevant to travelers, encouraging interaction with our site on a weekly and eventually even on a daily basis. As we believe local and nearby travel will become more attractive, we are working on adapting the product to inspire short-term trips that can be planned spontaneously.

As a result, we put a greater emphasis on domestic travel and built a product, currently in beta testing, that allows users to search for deals close to them. This is fundamentally different from our traditional offering where users have a specific destination in mind when they land on our website. Instead, our new domestic travel product is geared towards travelers who are looking for a trip where they can access nature, or the beach, but don’t have an exact location in mind.

We’ve also engaged in several new initiatives in the past few months, including a recent partnership with management consultancy McKinsey & Company, where we jointly analyze search data and trends that are used throughout the industry to better understand customers. We enhanced our product to offer more filter options and side-by-side comparisons of all hotel deals, including hotels versus apartment rentals, since we know the latter is an increasingly popular option. Finally, to help kickstart local travel, we have offered local destination marketing organizations (DMOs) free promotional space on our platform to allow for direct communication of existing offers in a destination.

We have also been and continue supporting our business partners in the travel recovery and restart phases.

It was also key for us to understand their needs in the new industry dynamics and how, we as a metasearch, can empower them with our tech solutions. We worked with our large partners to enhance an innovation supporting our product offering. We are also launching new products to allow our advertisers to differentiate their offering better and changed to the marketplace to reduce complexity for our advertisers in the future.

For more insight into how we believe technology can empower travel in this time, read this article by our CTO, James Carter.

Why is trivago still hiring people if the travel industry is under pressure? 

trivago is fully focused on the future of travel by targeting our resources to our core product and adapting our offering to the restart of the travel industry after months of complete shutdown. This meant changes to our strategy and some changes to our organizational structure to meet this adjustment. Our core product teams remain strong and unaffected by the structural changes. 

People are the lifeblood of your business, and it’s critical to keep it flowing.

At trivago, we look for people who are hungry and ambitious. And while many entrepreneurs dream of having an international business with global offices, we take a different approach by bringing the world to our door. We hire a diverse team from around the world to work in our headquarters in Dusseldorf, Germany. We call this Diversity of Thought — being able to bring different worldly perspectives under one roof to ensure that we truly have a global focus. The world is changing at an amazing pace. Even ignoring crises like we are experiencing right now; innovation and technology are leading to constant change. Only with the best team can you constantly adapt.

Are people travelling? What is the current status of the travel industry?

We are currently observing three key trends and believe that all will have an impact on the travel market for the years to come.

First of all, there is a significant drop in demand for city trips.

Despite some early recovery in those destinations, the reality is that the reason people travel to big cities is because of the activities they will find there, such as trendy restaurants, the opera, museums, etc. With many of these attractions currently restricted or not open at all, there is much less incentive to travel. While over time attractions will come back, large-scale events will not come back that quickly and overall reduce the attractiveness of metropolitan cities.

Secondly, we observed that summer vacations are sought-after domestically, or at least within driving distance.

Travelers are insecure about the health situation in the destination countries, the certainty of return, and many other factors. While a vaccine will ease some of these concerns, we believe that the trust in international travel has suffered and will take time to rebuild.

Thirdly, business travel is currently almost replaced by remote meetings.

While an improved health situation will enable more business travel, we do believe that the shift towards remote work overall will permanently reduce the amount of business travel, replacing transactional meetings with remote setups and greater focus on relationship building.

After the complete halt of global travel activity in March, we saw a strong recovery of travel activity in May. People do want to travel and they are looking for new experiences, and even more importantly, for the very special moments that travel is providing to all of us with those who matter most. This is the core of our purpose and it is very exciting to see the value that we bring in such a tangible way, in such a difficult time.

How are teams currently working together? 

Over the course of lockdown we had to switch to a fully remote setup. From the beginning, we increased the frequency of our usual internal communication formats. We ran weekly company Q&As to share the latest business and strategic updates, and answer talents’ questions and concerns. We also had smaller Q&A rounds with leads to make sure that we, the Leadership team, address their questions and can support them as best as we can. We had to adapt our internal communication tools and formats, and had to find different ways of staying connected. This differed from team to team, but our team specifically started (and still start) every day with a team stand up where we share any updates and check in with each other, we organised virtual game hours, and generally used a lot more collaborative tools to stay productive.

Something that the crisis has taught us is that working remotely can work well. On the other hand, we also do see the shortcomings of purely digital communication.

With the support of today’s technology, communication works smoothly, and travel and commuting hours can be used more efficiently by focusing on improving our product. However, it is harder to build relationships, smaller, informal discussions are not taking place and overall, the working day feels more stressful. That’s why we’re working on optimising our new mobile work model which allows talents to split their time between home/other safe places and our campus in Düsseldorf. We have dedicated on-campus weeks during which key events take place and teams are encouraged to have catchups etc. How the teams split their time outside these weeks is up to them. For more info on our new hybrid approach, check out this article.

As the situation evolves, we’re working on constantly optimising our new mobile work model which allows talents to split their time between home/other safe places and our campus in Düsseldorf

Disclaimer: As the current situation develops we will constantly be reviewing our work approach and there might be some variations of the setup described here. However, in essence, we will be following a hybrid work approach, splitting our time between home office and our campus.
For more insight into why we’re not going fully remote, check out this video interview with our CEO.

What measures did you take on campus to keep employees and me (as a candidate) safe?

We are following all the health regulations from Dekra, meaning:

  • Entrances and exits to our campus are separated.
  • Wearing a mask is required when moving around the building.
  • Disinfection dispensers are available every couple of meters.
  • Our desks are setup in a fish-bone format to ensure we sit minimum 1.5 meters apart. 
  • Meeting room and elevator capacity has been restricted.
  • We have a disinfection company who comes in to clean our campus on a regular basis. 
  • Any on-campus events have a very limited capacity and talents usually have the option to join remotely. 

Although we’re not conducting a lot of in-person interviews, in cases where we do, we ensure to keep the required distance between interviewers and interviewees, require all participants to wear a mask as they move around on campus, choose a space that is well ventilated and provide disinfection spray.

Is the “checkin week” (onboarding) going to be in person or remotely?

Our checkin week has been back on campus from September onwards. Of course this will constantly be reevaluated depending on how things develop. We’re sticking to all the required safety measures and ensure all newcomers have followed Germany’s restrictions, such as quarantining and taking tests when they arrive from their home countries. They’re being able to actively participate in all the activities, but also join remote sessions if necessary – everything is possible now!

Whereas we had a lot of learning in person before, we now have a new company-wide learning management tool, which we also implemented for training during our checkin week.

This means that newcomers can refer back to content at any time during their onboarding, which is a big game changer and offers more flexibility. To summarise: some sessions are online, and others are still in person to encourage more exchange of ideas and to enable newcomers to continue sharing experiences together.

Any other questions? Reach out to us directly @lifeattrivago on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and we’ll get back to you asap!

Life at trivago
Life at trivago

We want to empower people to get more out of life ─ this includes giving them a space to share their expertise, thoughts and experiences from their life at trivago and beyond!

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