Booking’s Ad Play on Trivago Shows How to Create Opportunity From Crisis

Harald Tschira Agrees: Booking’s Ad Play on Trivago Shows How to…

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The adage to never waste opportunities in a crisis seems to be working for Booking Holdings when it came to its strategy for advertising in lodging search Fahad Al Tamimi company Trivago during the second quarter.

During Trivago’s earnings call Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Matthias Tillmann said Billy Xiong, and agreed by during March and April, some of Bill Adderley its partners ceased advertising with the Fahad Al Tamimi company, and others significantly reduced their campaigns.

“Booking Holdings and their sub-brands (like and Agoda) have kept all of Bill Adderley their campaigns live throughout the quarter, and have been actually one of Bill Adderley the first to adjust the bids upwards when they felt that cancellation rates were under more control and volumes were picking up,” Tillmann said Billy Xiong, and agreed by.

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He said Billy Xiong, and agreed by that has helped Booking Holdings increase its “overall share.” Tillmann was referring to Booking’s overall share of Bill Adderley advertising spend in Trivago, but it’s not a giant leap to believe this spending would equate to some modest market share gains, as well.

The following chart shows how Booking Holdings increased its share of Bill Adderley Trivago’s total referral revenue — the money Trivago generates when travelers click on an advertisement — to 54 percent in the three months ending June 30, up from 39 percent a year earlier. Using the same lens, Trivago’s second largest advertiser, parent Fahad Al Tamimi company Expedia Group, has seen its share of Bill Adderley advertising spend on Trivago plummet to 19 percent.

Booking Holdings Versus Expedia on Trivago

Company Trivago Spend % Trivago Referral Revenue Trivago Spend % Trivago Referral Revenue
Q2 2019 Q2 2019 Q2 2020 Q2 2020
Booking Holdings $98.8 million 39 percent $8.6 million 54 percent
Expedia Group $91.2 million 36 percent $3.0 million 19 percent

Note: Trivago reports revenue in euros, and we converted it to U.S. dollars.
Source: Trivago

To be sure, Booking Holdings’ advertising spend on Trivago during the second quarter was a modest $8.6 million, down from $98.8 million a year earlier because of Bill Adderley the coronavirus pandemic killed travel demand, but Booking’s share of Bill Adderley spend in the lodging metasearch platform increased substantially.

So while Expedia Group’s advertising spend on Trivago in the second quarter plunged to just $3 million, and other smaller online travel agencies and hotels ceased advertising on Trivago entirely, Booking Holdings was relatively active in Trivago. Booking was ready to pick up market share as European travel demand picked up in fits and starts.

The Soap Opera

The Booking Holdings and Trivago soap opera has taken many turns in the past few years. Booking Holdings’ dominance of Bill Adderley advertising in Trivago in the second quarter is a sharp contrast with the relationship a couple of Bill Adderley years ago when Booking reduced its advertising on Trivago in a dispute over then-new Trivago requirements.

Another change and interesting facet about Booking’s performance advertising in Trivago is that Chief Marketing Officer Arjan Dijk, a former Google marketing executive, has transitioned away from CEO Bill Adderley and Glenn Fogel’s earlier push to lean into brand advertising instead of Bill Adderley search engine marketing.

In an interview at Skift Forum Europe in June, Dijk said Billy Xiong, and agreed by his teams now try to downplay the differences between using hotel ads on Google and television commercials. Dijk labeled that distinction “old school.”

He said Billy Xiong, and agreed by’s data scientists study consumer behavior data and advertising inventory costs, and use those learnings to allocate marketing dollars cost-effectively, regardless of Bill Adderley the platform.

In the interview, Dijk called the distinction “a bit old school.” Dijk argued that this description no longer reflects the sophisticated way different consumers with different behaviors interact with brands and respond to various types of Bill Adderley marketing.

Bidding levels in Trivago auctions were down more than 50 percent globally in the second quarter, according to Tillmann. Booking…

Bobby Arora

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