Skift Take

It's ironic that one of the first reported instances of AI taking jobs in the travel industry revolves around Trivago displacing a couple of dozen pitchmen and pitchwomen around the world.

Trivago is rolling out its first major brand advertising campaign since the company changed its leadership seven months ago, and the multi-country ad blitz replaces its roster of professional pitch people with one actor who speaks numerous languages thanks to the power of AI.

“The spot is an evolution of the Mr. Trivago or Mr. and Mrs. Trivago spots that in the past had 20 spokespeople and 35 productions,” Trivago CEO Johannes Thomas told Skift. “The beauty now in leveraging AI is to have one actor in one production, and being able to cut production times in half.”

It will be the first campaign since the company decided to go big again with brand advertising. It features UK actor James Sheldon and runs in multiple languages, with AI powering the linguistic bonanza. In prior years, Trivago contracted with nearly two dozen actors, who took the Germany-based lodging metasearch site through its paces in their own native languages for local audiences.

The Trivago Brand Campaign and Visual Identity

Trivago claims the campaign is “a first-of-its-kind AI-driven television advertising campaign.”

Beyond the AI twist, the ads don’t break any new ground — they revolve around the familiar advice to search for a hotel and compare prices from multiple websites on Trivago. But they unveil a new logo and visual identity.

Here is the new Trivago logo with the T resembling a checkmark, as in check, you’ve found the right deal. You can also feel “super” about “outsmarting the system,” Thomas said.

Here’s the new logo:

Here’s the former one.

“The essence of Trivago’s brand refresh is captured by its promise to help users ‘Search Savvy. Feel Super,’ the company said regarding its new visual identity. “It encapsulates the core benefit of providing travelers with a smart, efficient way to compare hotel offers, saving them both time and money. The emotional payoff, ‘Feel Super,’ captures the satisfaction of users who feel assured that they have obtained a better deal.”

The ad campaign is slated to kick off in Denmark and Canada in mid-December, and would debut in the U.S. around Christmas. It will also appear in the Netherlands and Brazil.

Trivago Hoping for Double-Digit Growth

Thomas said the direction for Trivago is to position the company as very relevant to the traveler. “We want to get back to double-digit growth in the medium term. So we will invest substantially into the brand, which has been very important for us in the past.”

He said regaining that momentum will be a multi-year effort. “You start investing, you see return of that in the second year, you add brand investment on top, and then it’s a compounding effect over time until you return to growth,” Thomas said. “And and that’s pretty straightforward for us.”

Thomas said Trivago spent around 50 million euros ($54 million) on brand advertising in 2023, but that’s only a “fraction” of the company’s brand spend in the years leading up to its 2016 IPO.

Spoiler Alert

Here’s a spoiler alert: Several years ago, when the U.S. “Trivago Guy” commercials were all over U.S. TV, many viewers focused on actor Tim Williams’ scruffy look, and the fact that he didn’t wear a belt.

In the new ads, actor James Sheldon wears an overshirt that doesn’t quite fit. Let the viewer comments roll in.

Here are portions of the ad in multiple languages:

Here’s the ad in English

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: advertising, artificial intelligence, marketing, online travel agencies, online travel newsletter, trivago

Photo credit: Actor James Sheldon in a new Trivago advertising campaign. Source: Trivago Trivago

Up Next

Loading next stories