India, Vrindavan – a Hindu ceremony at the Yamuna holy river.

Does Trivago's CEO get it all wrong?

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

TRVL News Does Trivago's CEO get it all wrong?

Last Friday, Trivago’s stock debuted on Nasdaq. In a CNBC interview, Trivago's CEO Rolf Schrömgens said, "I think there is a major problem unsolved and that is getting you into the ideal hotel.” He continues by saying this problem can be solved by "software." Sounds like he hasn't heard of TRVL. Yet.

Jochem Wijnands
Jochem Wijnands Founder / photographer

Pressed further, Schrömgens continued that "it is really about understanding a hotel, understanding what’s good in a hotel, what’s bad in a hotel, understanding also about you. What are you expecting as a customer? And then matching both together. I think nobody is really doing that and that’s a software problem that we want to solve."

Nobody? As a matter of fact, TRVL has built a traveler-to-traveler (T-2-T) booking platform that is solving precisely this problem. The platform connects travelers all over the world and enables them to curate and tailor-make trips for one another, based on local knowledge and personal experiences. They can chat online in real time on the platform and recommend hotels to other travelers or friends that can be booked there and then. On top of that, these amateur travel agents earn a commission on every booking, just like a real travel agent would.

This leads us to our second contention. Schrömgens argues that this was "a software problem that we want to solve," but we don't agree. Engineers are not the ones to solve this problem. Hear us out. How likely are you to buy a book suggested to you on Amazon or watch a series that Netflix is recommending as "Top Picks for You"? Not likely at all, even though these companies have acquired the best AI talent in the world. But if your friend is recommending a book to you, you probably end up buying it. Or, if you overhear someone in a bar talking in glowing terms about the best series he watched in a year, the first thing you do is check if it’s on Netflix. AI is great, but it won't replace passionate recommendations that only travelers can give you.

But we do agree with Schrömgens on one thing: "getting you into the ideal hotel" represents perhaps the biggest challenge to online travel service providers. That's why we founded TRVL. Problem solved. Power to the traveler!

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