What Caused Trivago's Christmas Spike?

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

Christmas morning was a happy one for Trivago, as the metasearch engine experienced a spike in its share of paid search traffic on the 25th. The question is: what’s responsible for this Christmas miracle?

On December 25th, Trivago.co.uk experienced a spike in its paid share of voice (SOV), as its share almost doubled – jumping from 9% to 17% – before dropping back to 9% on the 26th.

Before delving into the reasons behind this mysterious jump, we should explain that Trivago is a metasearch engine for a wide variety hotel booking sites, examining results from such online retailers as Booking.com, Expedia.com, LateRooms.com, and TravelRepublic.co.uk.

Moreover, Premier Inn, the main competitor of Trivago’s that we’ll be analysing, sells its rooms on sites like Booking.com, as well as on its own website.

Trivago Competition and Share of Voice

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagovoice.png” title=”Booking websites SOV, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagovoice.png”][/lightbox]
Booking websites SOV, Adthena data

Each of Trivago’s competitors experienced a slight drop in their SOV on the same day that Trivago’s rose dramatically.

PremierInn.com and Booking.com remained in the first and second positions, respectively, but Trivago very nearly overtook them, with each of the competitors’ SOVs falling about two percentage points.

Trivago Competitors and Share of Spend

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagospend.png” title=”Booking websites SOS, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagospend.png”][/lightbox]
Booking websites SOS, Adthena data

The share of spend data above displays no changes that could have caused the anomaly that occurred on the 25th.

Throughout December, Trivago’s closest competitor was LateRooms.com, and the two closely matched each other’s performance in terms of SOV. LateRooms, however, spent much less money to earn its SOV than Trivago did.

In the beginning of December, the two competitors were neck-and-neck in terms of SOV. At this stage, LateRooms.com was spending around 30% less than Booking.com. However, as mid-December approached, Trivago’s share of spend (SOS) dropped to match LateRooms’, and its SOV correspondingly dropped.

So for the better part of mid-December, LateRooms maintained an SOV about 15% higher than Trivago’s. The data also shows that LateRooms’ SOS was higher than that of its the foremost competitor, PremierInn.com, while Booking.com held an expectedly massive 36% share of the total spend.

We should note that comparing Booking.com with PremierInn.com is like comparing apples with oranges: Booking.com caters to the entire spectrum of third party hotels (from luxury to budget), while PremierInn.com sells rooms solely for its own budget hotels.

A change in Trivago’s fortunes first materialized when its SOS rose on December 19th, as its SOV rose immediately along with it. Perhaps the old adage does hold true: you make your own luck.

Keyword Overlap

A look at the keyword overlap between Premier Inn, Trivago, and Booking.com reveals that Premier Inn utilized the largest number of unique keywords. This was to be expected, since the hotel chain can afford to be far more meticulous in its keyword bidding for each specific hotel and location.

Booking.com and Trivago cover a much less specific range of keywords and pay a higher price for them as the result of greater competition.

You have to wonder now if Trivago’s spike in traffic was due to a change in their keyword bidding. Perhaps they spotted a few missed keywords that proved particularly valuable on Christmas Day.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Screen_Shot_2014-12-29_at_16.21.12.png” title=”Booking websites keyword head-to-head, Adthena data” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Screen_Shot_2014-12-29_at_16.21.12.png”][/lightbox]
Booking websites keyword head-to-head, Adthena data

Top Performing Ads

Ranked by their traffic, the top seven ads as of December 28th, 2014, included two from Trivago. One ad grabbed the top position while the other came in seventh.

The first ad from Trivago earned an estimated 146,886 clicks. The spend totalled £21,526, and the ad ran for only four days (from the 25th to the 28th of December). The ad was very specific, targeting a Premier Inn in Kings Cross (as seen below).

“Premier Inn Kings Cross – trivago.co.uk
www.trivago.co.uk/PremierInnKingsCross
Premier Inn Kings Cross from £98. Best London Rates from 200+ Sites.”

Premier Inn ran the ads that came in second, third, and fourth, and all of them ran for at least 30 days. The ads were very similar to one another and garnered a total of 293,077 clicks at an estimated total cost of £62,773.

LateRooms ran an ad that came in fifth place, while one from Holiday Inn came in sixth place. Perhaps a cautionary tale, Holiday Inn spent an estimated £99,551 on a spot that only got 44,894 clicks and ran with a relatively high frequency of approximately 84%, suggesting that searchers found the ad highly unattractive.

Finally, Trivago’s seventh-placed ad was another for a Premier Inn property, this time in Albert Dock Liverpool. It ran from December 26th onwards.

[lightbox rel=”group1″ width=”860″ href=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagoads.png” title=”Booking websites ads, Adthena” src=”https://www.adthena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/trivagoads.png”][/lightbox]
Booking websites ads, Adthena

Perhaps the spike in Trivago’s SOV can be attributed to the ad for the Kings Cross Premier Inn. This is quite possible considering the fact that Trivago didn’t earn a high amount of traffic from its second-best spot (only 39,756 clicks).

This one successful ad run in an expensive city at a peak period may have attracted enough traffic to nearly double Trivago’s SOV performance.

At any rate, if you’re looking to get a leg up on the competition, especially during a peak shopping period like the one detailed here, employing Adthena’s unique tracking tools is a must. Give us a call today and take two steps ahead of the competition.

(Main image credit: Davide D’Amico/flickr)

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.