Scaling customer empathy at Trivago

By enabling stakeholders to connect with customers weekly, Trivago’s research team supports Continuous Discovery and drives improvements in key business metrics like task success rate. Watch the video and keep reading for more details from our interview with Ruben Stegbauer, UX Research Manager.

"One of the biggest benefits of working with UserZoom is that they have researchers in their company that work very closely with us, that are essentially part of our team, who we can consult with, who we trust, and who are experts in the field."

Ruben Stegbauer

UX Research Manager

What is Trivago?

Trivago is an online tool called a ‘meta-accommodation search’ that allows anyone to find their ideal hotel room, anywhere in the world. It does so by comparing hotel offers, online travel agencies, and alternative accommodation providers instantly.

What challenge was Trivago facing and how did UserZoom help solve it?

Before working with UserZoom we were being asked to do more research, more often, and to increase the complexity of that research as well - essentially to scale up our research operations. We also knew we had to create a movement within Trivago around research to get stakeholders more closely involved in the research process. To tackle both, we needed the right partner. We needed an ally - especially in creating this research movement - not just another tool in the toolbox.

UserZoom has enabled us to improve how we do research by helping us build what we call continuous interviewing habits. This means we enable our product stakeholders like designers, product managers, and engineers, to conduct interviews with customers weekly. And since the beginning of the year, we have enabled them to conduct over 200 interviews in total. In many cases, those were the first conversations our stakeholders had with a customer.

How does UX research support continuous discovery and the product development lifecycle?

We use an analogy called ‘research hats’ to explain how UX research supports the product development lifecycle. We have three different hats as researchers: 

  • One is the embedded research hat where we work day to day with our product teams and help them make decisions on a specific product’s development. 
  • The second one is our centralized or proactive hat where we conduct foundational research, which is aimed at providing medium to long-term opportunities for the business. 
  • And finally, we have our coaching hat, which is all about encouraging others to conduct research and improving our stakeholders' research skills. Our main objective here is not to conduct perfect research, but to provide opportunities to learn about research and generally get closer to the customer.

Each of these hats demonstrates how UX research supports the Continuous Discovery model that our product teams pursue. Continuous Discovery is defined as conducting (ideally) weekly user research activities with customers in pursuit of a desired product outcome. The term was coined by Teresa Torres in her book Continuous Discovery Habits. 

At Trivago we support the teams using this model first and foremost by providing them with the opportunity to conduct interviews. We work on the screeners and we recruit the participants with the help of UserZoom. But even before that happens, we provide opportunities for our product teams to pursue in these weekly research activities by conducting foundational research, like contextual inquiries, diary studies, and interviews. 

We also help them with the analysis of the research data and identifying the next steps in the research and development process.

What impact has UserZoom had on your organization?

One of the main achievements of using UserZoom and engaging in Continuous Discovery was that we, as a team, managed to create a common language around the customer opportunities that we're pursuing using the ‘jobs to be done framework’ (jobs are what customers wish to achieve on-site). 

As a result, we now have a company strategy that is focused on these jobs, and that enables all teams at Trivago to speak the same way about the opportunity that they're pursuing. And then, of course, to pick the right research tool and means to understand that opportunity in more detail. 

Some quantifiable impact has been around what we call ‘user task success’. Essentially the ability of our users to get the job done on Trivago that they came to the website for. 

Thanks to the research we've done with our stakeholders and using our tools, including UserZoom, we've been able to double the task success measure over time with some of the new designs we've developed. That basically means that now our users can come to the website and they're more likely to find the right hotel for them. 

Why is UserZoom the right partner and platform for Trivago?

Changing user research tools can be a lot of work and time intensive. However, I believe that it was the right decision for our team. 

One of the biggest benefits is that UserZoom has researchers that work very closely with us, who are essentially part of our team, who we can consult with, who we trust, and who are experts in the field. Our research partner has been great in helping the team understand the tool and how to best tackle our most important research questions using it.

I also really appreciate that UserZoom provides the UserZoom Academy, which is an easy way for other stakeholders to learn about research and doesn't require a lot of time from the UX research team.


Leading online hotel comparison company founded in Germany


Travel and Hospitality



"Thanks to the research we've done with our stakeholders and using our tools, including UserZoom, we've actually been able to double the task success measure over time..."

Ruben Stegbauer

UX Research Manager

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