No belt? No problem! An unlikely spokesperson is now a hotel heartthrob.
It’s a tale as old as time: Texas-born aspiring actor heads to New York and lands minor roles in off-off-Broadway shows, “Law & Order” and “The Sopranos,” scores the lead in a big-screen German romantic comedy and moves to Berlin, joins a long-running TV soap called “Guten Zeitin, schlechte Zeiten” (“Good Times, Bad Times”) as an American rock star, gets cast as a spokesperson in a German travel site commercial in which he’s inexplicably unshaven, sporting a rumpled shirt and missing a belt and promptly becomes a sensation. eliciting emotions all along the spectrum.
“Trivago Guy is the rare pitchman capable of haunting your dreams while simultaneously enflaming your loins,” wrote Rolling Stone. “Forget that Dos Equis dude, Trivago Guy is the Most Interesting Man in the World.” Good times, indeed! If ever there were a brand spokesperson with that certain je ne c’est quoi, that would be Tim Williams, a.k.a. the Trivago Guy. Subject of gender-equality essays, memes, fan fiction, a fake Twitter account (Not Trivago Guy) and an article on “How to Get the Trivago Guy Look” (“Do you own an iron? No? Good.”), Williams takes it all in stride, noting only, for the record, that he was meticulously styled for that first commercial in 2013.
The Trivago Guy has since undergone a makeover. These days, he’s never less than dashing in slim-fit shirts and black jeans, and if his hair is a bit tousled, it’s perfectly so. But he still sports just the right amount of scruff, he still speaks with just the right amount of gruff and he still exudes just the right amount of rough to ensure his heartthrob status remains intact. When he smiles, looks you in the eye and asks, “Hotel?”, there’s really only one answer. And it’s not, “Yes.” It’s branding.
How many Trivago commercials have you been in?
Since 2013, I have filmed 32 commercials for Trivago.
What’s your favorite?
My favorite is hard to say. I’m really liking one we shot recently called, “Awkward Pause.” I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from fans about that one and that’s always a good thing.
In one of the latest Trivago commercials, you play several characters at once and get to exercise your comedic talents. Is it safe to say you’re having fun?
I had a blast shooting that one. It really helps me to create a character if I have different costumes, wigs, etc. You instantly become someone else and it allows you to really have fun, so we all had fun on set with that one. I would love to do more in this style. We’ll see what’s coming next. It’s always a surprise for me.
Are you ever recognized in public? Any memorable fan reactions or experiences?
As for being recognized on the street, I live in Berlin, Germany, and I’m not known for the Trivago commercials there, as they only air in the North American market. In Berlin, they know me for other works I’ve done—television shows and films—but as soon as I’m back home in the States, it’s Trivago Guy. It’s funny, I was watching football with a friend of mine in NYC and the guy sitting next to us was talking with us and after about 25 minutes he turned to me and said, “You sound like that guy from those commercials… the hotel commercials… In fact, you look a lot like him!” I said, “I get that a lot and… yes, it’s me.” He laughed and proceeded to tell me how much his wife likes me. Now he’s actually a buddy of mine.
What’s the best thing about being the Trivago Guy? Do you ever get special treatment when you check into a hotel? Free room service, free upgrades?
One of the great things about being the Trivago Guy is it allows me to travel more than before. No, I don’t get special perks at hotels. It’s given me more opportunities to do things I’ve always wanted to do. Music, for example. I put together my first EP, “Temporary Man,” and, as we speak, I’m working on an LP. This next one will be more country, giving back to my Texas roots. Another good thing is that my family and friends get to see me more than I get to see them.
Is there any downside?
One thing anyone would have to do in my position is to still get other work as an actor. Sometimes when you’re so well-known as one character, it can pigeonhole you. That’s where Germany comes in again. I’ve had opportunities to continue working in other films and television shows there. Would I like to do more television in the States? Of course! That’s the next plan.
What’s the biggest difference between you and the Trivago Guy?
The biggest difference between Trivago Guy and myself? Hmmmmmmm… Let’s see… belts?
Who’s your favorite brand spokesperson?
As for the other spokespeople out there, I’m liking Dean Winters in the Allstate ads. He’s bringing some action to commercials. Of course, there’s Flo from Progressive. She’s been doing different characters as well and I like her take on each of them. She’s having fun in them and it comes through in the spots.
Where else can we see you?
At the moment, you can see some of my other work in a German film called “Labyrinth of Lies,” and “A Coffee in Berlin.” I’ll be in Austria in March shooting a new film for the German market called, “Harry Pinter, Drecksau.”