Van der Valk

Making Dutch leading hotel fit for innovation

Continuous change and growth are at the heart of the Van der Valk strategy. How do we make sure this growth doesn’t limit the flexibility of the platform?

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Context

Van der Valk internet started out with a few applications. In over 10 years they’ve become the hotel market leader of the Benelux. The platform of the Dutch hospitality entrepreneur now has more than 70 hotel websites and additional marketing websites, like ValkVerrast, ValkDeals, ValkBusiness and Valk.com.

Our work for Van der Valk Hotels (couple enjoying a talk and cocktails at the hotel bar)

Less is more

Our multidisciplinary development team expands the digital platform every year. For each application, we make technological choices that are the best at that moment. Such variation of technology and building blocks is characteristic of the technological evolution of the past decades and of the future. But a versatile tech range could eventually stand in the way of growth: tools get outdated, technological updates conflict, and errors occur. Next thing you know, you’re putting out fires while you should be innovating.

Sorbet ice cream Van der Valk Hotels
Theaterhotel Almelo Van der Valk

Solution

Our multidisciplinary team is working together with Van der Valk on a futureproof platform strategy. The Trail Map from Cloud Native Computing Platform leads and inspires us in the process. Trail Map is a method and guideline for organizations that want to take the step towards Cloud Native, with partners like AWS, Google Cloud, Apple, IBM and Microsoft Azure. Cloud Native includes working methods, technologies and processes that help organizations accelerate and build trustworthy systems. There are more advantages, like cost reduction, scalability and more agility for innovation.

Less is more

The Trail Map lets us make smart technology choices along the way and apply the best practices to get the best end result. What does that look like?

Firstly, we picked several blueprint building blocks. These are building blocks that are woven into the core architecture of the entire ecosystem. Think of the infrastructure based on Amazon Web Services. All the building blocks around the Van der Valk platform are constantly reviewed. We always ask ourselves the question: retain, adjust or renew completely? Sometimes we literally pull the platform apart and split the back-end of the applications up into loose microservices. This is how we make sure the errors or bugs in microservice A don’t influence microservices B, C and D. Side benefit: microservices can be expanded relatively easily, generally at a low cost.

For the front-end, we develop components that we use in multiple applications. We can also use these in future applications. This way the look & feel of the Van der Valk brand can evolve without resistance. Thanks to the technological choices mentioned above, future expansion is easier to plan and takes up less time and budget.

Results

  1. Much easier to scale up the platform.
  2. Significant decrease of maintenance time.
  3. A consistent look of all hotel websites.
  4. Increased performance of the hotel website, i.e. faster loading time and fewer payment malfunctions.

In the end of the day, it’s the sum of subtle changes that makes a big difference; for example in the number of bookings. However, a platform strategy is alive, a neverending story. We’re walking down a road of ongoing optimization and continuously invest in the future.

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