online platform Van der Valk Exclusief

How can you improve and develop a complex online platform of 40 unique hotel websites with hundreds of thousands of reservations? This question was given to the We Are you development team that has been working with Van der Valk Exclusief in the field of concept, design, marketing automation and technical realization since 2009. 

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Client

Van der Valk Exclusief

Focus

make 40 unique hotel websites efficient and mobile first

Result

one manageable, future-proof platform

aging platform

The Van der Valk Exclusief platform was already 5 years old, designed for desktop  and running on older technology. Along with this the platform had been continuously expanded with new hotel websites and the addition of more and more challenging functionalities. Consider, for example, accelerated online check-in, which limits your waiting time at the hotel reception, the ability to quickly find hotel packages tailored to your needs and the ability to communicate directly with a hotel employee via a message centre. When developing these new functionalities, we increasingly ran into the technical limits of the outdated platform. 
 

shift to mobile

The number of visitors has also risen considerably in recent years. From desktop there was a shift of traffic to mobile. However, the mobile sites were just a simplified version of the desktop platform, meaning that some of the booking features such as the booking of multiple rooms were unavailable. The combination of the ageing platform, the techniques used and the code, this meant that it was high time for Van der Valk Exclusief to move to a new platform. A future-proof platform that offers optimal user experience on both desktop and mobile. 

efficient development 

In the new platform, the technological focus is on faster, easier and better (further) development.  We thought everything through with the client: the code, the architecture, the structure and measureability of the new platform. It is a large platform with many different themes, variants and links to underlying systems. Nevertheless, it was possible to organize it in such a way that the addition of new functionalities takes less time. Now its also possible for a new colleague to step in and work easily and directly on the platform.

reuse code through modular design 

Along with the efficient development, the future-proofing of the platform was a prerequisite for the technology of the new platform. With the idea that the platform should have a five year life span, everything is modular. This allows us to reuse code for the development of new applications, such as a table reservation system.

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convert phased websites

Thanks to the efficient design of the new platform, more and more possibilities and functionalities can be delivered faster and faster. The first renewed websites are live on the new platform: Van der Valk Exclusief and the hotel sites Hotel Heerlen and Hotel Enschede. In addition to developing new functionalities and applications, we redeveloped the rest of the websites. Most time was spent updating and placing content. The goal is to phase the old platform out as quickly as possible. 

"Thanks to the new platform we have many more possibilities and we can deliver new functionalities faster and faster. This also means that Van der Valk Exclusief's expectations are becoming increasingly extensive and complex. Working together dynamically is very important here. Often they cannot immediately articulate exactly how they want it, they want to see it first and make changes and improvements during the process."

-  Fleur de Kroon, Front-end Developer