SkiYodl is a ventured travel startup dedicated to pioneering the future of ski travel by offering a simple search process for accommodation in the mountain ski regions along with local ski insights. The company unites a team of ski industry professionals driven to create customer-centric booking experiences with skiing at its core. The knowledge and expertise the team has amassed during decades of mountain living enabled them to build a large online marketplace of hand-picked stays and experiences in mountain regions across Europe.
The overall concept of SkiYodl is that of a specialized booking portal. By the time the company approached GP Solutions, its online booking processing functionality had been under development for over a year. It already had a unique frontend look & feel along with a set of basic functional elements: online search & book flow, connections to travel data suppliers, online payment options, etc.
However, the project’s progress faced certain challenges that needed to be solved as soon as possible to facilitate further growth and development. First of all, the initially applied architecture turned out to be unsustainable and needed modification. Furthermore, a number of important custom features got stuck in the development pipeline and could not be released. It was critical to get it going at a faster pace and, more importantly, make the release of new features consistent and continuous.
Looking to solve these challenges, SkiYodl decided to look for an alternative software vendor. The company wanted to find a technology partner with sufficient travel domain background, proven expertise and solid travel tech know-how. Ultimately, preference was given to GP Solutions.
Our team was actively engaged in the development process as of July 2022 and soon fully replaced the original development team.
First and foremost, GP Team had to fine-tune the development process, make it run smoothly and comfortably for the project stakeholders at SkiYodl.
The team started off by revamping the existing project development pipeline hosted on Trello. Development process management and supervision moved to Jira Software, which offered much more appropriate functionality. Development methodology was changed to Agile Kanban. It was chosen as it proved to align perfectly with the Client’s changing priorities and constant need to fit in urgent fixes and updates into the existing pipeline.
Next, our team introduced a more organized and systematic approach for new software releases. The previous approach was irregular, with floating release timelines. As a result, the project switched to a more predictable and coherent 2-week release cycle.
Besides, there was a major step forward in terms of requirements management when a permanent Product Owner from SkiYodl joined the team. This way tech assignments for the dev team became much more elaborate and precise in terms of expected functionality, business needs and workflows.
Active development work began with GP Team solving a range of critical inconsistencies with existing software code. During the first several months, our team managed to resolve numerous issues, including:
Hubspot CRM served SkiYodl as the central storage of leads and opportunities coming through the booking portal. Our team reviewed and updated the existing API-based lead capturing process. As a result, all incoming requests started to arrive in the CRM properly, with all relevant CRM fields and entries getting completed according to the Client’s expectations.
Our developers streamlined the legacy code and logic governing the display of property images received from the data supplier and stored on the designated Amazon Cloud hosting space. The existing code was debugged and refactored to make sure relevant graphics were pulled from the data storage consistently across all relevant website pages.
In order to make sure any functional system issues get properly tracked and identified, our engineers improved the logging solution. The new infrastructure was based on time-tested tools – Centrio and Mezmo. It was also enhanced with custom scripts for better activity tracking.
The existing mobile look & feel was far from optimal and wasn’t always functioning properly in mobile browsers. Our team refactored the mobile layouts. As part of this process, our specialists removed redundant HTML templates and created a set of new mobile-optimized web pages. In addition, they also applied to the fullest their knowledge of the latest UI / UX design practices and reshaped the overall mobile design concept to make it more user-friendly.
Once the most pressing issues with the legacy code had been fixed, our team proceeded to gradually introduce new functionality to the portal. Our tech specialists managed to set up an efficient continuous delivery process, which led to regular releases of brand-new custom features. Below are the highlights of this project phase:
Introduction of reusable UI components is a widely spread practice in modern frontend development. The main idea behind this approach is to ensure repeated use of functionality serving the same purpose across different parts of the solution.
In the case with SkiYodl our team utilized Angular.JS frontend development framework. Reusable components appeared in multiple parts of the website, including:
Another highly important upgrade was applied to the existing search & book process. It was reconsidered and ultimately went through a major redesign. Enhancements were made to all the key portal webpages. Among others, these included:
Our specialist prepared a fresh design and created newly optimized page templates following the latest web-design trends. Specific attention was paid to the product price display and processing. Our team eliminated redundant frontend functionality and shifted the entire logic to the backend – a rational solution for improved performance. Furthermore, our developers expanded the range of data received from the connected accommodation supplier by applying additional API methods.
Originally quite basic and limited, ‘My Account’ section of the portal received a new lease of life. It was enriched with lots of updated sections, including:
The newly revamped and modernized user cabinet offered next-level usability for the users. New functionality had a well-thought UI developed in line with the contemporary approaches practiced in travel tech. Besides, it was expanded with lots of important options that were required to make the user experience well-rounded and complete.
Adding up to the above, GP Team also contributed to the implementation of:
After a year of cooperation, the team allocated by GP Solutions managed to achieve considerable results.
The main highlight is that 85% of legacy code was redesigned and optimized to better meet the Client’s expectations. Also, the new development process applied by GP Team proved its efficiency in practice. Release of new software features became regular and consistent.
Generally, it would be safe to say that the tech side of SkiYodl’s portal received a major positive boost. The system went on to expand its range of available options at a much faster pace, became feature-rich and considerably more appealing for the end user in terms of performance and overall user experience.
“We’re impressed with their willingness to always find a way to make things happen. It is a very honest relationship we have with our team at GP Solutions, and they really do feel like an extension of our own company. This isn’t something you find every day.”
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