Travel | Hospitality
g-company | Part of Xebia
Parkos is the number 1 platform where you can compare and book your airport parking space safe and cheap. Since 2007, Parkos partners with over 400 parking providers in 10 countries at around 60 airports - and counting.
All parking lots are carefully inspected. Customers have free cancellation until 24 hours before departure. And Parkos is doing well: at least 500,000 people have booked with the company so far.
How to Become More Scalable and Robust
Parkos was facing two main challenges:
Business challenge: how to accelerate global growth by improving the customer travel experience, regardless of the number of transactions.
IT challenge: how to address the growing need for speeding up the look-to-book process and go-to-market application development.
Turning the Parking Market Upside Down
Parkos has the ambition to be the number one website for finding, comparing and reserving parking spaces around airports. "We want to be the disruptor in airport parking," says Peter Bosma, Managing Director at Parkos.
Parkos is well on its way and since the start in 2014 is already the market leader in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. The company is 29th in the Deloitte Fast 50 2018 in the Netherlands.
Like many start-ups, Bosma and his partner have more or less started in the garage. They built the first website themselves, reservations were entered manually in the home-brew back-office system. Everything - development, testing and production - ran on a single web server that often went down when a new version of the software came into production.
Address the Need for Speed
“Our ambition is to be number one in ease of use, for our customers, parking partners and our employees. That is why the speed and therefore the user-friendliness of the website, the back-office, had to be improved. 2 out of 3 consumers switch to a competitor if a website malfunctions. Lack of speed is the most frequently mentioned complaint. We also wanted to make the infrastructure much more robust and scalable. And we needed to facilitate continuous code deployment and eliminate downtime. Then you have to go to the cloud," says Bosma.
For improving the website performance, Parkos wanted the website to run in regions close to the customers. Therefore optimizing DNS was needed for pointing the consumers to the website closest to their location. Also full page caching and A/B testing were on Bosma’s wish list.
For improving the back-office performance and application development, the back-office also needed to run in multiple regions. And developers should be able to deploy themselves without delay and without causing downtime. The system should autoscale, depending on web traffic.
During the migration to the cloud, downtime had to be avoided under all circumstances in order to protect the customer experience. “‘Companies that are obsessed about delivering great customer experience, create obsessed customers.’ That is one of our leading principles," says Bosma.
A Fast and Secure Lift and Shift
In October 2018, two months before the migration, Parkos had the first meeting with Xebia and the preparations started. The migration took off in December and was successfully completed a few weeks later.
After the trouble-free conversion and migration of the web and back-office applications, Xebia helped with the upscaling and optimization.
By using Google’s global CloudDNS system, the latency of the website has been greatly reduced. Bosma and his team are able to control the latencies of the various components by 'playing' with Google's worldwide DNS and cloud infrastructure - manually and in an automated way. There is always a DNS server near the visitor, which greatly speeds up the retrieval of information. The web applications run in multiple regions, close to the market or close to the developers. Developers can now deploy independently and instantly, without the risk to bring the environment down. Bosma: “Our engineers are now able to have an application server up and running in any region. In 15 minutes instead of days as before.”
The foundation for further innovation has now been created on Google Cloud Platform. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with Google technology are on the agenda. "We have a lot of data that we can get way more out of," says Bosma.
Added Value Xebia
"Xebia has been indispensable for the success of the project, before, during and after the migration." Xebia has given proof of their expertise in the field of e-commerce, for example with the complex migration of Vliegwinkel.nl and the other labels of travel organization Travix to the Google Cloud." Xebia provided high level support for the lift & shift of Parkos’ web and back-office applications. Expert advice on the reworking of the apps to make them cloud-ready was very effective.
- Process performance improvements: up to 30 percent acceleration of processing in The Netherlands, up to 70 percent in Italy and even up to 80 percent in Australia.
- Better business: a significant increase in conversion and recurring business
- Faster product development: application deployment in minutes instead of days.
- Business continuity: continuous code deployment with zero downtime.
- Future-proof: Parkos' IT is now completely prepared for further global expansion, upscaling and data-driven decision making.