All offers and prices at a glance: The success story of all4cloud customer Holidu on the way to an “intelligent Enterprise”
As one of the prominent search engines, Holidu compares the offers of all important vacation rental portals and enables direct access of incredible over 10,000,000 vacation accommodations. Users appreciate the lightning-fast, transparent, and comprehensive price comparison. With SAP Cloud ERP – SAP Business ByDesign, Holidu is relying on a highly scalable ERP solution from the cloud, with which the company is excellently positioned in international business. In addition, Holidu has decided to use the SAP Integration Suite. The objective is to increase agility on a continuous basis.
Holidu’s success story began in 2014. The brothers and founders Johannes and Michael Siebers discovered during their holiday planning that often one and the same holiday rental appears on several booking portals – but with different prices and availability. The question quickly became obvious: If a price comparison for flights and hotels is made considerably easier for Internet users nowadays, then this principle should certainly be transferable to the popular holiday home market, shouldn’t it? The brothers then developed a meta search engine that allows interested parties to find and book all offers in a single search. This was the birth of Holidu – the search engine for vacation rentals.
Rapid growth in highly competitive markets
Since then, the young company has experienced rapid development. Holidu has grown strongly in the highly competitive holiday home rental market and is now active in numerous markets. This necessitated the investment in a modern cloud ERP solution in order to establish a highly scalable, automated processes throughout. “Within three years, we were able to expand our business to 21 international markets. At the same time, our team has grown to well over a hundred employees,” explains Johannes Siebers, one of the founders of Holidu GmbH.
Today we have hundreds of partnerships and tens of thousands of international customers per month, including different payment models and the ability to handle various currencies. This makes our cross-border business model complex. Therefore, we were looking for a scalable and flexible system for our accounting. We opted for SAP because it can grow with us and reflects our growth well.
At Holidu, cloud is the way to go
We were also looking for an implementation partner who was fast, digital, and agile and who was just as enthusiastic about technology as Holidu is. What the project managers found was the 100% Cloud Company all4cloud from Viernheim, which was responsible for the implementation of the ERP solution. Michael Siebers, co-founder of Holidu, explains the decision in favor of the cloud solution SAP Business ByDesign:
As a young online company, it is important to us that the operation of a cloud solution eliminates lengthy and cost-intensive expenses and that we can invest more time in our core business.
Automated and transparent booking processes
With the new cloud solution, Holidu covers all processes in financial accounting and treasury at its Munich headquarters. Previously, Holidu still had the classic flair of a start-up: there were only a few established processes and many decisions were made “on the fly.” In addition, the use of manual solutions caused limited data transparency. Most of the employees in accounting and controlling were busy with pure data acquisition and quality control. As a result, the company had to outsource much of its accounting. Says Michael Siebers, reflecting on that time:
When we started in July 2014, we took care of everything ourselves in a small team of just three people. We collected invoices in a shoe box and then sent them by post to the tax consultant once a month. But it was clear to us from the very beginning that we would grow rapidly internationally and that we would have to build up our structures in a scalable manner.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be. With the introduction of the cloud solution, Holidu was able to bring all previously outsourced financial functions back into the company. As a result, not just the importance of the finance department has grown. The team that today provides all processes and functions of the new system landscape at the push of a button has also grown with it.
Deep diving in the data pool
The focus at Holidu is now increasingly on a detailed data analysis and a detailed interpretation of the results. Based on the integrated cloud solution, the finance department can support management in a targeted manner. For example, automated processes enabled monthly and quarterly reporting to be moved a few days forward. Another plus: Holidu now creates thousands of payment runs fully automatically. Katharina Wintermeier, Team Lead Accounting Manager at Holidu., explains:
We record all actual figures from financial accounting, all cost centers, foreign currency valuations, and complex allocations between the individual business units on a monthly basis and transfer them to our internal controlling department.
In addition to SAP Business ByDesign, Holidu uses a specially developed system that collects and analyzes key performance indicators from the technically extensive system landscape. “In this way, we create a perfect combination of performance and financial controlling with full cost transparency. A solid database on which we can manage the company globally in a targeted manner”, adds Dr. Alexander Stimpfle, Head of Finance, the scenario.
Regular reports for the management are now possible in no time at all. Controlling creates an aggregated report from the most important key figures, which provides all the data.
If we receive queries about specific sales figures or how individual cost blocks are composed, we can dive deep into the data pool at the touch of a button and provide the required information precisely without having to play out long booking tables,
says Alexander Stimpfle, explaining the advantage of the integrated cloud ERP landscape. The financial expert is convinced that, overall, the finance department can better represent such a rapidly growing business that does not even stop at national borders.
Agility is the trump card
As a search engine provider for vacation rentals, Holidu cooperates with numerous partners. Various payment options for international customers require many interfaces. It was therefore essential for Holidu to securely and reliably connect the sheer flood of payment flows generated by different payment systems to a high-performance ERP solution. The know-how in software development that distinguishes the company and makes it successful should also flow into the new infrastructure. That’s why all4cloud has introduced SAP Integration Suite in addition to SAP Business ByDesign. With this, Holidu can flexibly integrate new solutions as required and thus quickly adapt its business to market changes. “Our special business model with the resulting complex booking logic presented the SAP consultants at all4cloud and ourselves with major challenges,” explains Alexander Stimpfle. “We had to marry this logic to the SAP way of working while maintaining a pragmatic, scalable path. The result achieved is in line with our expectations.”
A special feature in the course of the project was therefore the training of the Holidu employees by the all4coud SAP specialists. The objective was for them to immediately begin using the platform independently, to be fully integrated in the technical implementation and tailor-made adaptation, and to work closely with the specialist department. According to Stimpfle, this was also successful:
In the meantime, one of our developers has acquired the process knowledge in accounting as well as the programming logic of the SAP system and is gradually adapting the ERP system. Commands that employees would otherwise trigger in SAP Business ByDesign at the click of a mouse are now completely automated.
And even in the event that a process fails, the expert has already programmed test routines and agents to react immediately to deviations.
Professional, transparent, and future-proof
The financial accounting system makes the advantages of a reliable cloud ERP solution particularly clear: Holidu now invoices services rendered between company divisions largely automatically. The new solution shows precisely which effort was made for which division of the company group and simplifies customer accounting thanks to its simple expandability. Overall, the company was able to establish a high-performance “backbone” for the organization, which combines standard processes with tailor-made applications and thus accurately maps the business model.
Holidu was also impressed with the support provided throughout the entire implementation project. Short lines of communication to the all4cloud team allowed questions to be answered in a non-bureaucratic manner and errors to be solved quickly.
I really enjoyed the cooperation. My contacts not only knew all about SAP, they also had the necessary specialist knowledge. This enabled me to address my concerns directly in my corporate language and I felt that I was in good hands from the start of the project,
says Katharina Wintermeier, stressing the human element, which is of central importance in such a demanding project.
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Henrik Hausen & Wolfgang Kröner - CEOs all4cloud