Vida Vacation Designs App In-House
In this exclusive interview, Hospitality Technology (HT) talks with Vida Vacations about the evolution of its custom app, which has contributed to a sales spike of $10 million.
HT: Who designed the app? What's her name and title at the time? Now?
A: Executive assistant Yadira Reyna designed the custom app. Her current title is inSight Department Manager, System Development, for Vida Vacations.
HT: What's her background? How did she learn to do this?
A: Reyna had no app development experience, but FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) partner Creative Databases helped train her. She quickly took to the Platform despite her non-technical background. She dedicated nights and weekends to learning, attended the annual Developer Conference hosted by FileMaker, Inc. three times and earned developer certifications.
HT: What was the budget for developing the app?
A: We don't have a specific budget. For now, we have a site license with FileMaker with 300 connections and 3 servers - one for deployment, one for backup and production
HT: What does the app do?
A: The app tracks the sales team’s output, using both Mac and Windows computers, as well as iPad devices. The app contains profiles for each sales associate and managers use that information to match associates for specialized training and coaching. Additionally, managers now use data about past successful matches between reps and customers to assign sales reps to prospects.
Information about potential hires is also handled in the app, and time cards have been replaced with facial recognition readers.
HT: When was it introduced?
A: In 2014.
HT: What have been the results and feedback?
A: The custom app has contributed to a sales spike of 12 percent ($10-20 million) and our best 11 consecutive months yet.
HT: What other apps have been designed and launched?
A: The app’s use has been expanded from its original purpose for sales managers. The app now also includes information about potential hires. The company has also used the FileMaker platform to replace time cards with facial recognition readers. That switch has saved managers’ hours in logging time. It’s also improved security and attendance.
HT: Future plans?
A: We reinvested in the custom app by hiring nine dedicated developers and four data entry clerks. With our own robust team of dedicated engineers, Vida Vacations will continue to use the custom app to make operations smarter and more productive.