Founded in 2010 by CEO Sam Shank, CTO Chris Bailey and COO Jared Simon, HotelTonight is a fast growing company that helps travelers find last minute hotel reservations at discounted prices. In less than two years, HotelTonight has grown to more than 70 employees with offices in San Francisco and London, and a distributed support team. Their service includes hotels in over 60 cities worldwide. And to ensure customer satisfaction, the company is highly selective about which hotels are accepted into their program.
It’s All in the Timing
HotelTonight began development in September 2010 with the goal of being included in the iOS app store by December 2010. With the pressure on to build and launch the app in time for the holiday season, much of the company’s success depended on their ability to ensure their app could handle spikes in traffic with a ‘follow-the-sun’ sales model. From previous experience, CTO Chris Bailey knew that New Relic would be instrumental to this goal.
From the beginning, the team relied on New Relic for app performance management as a key component of their development and production strategy. New Relic’s Custom Dashboards alert Chris to anything that’s out of the ordinary so he can take a closer look. “The dashboard is fantastic,” he says. “It’s the key monitoring element that allows us to see if the systems are running normally. New Relic saves us a lot of time. The way New Relic breaks down a Rails action makes it easy for us to find and identify the problem and the solution. In most instances we can resolve issues in under an hour, start to finish, often even faster.”
Part of the way Chris prioritizes his team’s work is by looking at the worst performing actions. “We’ll pick off the top three and work on those. We often use Transaction Traces to dig down into more detailed information. Or, we might see a particularly bad spike that we aren’t sure about and need more detail on. Transaction Traces allow us to narrow things down more quickly. We can hypothesize all we want about where the problem is, but have the real data and specific reporting New Relic provides means we don’t have to waste time figuring out where the problem is. We can identify the source of the issue quickly.”
Boosting Productivity with Application Monitoring
Using New Relic has been a big productivity boost for the HotelTonight team. “People think New Relic is just about doing performance optimization, but it’s an overall monitoring solution,” Chris explains. “It gives us insight into what’s normal so we can monitor to make sure the app is functioning properly, We can see the health of the applications with a quick glance which translates into confidence and time savings. That sort of daily performance monitoring is outstanding.”
The net result of using New Relic for the HotelTonight team is that they have more time to focus on developing enhancements and on overall expansion in the marketplace. They don’t have to worry about performance tools or benchmarking, and that’s made a huge difference.
Chis sums it up this way, “Even if you have a lot of experience building Rails apps, it still comes back to saving you time, and the less things you have to implement the easier it is to stay focused and get the job done. With New Relic, we can do a quick application health check to see what’s going on and if needed, we can start analyzing instantly. We usually don’t need to set anything up to look deeper or gather more data. New Relic provides so much. If you’re building or managing a Rails app, New Relic is an essential part of your monitoring and performance management infrastructure. Quite simply, it’s outstanding.”
Read the full case study to find out why HotelTonight relies on New Relic for application monitoring and performance management as the company accelerates their growth and expansion.