Five-year-old HotelTonight got its start helping spontaneous travelers find a room for the night at “amazing last-minute rates.” But a few years ago, HotelTonight increased its booking window from one day in advance to seven days out and added the ability to book five nights at a time. That one big event dramatically increased the scale of just about everything the company does, even as it continued to add numerous markets in the United States and around the world.

hoteltonightHotelTonight’s classic scaling story is why we were so excited to welcome Jonathan Geggatt, senior platform engineer at HotelTonight, to the latest episode of The New Stack @ Scale Podcast—sponsored by New Relic. “That was the one big event in the company … that we’re still trying to make as performant as possible to this day,” Jonathon tells Alex Williams, founder and editor in chief of The New Stack, and me. “We feel like it’s a constant battle, but we’re staying on top of it.”

New Relic checks in

One way the company copes with the increasing demands is with the New Relic APM. “New Relic certainly gives us the insight into the things that we need. We can see slow queries in New Relic and we can investigate those slow queries to see where our main points of pain are.” Of course, there’s a big difference between finding out about issues and fixing them. “These are things that we’d be alerted to in our dashboards and our metrics,” Geggatt says, “but being alerted to them is one thing and actually having a solution is something completely different.”Geggatt-Williams-Paul

HotelTonight uses New Relic Insights, meanwhile, mostly to track technical performance data. “We like to know what kind of needs we have…”Geggatt explains, “Do we need more servers? Do we need bigger servers? Do we need more instances? These are things that New Relic can provide great insight into and allow us to really see and quickly identify the pieces that need attention.”

Scaling lessons

Geggatt says his team has learned a lot about effective scaling over he years. “I think the main focus … is redundancy and making sure that even if something bad is going to happen, that we’re there and we’re ready to deal with it.”

Amazingly, as HotelTonight has addressed some of its scaling problems, it’s actually been able to move faster as it grows! Over time, Geggatt says, “you don’t have to worry about some of these big problems that you’ve already solved in the past. It’s definitely iterative development building on top of what you’ve built before, so that’s a huge advantage. There’s always going to be other unseen issues that you have to deal with which have the ability to slow down a project but I’d say yeah, in general, these tools that we are sitting on top of now allow us to create things that a few years ago wouldn’t even have been findable.”

Listen to the entire interview below to delve into the technical underpinnings of HotelTonight’s event-based architecture and innovative business intelligence platform:

New Relic is a sponsor of the New Stack @ Scale Podcast. However, the content and views expressed are those of the participants of the New Stack @ Scale Podcast, which is the property of The New Stack. Any views expressed on the New Stack @ Scale Podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. By embedding the audio for the New Stack @ Scale Podcast or linking to The New Stack, New Relic does not adopt, guarantee, approve or endorse the information, views or products available on The New Stack site.

Read more about Geggatt’s scaling adventures at HotelTonight in Alex Williams’ informative post: The New Stack @ Scale Podcast, Show 8—HotelTonight and the Failures That Come with Scaling. And get the complete scoop on how HotelTonight leverages New Relic in our exclusive case study: HotelTonight accelerates growth and expansion using New Relic for application monitoring and performance management'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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