Olly Wenn, founder of Zolv, marks the technology firm’s first decade and looks forward to a bright future
I founded Zolv with the blessing – and blessed custom – of Virgin Holidays, who I’m proud to say are still a key Zolv customer.
I’d been working on their digital channels since producing the world’s first interactive holiday brochure with them in 1995.
That was in the days when CD-ROMs were still novel and people were beginning to get excited about multimedia content.
I launched Virgin Holidays on the web in 1998, making the site’s offers bookable in 1999.
It was soon clear that the internet would win out over CD-ROM as a consumer channel, so in 2002 I set up Zolv as a web development outfit.
The business grew most strongly in the travel sector. As more travel clients approached us for help, the greater our expertise in travel became.
We worked for some great clients including Olympic Holidays, Teletext Holidays and Lastminute.com.
In 2009 we decided to shift our focus exclusively to travel. As a result, we were able to start development on our Web Travel Platform (WTP).
With our confirmed commitment to the travel industry, we could pool all our technical expertise in travel applications and provide a platform that would accelerate our clients’ time to market while enhancing the functionality available to them – at sensible cost.
Shearings inaugurated WTP as our first platform user in 2009. Today we are working on another major release for them.
Our investment in WTP has brought exceptional benefits to our clients, who can now respond faster to business changes and rely on a high quality, proven foundation for their travel applications.
In 2010, Jonathan Greensted, previously IT director at Virgin Holidays, recognised the huge potential of the WTP and joined Zolv to push these ideas to the next level resulting in Virgin Atlantic’s Travel Plus service moving to the WTP in early 2012.
Virgin Atlantic’s Travel Plus was also the first deployment of WTP into Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform enabling lower cost and nearly infinite scalability – another example of Zolv’s innovation creating a better experience for our customer’s customers at a lower cost.
The expertise we’ve gathered at Zolv has been channelled into our systems so that it’s all usable by our clients.
But people are important – nothing happens in business without the collaborative effort of enthusiastic people, and I’m very proud of the team we’ve built.
(At this point I’d like to name check them: Rachel Hay, Jonathan Greensted, Clare Lewin, Joanne Pickles, Claire Ryan, Dean Drake, Kieran Delahunt, David McMinn, Robert Kendal, Jack Kilinski, Chris Haigh, Ross Turner, James Johnson, Preet Singh, Bilal Muhammed Balal, Aidan Hutchinson, Sophie Mann, Pepper Ayling, Paul May, Rachel Coats and Alex Hill).
Not only do Zolv’s people know everything there is to know about building bespoke applications that work with any reservation system you care to mention, they’re also fine human beings who care about their work and what it means to our clients.
Zolv continues to evolve. This year will see WTP morph into our new Digital Sales Platform – a change in emphasis that reflects the maturing of the online travel world.
Technology is all about business and DSP will bring that message home with new elegance and energy.
I’m looking forward to telling you more about DSP in the weeks and months ahead.