VELTRA (a wordplay on TRAVEL) is a leading Japan-based travel marketplace with 4,000 international travel-agency partners, offering 27,000 local tours to over 150 destinations worldwide. In addition to featured travel itineraries, the VELTRA site also serves leisure travelers with meticulous support including tips and pointers along with comprehensive and helpful responses to questions.
To address the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, VELTRA recently switched its platform to be an Amazon CloudFront service through an adoption of Cloudinary’s advanced media-management solution.
Two major requirements are paramount for the VELTRA site:
- Display of attractive images and videos of travel destinations, some of which contributed by subscribers and VELTRA’s 4,000 partners, which is a major influence on the visitor’s decision on whether to sign up for sightseeing trips.
- Responsive delivery to all browsers and devices, desktop and mobile, regardless of bandwidth.
Historically, VELTRA relied on an in-house tool for optimizing images before switching to another application offered by the tour company’s content delivery network (CDN), which charged monthly fees proportional to the number of visitors and processes. Over time, that fee for the off season equated that for the peak season, raising a budgetary concern.
Research of alternative services led VELTRA to Cloudinary’s scalable media-management capabilities and the advantages of Cloudfront from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
To implement the switch, VELTRA enlisted help from Classmethod, a Cloudinary and AWS partner. It was a hassle-free, efficient process facilitated by the following:
- No major changes to VELTRA’s existing environment were necessary, and the content stored there remained usable.
- No modifications to VELTRA’s source code were required.
- Replacing VELTRA’s CDN with CloudFront entailed only a few simple steps.
- Deployment of Cloudinary, a member of the AWS Partner Network, on the Amazon cloud was straightforward and effortless.
The process took place with Cloudinary running in parallel with VELTRA’s previous CDN for a bug-fix buffer, which, gratifyingly, turned out to be unnecessary. So smooth was the undertaking that the project manager handled it practically single-handedly. Because of the short implementation cycle, VELTRA gained more time for evaluating and testing the new workflow.
According to Naoyuki Matsuo, VELTRA’s VP of technology service planning and technology, one of the key benefits from leveraging Cloudinary is its automated capability of optimally transforming and delivering images and videos. Thanks to Cloudinary, VELTRA’s engineers no longer have to agonize over decisions on resolution, format, and the like.
In addition, four benefits soon became obvious:
- The amount of data transfer for display has decreased by 15 percent.
- Page-load time is shorter by leaps and bounds, which translates to peace of mind as VELTRA expands its offerings.
- Cloudinary’s single-source-per-asset feature for the entire workflow eliminates the need for multiple asset versions required by the previous CDN.
- With Amazon CloudFront, even though Cloudinary also charges a fixed monthly fee, the CDN is on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that VELTRA pays less if web traffic decreases, as it did in the spring at the outset of the pandemic. “That’s the ideal model for us, which optimizes media-related spending according to traffic fluctuations,” asserted Matsuo.
In the horizon for VELTRA is an enhancement initiative that leverages Cloudinary’s other transformation features, such as blurring of irrelevant image regions; and AI-based suggestions of keywords for photo tags for more in-depth tour descriptions.