Established in 2003, Jollydays GmbH provides thousands of leisure experiences in Austria and Germany, with something available to suit every interest. Vid Matic took on the company as CEO in March 2021, and he hasn’t looked back since. In light of him being crowned CEO of the Year – Austria, we sat down and had a chat with him about Jollydays and his own career.
For 18 years, Jollydays has been offering all kinds of adventure gifts, whether for the food lover, thrill seeker, romantic, traveller, or wellness and relaxation enthusiast. Over almost two decades, it has made a big name for itself in the Austrian market for being one of the go-to leisure providers. Its team works tirelessly to bring clients the best possible service, the most exciting offers, and the most unforgettable experiences – keeping them coming back time and time again.
With over 6,000 experiences available, including cooking classes, candlelight dinners, wine tasting, quad biking, driving dream cars, skydiving, paragliding, spa days, hot balloon rides, and much, much more, customers are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the perfect gift for that special someone or even treating themselves.
Now, Vid Matic leads the company with a passion for looking after his team and providing the best possible experience to each and every customer. He tells us, “We took Jollydays on because we thought the brand name was very strong, and it’s super expensive to actually develop a brand. You can throw millions down the drain to achieve nothing, but Jollydays was organically grown.” And the company continues to thrive under his leadership, with core values of emotional intelligence, inclusion, transparency, people-focus, and joyfulness underlying everything the team does. He says, “I’m as good as my people. I’m here as kind of chief motivator. I make decisions, but I live and die by my team.”
As leader, Vid sees output as the most important thing. As long as everyone in the team is achieving the company’s goals, he isn’t a stickler for how many hours are spent in the office or how long it takes to complete a task. The important thing is that work gets done. In line with this flexible leadership style, he wants his team to feel that they can approach him, no matter what it’s about. He has come to know how his people work best, respecting that some prefer space while others need a little more support and guidance.
Vid states, “I try to be friendly with everyone on my team. You spend your whole day, the majority of your life in an office surrounded by people, and if you don’t love them or like them, then there’s no purpose in it.”
He goes on to tell us more about his team, “They play the absolute role. I can push and want and motivate, but it is their output that is vital. The truth is, I hire people who are better than me. In marketing, in finance, in technology, in customer relations, and more, they are the specialists. I need to have sound understanding of all topics, maybe be great in a few areas. For example, my chief financial officer, of course he’s better than me. He needs to be; I depend on him. My chief marketing officer, of course she’s better than me. I rely on her. At the end of the day, I have to make the final decision, but I fully, fully depend on them. I got very lucky that the people I’ve brought in so far have been fantastic. Fantastic people and fantastic experts.”
Armin Sageder, the majority shareholder of Jollydays, is the person Vid refers to as his mentor and part of the reason for his success. “He chose me as his CEO, my first such role, and showed his belief in me,” Vid states. “This belief continuously fills my sails and is an incredible driver. Armin has founded and built up Paysafe and Best Gaming Technology, both incredible tech successes, so his advice and mentorship is worth its weight in gold. The real reason behind my admiration is that whilst achieving incredible success, he has maintained his empathy and a lack of pretentiousness. For me, that is rare and special.”
Although Vid and his team are experts in what they do, that’s not to say that it’s been all roses. As soon as Vid became CEO, he had to navigate the storm that was the pandemic. A company that is extremely dependent on events suddenly found itself with an extreme challenge of events not being able to happen. Not only this, but Vid was also managing a restructure, hiring new people, and getting ready for a relaunch in 2023 – where content will become all the more accessible and bookable within a couple of easy steps on the new Jollydays platform.
Speaking about facing all of these challenges, Vid says, “Trying not to reduce the team, trying not to cut anyone’s time… the crisis really sharpened my teeth, our teeth, because we could not have expected a global pandemic to hit and not be able to do anything. So, taking over a company at that time, that was a super challenge. But, what I always tell the guys here, always remember the way there; once we reach the mountain top, it will be a momentary kind of bliss.”
Then there is also the recession, with Vid explaining, “What happens in a recession is leisure suffers. The tourism industry, the hospitality industry, because if people cannot provide for their security and welfare, then they won’t be thinking about leisure.” This could be an ongoing challenge, as he continues, “If there’s a recession next year, it’s how to be more flexible with revenue streams coming from other places. Also preparing for our relaunch, of course. It’s just important not to panic, to be calm and adapt.”
With confidence, Vid tells us, “We made sure that the company’s flexible enough that we can pivot really quickly.” However, he also believes that it is important for his team to see weakness, that things can be difficult, and that anyone can make mistakes. Thus, Jollydays holds weekly sessions where everyone presents one of their own failures, with Vid saying, “Showing a bit of blood, showing that you can also bleed, showing that I can be sick and I’m not doing well, or I’m going through a relationship breakup and it’s really affecting me. There’s no hiding.”
Vid undeniably loves his work, too, and this shines through in his devotion to his role and his efficiency in it, with him saying, “I’m quite quick with my decisions. Energy-wise, I usually have excess in reserves. I can go at a strong pace for a long time during the day, and I like a mix of everything. I like structure in my work, but I also need this kind of flexibility within the structure to feel comfortable.”
Ultimately, it’s easy to see how Vid Matic has come to achieve such success as CEO of the Year, from his dedication to his work, to leading his team with empathy, admiration, and respect. He is excited about the future of Jollydays, where the aforementioned relaunch will be taking place, developed by Vid’s other company, Jollytec. He gives us a little more insight into that: “We want to be the place where you can organise and book all of your free leisure time. From a concert to a cabaret, to a skydive, a dinner in the sky, or a drive in a Lamborghini. You can do and find everything through our app, with the help of a few well-thought out filters.”
He explains further, “It’s just finding a better way to do something that people already do but waste a lot of time doing and get frustrated. Everyone can go on Google and find what they want if they search hard enough, but now you’ll have it there in one place, and you can also find other content there.”
With regard to the future of his own career, Vid says money isn’t a driver for him, but rather it’s about doing what he loves. He wants to become more knowledgeable, kinder, more sympathetic, and a better leader. He says, “At this point, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. I want to grow; I want my people to grow. I want to teach them and for them to teach me. I will do some academia, too, some seminars, but only if time allows for it because my people, my companies are my absolute priority.”