CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A successful company is branching out from Germany into Cape Coral. Animod.com is an online hotel voucher company that offers you deals when you travel. It started as one small idea that has turned into a big business.
One night in Germany, Harald Hielscher and his wife looked at a hotel across the street. All the lights were off. That's when they got a bright idea to sell hotel vouchers.
The couple started through eBay at first in 2001. That grew into a multi-million dollar company called Animod.
"It's like a win win win situation because the customer, the guest, gets a discount, it's good for the hotel because they get new guests," said Hielscher.
Now Animod.com is available for customers in the U.S. Its new American office is in sunny Cape Coral.
Here in Cape Coral, the company has already hired 15 employees and they're not stopping there: they're still hiring.
"I get a lot of requests from Germany and Europe, they all call in here to book their reservations and everything through us here," explained employee Mary Dolansky.
The fact that the company expanded to the Cape, and that it's big business overseas, is not surprising to local realtors who say this area has a strong pull for Europeans looking to vacation and settle down.
"Through the Florida Tourism Agency, a 689% increase just from Germany," explained Gulf Gateway Realty Realtor Henry Albrecht.
"We have 20% of a German background in southwest Florida, which is very important," said Gulf Gateway Realty Realtor Markus Hartwich.
The company hopes to continue its success here by offering more deals that are just a click away.
Animod is hiring customer service representatives, programmers, and hotel contractors.