HipHipStay is a luxury apartment rental service located in Dublin. The platform’s story started in 2015. In those days, the project’s founder was traveling around the United States with his friends. During this journey, he discovered that the rental accommodations were more comfortable than hotels.
Although the vacation rentals market has become more amenable nowadays, there is still a lack of services that will offer its customers the absolute best homes to stay like a local. This is how the HipHipStay idea was born – an idea of a rental platform where “the hotel meets home”.
Industry: Real Estate
Product: Rental marketplace The scope of our work: Front-End, Back-End Solutions: Admin panel, Maintenance Web site:https://hiphipstay.com/
When we met HipHipStay, the founders aimed to expand the functionality of the existing MVP with a set of unique features, while maintaining the current version of the product. Having conducted a thorough analysis of the product, we detected a set of essential issues with the platform. Together with the client, we decided to conduct code refinements, fixes, and an overhaul of the major user features, and then add the new functionality.
Calendar: a correct display of calendars for users
The HipHipStay platform offers its customers two user roles: experts (people who rent their accommodations to travelers) and users (people who rent these accommodations to stay there). Therefore, calendars for both user roles should function in accordance with each other to display the correct information for both hosts and guests, to avoid such issues as double-bookings.
Experts can use the calendar to:
see the dates that are already booked
observe information about a guest (name, email, phone number)
block particular dates or change the prices (for example, set higher prices for holidays or vacation periods)
Customers can use the calendar to:
check an accommodation’s availability
see the prices for an accommodation
The calendar feature can be displayed in two ways: as a large calendar,or a smaller pop-up calendar (which we implemented as a separate plugin).
Working on the calendar feature, we upgraded it with additional features:
Price option within calendar: experts can see or change prices right inside the calendar
Ability to book dates in the morning or evening
Make both calendars start from the same weekday
Restrict bookings that last less than one day
Another important feature of HipHipStay that needed improvements was the Admin panel.
Usually, at Sloboda, we usually implement ready-made solutions to reduce the costto the customer, but we could not do this here – there werenoexistingsolutions with the requested functionality. So our developers createdcustomizedsolutions using React.
As a result, the interaction between the platform and users has become more convenient, and it has become easier to interact with landlords.
Sloboda Studio’s developers also upgraded the message feature: customers can communicate with the preferred owners in secure and private chats. For example, guests can use this feature to clarify any accommodation details.
Another important feature for real estate rental websites is a map search.
When we started with the HipHipStay platform, we decided to fix and expand the map functionality. We fixed the integration between accommodation ads and maps. Currently, the location of the accommodation is displayed on the map when the customer starts to review the accommodation’s page. Allowing a view of the location makes it more convenient for guests to choose a place to stay.
The key goal was to provide HipHipStay’s customers with detailed information about the accommodation they are going to rent.
We upgraded the apartment creation feature with such steps as the ability to upload photos of an apartment, a description, the type of accommodation (house, apartment, etc.), availability of cleaning, number of rooms, availability of amenities, parking, and other details. We also added an option for users to check whether an accommodation has already been booked on another rental platform.
Therefore, customers can now get more relevant information about their bookings.
To make the HipHipStay platform more interactive and improve the customer experience, we added a feedback feature by integrating Trustpilot. Trustpilot is a tool that allows customers to rate services and leave reviews. By adding the feedback feature, we made it possible not only to get honest customer reviews but to also receive relevant data about the project, which provides us with feedback for future improvements.
The Sloboda Studio’s team also created a base for a future referral system feature on the HipHipStay marketplace. While registering with HipHipStay, new customers can recommend owners who have accommodations to rent. If these owners then join the platform and start renting out their apartments, the recommending customer receives a bonus.
In the future, we plan to upgrade this feature to the referral system.
In order to make it easier for guests to find their desired accommodations, we also improved the search feature with additional filters. Now it is possible to filter search results by such criteria as the type of apartment, a number of rooms, and additional options like parking, Wi-Fi, etc.
Challenge 1: Lack of documentation
When we met our client, the project was already in its MVP stage. Unfortunately, though, there wasn’t documentation about the platform’s functions. This issue slowed down the development process, as our developers needed to figure out how the existing features were developed beforeimproving them and then creating the new functionality.
Additionally, the project was based on a custom library. In this case, starting development without documentation couldhave resulted in data loss, as well as time and budget overruns.
Wecontacted the previous development team to dive into the details about theproject’s crucial features (including the custom library functions). After some time, we were able to adapt thiscustomized code and createnew project functionality, now written with commonly–used technologies like Ruby on Rails and React.
Challenge 2: Calendar integration
As previously mentioned, the HipHipStay project uses two calendars to make the process of choosing accommodation more convenient for its customers:
A large calendar implemented as a separate feature where experts could view and change prices and booking dates
A small pop-up calendar which customers can use toreview accommodation ads(this appears when settinga time this was developed as a separate plugin) .
The core challenge was in the necessity to customize the large calendar, and to make both calendars work in coordination with each other. Thecustomizationwasdonebecauseexisting ready-made solutions were not customizable enough for the required functionality.
Thus, our developers customized the calendar feature. We chose the React Big Calendar and updated the HipHipStay calendars.
As a result of our collaboration, HipHipStay is now upgraded with features such as:
Moreover, the Sloboda Studio team assisted the platform with code improvement and maintenance.
Having fixed the major bugs and expanded the core functionality, Sloboda Studio made the HipHipStay platform more secure and user friendly. We are now ready to proceed with new functionality development.