Umoozi (ex. Greater Vacation Rentals Inc.) is an online rental marketplace that allows users to book accommodations for vacations.
It was founded by a family of travellers that has explored multiple countries on different continents. They realised that most hotel accommodations are inconvenient for families travelling with children.
So, the client decided to build a secure platform allowing hosts to share their properties and travellers to enjoy quality accommodations easily.
The scope of our work: Back-End, Front-End, Mobile, Design, Business analysis, Project management
The client came to us with an idea to build a rental marketplace for vacations similar to Airbnb. They wanted to develop a website where property owners could easily advertise their accommodations to customers.
Vacationers have the ability to browse for, book, and pay for accommodations on the platform, with or without an account. They are also able to contact the admin or ask for reimbursement from the owners. Those who are registered can manage their user-profiles and bookings.
Owners need to create an account on the platform to be able to add their properties. They are able to manage their listings and set the prices autonomously.
Admins are able to create and edit the Marketplace name, URL, outgoing email, and name on the email. They are also able to do the following:
Before diving into the development process, Sloboda Studio conducted a discovery phase for the client to determine the project’s technical requirements and design wireframes. After that, we moved on to building an MVP based on Sharetribe Flex.
Owners can add their properties on the platform, which vacationing travellers can reserve and stay at. It allows owners to create detailed profiles of their properties by adding pictures, descriptions, and amenities.
Property owners can also set policies on how the properties should be used, such as smoking, parking, pets, etc.
To make finding accommodations faster, we implemented the search feature.
Travelers can search for listings on the platform using keywords or for properties closest to their location.
All of the search results are displayed with pictures, prices, and descriptions of the properties.
This feature provides users with many filter options that simplify the search process. Vacationers can check multiple filter boxes to narrow their search results and make them very precise.
This feature allows both owners and vacationers to create accounts on the platform. Owners will be able to register, add, and manage their properties. Creating an account is also very useful for frequent travelers. It allows them to make reservations quicker by storing some of their information.
Creating user accounts
Once a reservation is made, the vacationer receives information by email or on the app related to their booking. For example, users will get info on how or where to find the key, where to park, when to check-in and out, etc.
Also, travellers can send messages to the administrators and owners about their concerns or complaints. For example, they can message the owners that the Wi–Fi is not working.
The payment systems were set up using Stripe integration.
Stripe integration allows users to send money directly into the owners’ bank cards and accounts.
Once the reservation is made and confirmed, the vacationer then makes the rental payment through the website or app. A percentage of this amount is paid to Stripe as commission, and confirmation and receipt are sent to the customer.
Our goal for using Sharetribe was to build the online marketplace faster and at a lower cost compared to building a custom platform from scratch.
Sharetribe’s platform has essential functionality on the back-end side, such as workflow, listing customization, notifications, PayPal and Stripe payment gateways, ratings, reviews, etc.
However, Sharetribe allows for very limited customization on the back end. Sharetribe is great for building online marketplaces with components that the admins have already created. Adding features that are not already present is very challenging.
On the front-end side, we were able to create an interactive and user-friendly interface, which increased user engagement.
In just 3 months, Sloboda Studio transformed the client’s idea into an MVP Airbnb-like marketplace.
We developed several functions to enable users to:
We also built a mobile app that replicated all the functionalities of the web app. Our team significantly decreased the time-to-market and cost of building the web application with Sharetribe.
Sloboda Studio built the web and mobile apps based on the Sharetribe platform. We developed all the core features and integrated external APIs for payments within a short period of time, and on a tight budget.
December 2021 - February 2022