When travelling by car to San Francisco we were often surprised by additional cost due to high garage parking rates. We discovered that sometimes even more expensive hotel may end up being cheaper when nearby parking rates are taken into account. No popular booking sites offer such information - a combination of hotel and nearby garage parking prices.
What it does
We have built a mobile application that allows to choose dates and target city (for now SF supported) and then displays a list of hotels, their rates matched with rates of nearby park garages. This allows to quickly see the actual cost of the stay. Moreover, application features a map with the hotels and park garages included. User may select a hotel, browse its details and navigate to booking site (powered by Expedia) or select garage and call it.
How I built it
During Hackhaton we have coded a website for the project - http://findbest.space and hosted there a bootstrap-powered website and PHP (Laravel)-based backend that manages data for our app. We have built mobile apps for iOS and Android using Kinetise.com platform. Backend uses Expedia API (to get hotels info) and SFPark API (to get parking sites info).
Challenges I ran into
The main challenge was to unify and correlate data coming from completely different API and expose it together in a way convenient for mobile app.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud we were able to complete the project, including two working apps for iOS and Android and a responsive web site on the .space domain. Making it all work smoothly together was the best accomplishment.
What I learned
We learned about Expedia and SFPark APIs. We improved on Bootstrap and Laravel knowledge. We learned that Kinetise.com works well for Hackathons and it allows to build-up apps very fast.
What's next for Find Best Space
We will evaluate if others share the need we have identified (about missing information on nearby parking rates when booking hotels). If positive, we should probably add more integration with booking and parking-related APIs to cover more regions and offer more sophisticated search queries.