In some locations, only large homes are available for vacation rent. For travelers that don't need such a big house, it'd be helpful for them to pair up with other groups! This way, homes are being rented and small groups aren't being burdened with the entire cost. We wanted to build an app that would easily unite travelers so they could do this!
What it does
We built an iOS app to unite travelers. Users will first login using the Gmail Oauth. After that, users can search for a vacation rental by querying using their travel date, group size, location they're traveling to. They'll click "View Results" and be presented with a list of listings from HostelAway. They'll be able to see the image, name, and price of each HostelAway listing and can click to see more details about each. If they find something suited for them, they'll request to join the renting party by submitting an application detailing their trip and group. If the user can't find a HostelAway listing that works for them, they can choose to create a new HostelAway listing. They can check back to see if they have received any requests for someone to join their renting party and if so, can review the request in app and accept or reject it. Once the renting party is complete, they can decide to go ahead and book with VRBO!
How we built it
We built this app using Xcode and Swift 4. We incorporated the Google gmail Oauth API for login and the HomeAway API to query for appropriate listings.
Challenges we ran into
In addition to being set back by our late landing flights from NYC and Boston, we also spent the morning working on another idea (involving ARKit) before pivoting to this one. As a result we were very pressed for time. We were setback throughout the day by many merge conflicts in auto generated files that were difficult to resolve.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud we learned how to use the Google API for login and the HomeAway API for populating listings! Both we've never used before and were really excited to get them to work.
What we learned
We learned a lot about using ARKit (for our first idea!) but had to give up on that idea due to API restrictions with permissions. For this project, we learned about using the Google API for Oauth login and the HomeAway API, how to collaborate together on an iOS project, solving difficult merge conflicts, and handling and parsing JSONs to get information. We also learned a bit about using Firebase for iOS.
What's next for HostelAway
We'd like to incorporate background verification tools to make HostelAway safer for all users. Additionally, we'd like to add an algorithm that could recommend users to each other if their travel dates and locations align and they seem like good personality fits for each other! Lastly, we'd like to make our app more fair and split the cost of the place proportional to the amount of space that each group is getting.