You want to go away, you don't care when or where, all you care about is the price. Almost every site requires either a destination or a date before you can even choose the price
How it works
The first page you get to on the site is just a search form with 1 price field. You set you budget and then the you will get Flights and hotels. From these results you can filter by the weather and if there is car rentals available in the destination.
Flights: The first step is to use Sabre's DestinationFinder. We start from and London airport and get the maximum of 50 results back, with the lowest fare for that day. Once the flights have been added to firebase the results page starts updating.
Hotels: As soon as the flight API is complete we use Mr & Mrs Smith's availability API to retrieve all the available hotels that are near the airports where flights are available. Once we have a shortlist of relevant hotels we get the best bookable rates for the required dates. As these results come in the search results page is updates and hotels are added in the results with the flights.
Car Hire: The next step is to do the car search, as this is not always required this is just an option to show results where car hire is available at the destination airport.
Weather: We also added a weather API (http://openweathermap.org/api) so that we could show the forecast for your trip on the results page.
Challenges we ran into
Because of the amount of data required to retrieve for each search we have limited it to the next weekends results (the trip will always be Friday-Sunday). This meant we could limit the amount of data we had to retrieve for the purpose of the demonstration.
We began searching for flights based on the maximum price entered, but this sometimes used the maximum budget available (e.g. £500 was the maximum price some of the flight results that came back were £500 meaning there was no budget for a hotel). To overcome this, and based on the fact we limited the results to the weekend, we decided to limit the max fare for the flights to 80% of the budget, meaning we were more likely to have enough in the budget to have a hotel too.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The gradual display of results, using firebase we save the search and then as we get results we populate the results page. The ease of use of the search.
What we learned
What's next for Lasso
More filters for the search. Don't limit the search to the next weekend, we can expand the search to be within the next 3 months, then the next year as we grow. Add all transport options - in the budget include the train fares and/or taxis to and from the airport (or have them as a filter) Booking for the flights and hotels at the quoted prices, and eventually booking within the site.