Syndicode
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5.0 on Clutch

Road trip planning service

Harvest Inn

Travel / Australia 2021 – ongoing

Syndicode and an Australian travel company Harvest Inn created a platform that helps travelers explore beyond typical tourist areas.

Services

  • Web Development
  • Full-Cycle Development
  • Web Design
  • Ruby on Rails Development

Technologies

  • Ruby on Rails
  • React JS
  • Next JS
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis
  • ElasticSearch
  • Heroku
  • Amazon S3
  • Stripe
  • Google Analytics
  • Google maps API
  • Sendgrid
  • Mailchimp
  • Cloudflare
  • Sentry
  • PaperTrail

About the client

The client is an Australian startup aiming to cater to an underserved market but lacking the capacity to develop the platform independently.

About the product

The Harvest Inn platform helps travelers find and book spots for their self-contained RV or motorhome. In exchange, hosts stand to gain potential customers and boost their business visibility.

Customers pay Harvest Inn an annual fee for access to the platform, and the ability to request stays with members of the Host Network.

The platform makes it easier for users to discover locations beyond the usual tourist paths, streamlining the reservation process for everyone involved.

View website

Client’s challenges

Market demand uncertainty

Harvest Inn stands out as a trailblazer in the Australian travel software sector. Before its launch, there was no single platform to plan stays, despite the popularity of retirement travel across the continent. 

This absence of reliable references made it difficult to make informed development decisions, as the client had limited information about the market demand for the project.

Time and budget constraints

There were significant limitations in both time and budget. To address this challenge, Syndicode’s team needed to devise a strategy to incorporate a wide range of features while working with minimal resources.

Special user needs

The majority of the platform’s target audience is of retirement age. Our research revealed that 93% of Australians aged 65 and over have vision disorders. This fact presented a challenge to create a unique UX/UI concept that is clear and simple yet provides enough tools for hosts to effectively advertise their business.

Legal considerations

To ensure the safety of both travelers and hosts, the platform must verify that users have valid insurance.

Our solutions

Extensive market research

To minimize the early follower survival risks, we put substantial effort into research and planning. Syndicode analysts identified the tools used by the project’s target audience to plan trips, their usage patterns, and potential challenges.

We examined both the Australian and global markets, analyzing the target audience and functionality of foreign counterparts. Finally, we came up with several concepts and selected one of them in a meeting with the client.

To meet the defined budget, our team decided to release a minimum viable product (MVP) and later enhance it with additional features.

Balanced development team

The Syndicode project manager assembled a well-balanced development team with complementary skills, minimizing team size and associated expenses.

Senior-friendly UI

We implemented senior-friendly interface practices by studying successful solutions and adopting familiar design elements from popular Australian digital platforms.

The Harvest Inn website features increased font sizes for readability, ample white space, and large, easy-to-click buttons and hyperlinks. We included tooltip texts and focused on clear messaging. Our developers prioritized screen reader accessibility in the website code.

Automated insurance validity checks

The Syndicode team introduced automated monitoring to track the validity of user insurance based on data provided by the user. In addition, the system sends renewal reminders two weeks before the expiration date. If a visitor’s insurance has expired, the platform restricts their ability to book a stay until the insurance is renewed.

Technical setup

  • Ruby on Rails was used for the back end for rapid development
  • React was chosen for the front end due to its extensive ecosystem and robust security features
  • Next.js helped minimize page loading times and achieve visual stability
  • Token-based authorization was implemented for extra security, as it minimizes the chances of data interception by hackers
  • Logbooks are used to track the success of each payment interaction, thus reducing the possibility of errors or unauthorized transactions
  • Docker simplified the deployment process, enabling the client to deploy the platform independently

Result

The Syndicode team assisted the client in conceptualizing their idea, validating it, and implementing it. Despite being an MVP, the Harvest Inn website encompasses all the essential features required to operate a business effectively. The platform boasts security, ease of maintenance, and scalability.

Once the client achieves their targeted profit level, they intend to progress to full product development. Whether they opt to continue collaborating with us or choose another company, the transition will be seamless due to the superior quality of the MVP created by Syndicode.

Testimonial

Syndicode put in the effort to dive deep into our requirements and what we’re trying to achieve. Above all, despite the many moving parts of the project, they do a great job executing what we want.

Peter Owner, Harvest Inn
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