Luxe: Upgrade your AirBNB

At FullStack week 8, we are each given 10 days to create a personal project that leverages our skills in JavaScript into an app or plugin.Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 11.23.29 AM

My app tackles a question often asked by AirBNB hosts: What is the simplest way to make my space/experience worth more to potential guests?  My answer: Luxe.

Luxe is a CMS platform that lets any AirBNB host become the local tour guide/luxury concierge for their guests by creating a beautiful custom website for their property that gives their guest activity suggestions, best restaurants in the area, and tips for getting the most out of their stay.  Luxe AirBNB guests need not do a lot of planning for their visit, as their host has already done the legwork and saved links and directions into their site.

Best Features:

The mongoose schema was carefully crafted to anticipate the host’s and guest’s needs, including information for international travelers.  As part of the effort to make the site easy to set up, we scrape the AirBNB listing to get all the user’s pictures and critical info and automatically add it to their listing’s database schema.

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In order to make the process easy for hosts, I wanted to make their site mostly functional before the host even touches it, so that all it needs is a few pieces of information from the host.  I’m very proud of the UI, which came out beautifully with added hover events, carousel click events, and tooltips — all part of my effort to pre-load the site with beautiful pictures and minimize distracting (but useful) text.

Biggest Challenges:

Every CMS faces one huge challenge: the uncertainty of user input.  I had to allow for any case, including the possibility that a user would leave an input or an entire section blank.  On the other end of the spectrum, I had to make character limits to protect the integrity of the layout.

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This project required the creation of two integrated but separate sites: one to attract hosts and help them manage their listings, and another for guests to view their host’s website.  With grunt combining my stylesheets on load, I had to ensure that the styles for the former would not interfere with the latter.  And when dealing with this much CSS, it became a challenge to find things unless I kept my code well-organized.

Closing thoughts: Not every good project stems from an original idea.  But what made this project my best yet was the investment I felt in it as a creative yet practical solution to a real-world problem.  This is one case where web technology has the potential to truly make a world of difference for tens of thousands of AirBNB hosts, many of whom support themselves partially through AirBNB hosting, as well as for the many guests who are interested in a luxury experience with less cost and more flexibility.