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Case Study

Snaptrip Takes a Permanent Vacation Away from DevOps Stress with mLab’s Fully Managed Database-as-a-Service

For Snaptrip, a marketplace for last minute cottage holiday deals in the UK, the ability to deliver booking availability and pricing information with immediate accuracy is a critical competitive differentiator. mLab’s MongoDB Database-as-a-Service solution delivers this capability, allows Snaptrip to operate without DevOps personnel, and provides high quality support whenever needed.

Highlights
  • Snaptrip is able to confidently add key functionalities to its service without fear of downtime; the hosted MongoDB database by mLab is completely reactive to traffic, and remains stable and highly available throughout usage spikes.
  • Snaptrip’s internal operations are efficient and cost-effective without needing to hire DevOps engineers.
  • mLab’s expert support has given Snaptrip total peace of mind as the company continues its expansion.
Customer Profile

Snaptrip is a popular marketplace where users can discover and book last minute cottage rentals across the UK. The company offers the largest collection of listings available in the country, and extends exclusive discounts, pricing, and availability information that is updated and displayed in real-time accuracy.

The Challenge

Snaptrip needed to provide hospitality customers with the most accurate pricing and availability information in its industry with the additional challenge of having limited internal resources and needing to support a production-ready database.

Snaptrip was founded in 2014 with the goal of establishing a first-of-its-kind service, one that enabled travelers to find last minute discounts on cottage vacation rentals in the UK. The company’s founders had recognized an opportunity in this market – a niche that other services like HomeAway and Airbnb were missing – which Snaptrip could take advantage of if it could put the right technology in place. Other services faced a key limitation: the pricing and availability information they displayed was not necessarily accurate at the time a user viewed it. This forced these services to include a confirmation process, during which customers would be left uncertain whether the booking and the offered price they selected were ever truly available to them.

To further differentiate its service from competitors, Snaptrip sought to build a product that was completely reactive to traffic demands – one able to offer travelers real-time pricing information regardless of how many users are browsing and booking at a given time.

Snaptrip’s founders knew (from previous experience managing and hosting their own databases and virtual machines) that managing the infrastructure for their product wasn’t compatible with the ease of operation their growing business needed. Instead, Snaptrip sought out a cloud-hosted, fully managed Database-as-a-Service solution.

Solution

Snaptrip selects mLab as the solution most capable of managing the database solution behind its critical pricing and availability information display feature

Snaptrip’s founders first used mLab at a previous company. There, mLab was selected because it was tightly integrated with the Heroku Platform-as-a-Service solution. After a positive experience with the product and support, Snaptrip trusted mLab as a capable solution that would provide exceptional database management.

At Snaptrip, MongoDB is not the primary database technology. However, the mLab database deployment is tasked with storing all booking availability and pricing information that gets displayed to users. This database handles batch processes and usage spikes, such as short bursts of tens of thousands of requests, and eventually hands off the data to the Snaptrip data warehouse (which also stores JSON).

With mLab’s fully managed solution in place, Snaptrip is able to operate without any DevOps engineers of its own, freeing resources that the growing company can put to good use elsewhere.

mLab’s fully managed and hosted DBaaS checks all the boxes when it comes to fulfilling our needs at Snaptrip: It’s stable, it’s highly available, and it’s easy to upgrade. Cost-wise, it’s a no brainer to rely on mLab to handle our database activities. That said, what we really value most about mLab’s service is its support. It allows us to operate without DevOps engineers on staff, receive helpful expertise, and deliver booking information to our customers with immediate accuracy – a core feature of our product.

Dan Harrison CTO, Snaptrip

Benefits

With mLab onboard, Snaptrip is able to provide a differentiated service while operating efficiently – and with complete trust in the availability and stability of its MongoDB database.

Snaptrip’s commitment to a better hospitality search experience allows their customers to trust that what they see is what they can get with pricing and availability of vacation lodging offers. With limited resources, Snaptrip can compete with larger companies as they do not need to maintain or manage MongoDB infrastructure internally, and can operate knowing that any database concerns are completely covered and expertly handled by mLab. Snaptrip has found that mLab provides a significant return on investment, saving the company both the costs and the trouble of running DevOps in-house.

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