Case studies

About the project & the client

Casa Tropical is a thriving Latin American startup whose mission is to help students find safe and competitively-priced accommodation. Launched in just one city in 2017, it today serves the four largest metropolises in three countries, and has become as popular with apartment owners as it has with students from both near and far.

The project’s fundamental strength is the total safety and transparency it offers all its participants: the marketplace has been designed to act as a guarantor of fair dealing for tenant and landlord alike, reducing risks for both parties to an absolute minimum.

The founders of the project had the first-hand experience of the market they were entering: they’d spent a year on an academic exchange program in Cordoba, Argentina, during which time they experienced a range of complications stemming from the far-from-perfect conditions under which much of the Latin American accommodation market operates.

A few years later they launched Casa Tropical in a bid to address the problems they’d encountered – and it became an almost immediate hit.

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Client story

Despite having built a viable business model, Casa Tropical’s founders were finding it impossible to secure stable growth and scalability – because the solution on which their platform had originally been based was simply too limiting. So when the startup reached out to Roobykon last year, it was clear to us from the start that providing maximum flexibility was key.

Our developers set to work putting in place a number of improvements, which together upgraded user experience, platform security, and scope for future development.


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  • • To help them launch their platform quickly, the client had used a SaaS solution which offered little scope for later improvements to functionality, and so hindered the platform’s scalability.
  • • The rental market in Latin America suffers from a chronic lack of trust, absence of local guarantees, and insecure conditions in many neighborhoods – all of which harbor risks the project.
  • • The Stripe payment system doesn't work in Argentina – meaning the marketplace couldn't function fully on the default functionality of Sharetribe Go.
  • • Improvements were needed to how listings were created and managed, as well as to the system of messaging between users – in the interests of both usability and safety.
  • • The same fee was being charged across all locations and rental types/durations, leading to negative feedback and user flight.
  • • A time-consuming manual process for updating availability made account management inconvenient for landlords.
  • • Low server capacity was leading to frequent errors and outages.
  • • Standard marketplace functionality required improvement across the board if the platform was to offer the outstanding experience needed to attract new users and fuel growth.
  • • Using the OpenSource version of Sharetribe running on an Amazon AWS virtual server, Roobykon’s experts developed a new platform that enabled the client to make any required changes as the product developed.
  • • A premium tier of accommodation 'Visited by Our Team' was introduced to distinguish properties that could be vouched for first-hand.
  • • The standard business structure of Sharetribe OpenSource was altered to enable deposits to be made into and held by the marketplace's bank account – helping to ensure that both parties fulfill their obligations. This solution was eventually rolled out across all the cities covered.
  • • To further improve user experience and trust, Roobykon’s developers modified the listing process by adding autofill functionality, disabling unauthorized editing, and making certain fields obligatory.
  • • A number of important improvements were made to the platform’s messaging system:
  • 1. New status options and notifications helped make different message types more easily distinguishable.
  • 2. Measures were added to prevent the exchange of personal information prior to the start of the contract (and until payment had been made) – thus preventing transactions from being taken off-platform, and so improving security.
  • 3. File-sharing functionality within the messenger introduced the possibility of secure document exchange between transaction parties. (supported formats are .doc, .docx, .pdf and .PNG).
  • • Booking deposit management was reworked, enabling fees to be adjusted according to order type – administrators were empowered to choose between a fixed deposit or a percentage fee either on a listing-by-listing basis or according to location.
  • • A modified calendar now allows landlords to indicate available and unavailable dates in few clicks – boosting user experience and overall satisfaction in the platform.
  • • Databases were migrated to Amazon RDS, making the system more resistant to server overload and ensuring stable performance even during peak loads.
  • • A number of other changes enhanced usability:
  • 1. A ‘Confirm Booking’ function now lets users make sure of date availability prior to payment.
  • 2. Already-booked dates are highlighted during searches for available accommodation.
  • 3.All project modifications were implemented with support for four different language options.
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Since Roobykon’s development team joined the project it has reached out to new markets, expanding from one city to four. Our improvements to user experience have yielded a 70-fold increase in unique users in only a year, with transactions rising 22%. And the project remains on a positive footing.

Now one of the most popular long-term rental platforms in Latin America, Casa Tropical remains under continual development – and we at Roobykon remain on board, with the mission of continuing to further expand and enhance the project’s functionality.