Halving Development Time and Reducing Costs

HomeAway is the world leader in vacation rentals, with more than 2 million places to stay in 190 countries.

To help travellers get the best experience at their destinations, the HomeAway mobile group formed a skunkworks team to develop an experimental mobile app that crowdsources local recommendations to share with travellers.

The company hopes to one day make it available to the general public.


Developing apps for global audiences requires significant investment, from provisioning and maintaining databases to scaling up and handling app events.

Many companies use multiple layers of software to meet these requirements, increasing the complexity of their architecture and slowing their development time.

HomeAway mobile designer Joie Chung suggested the team develop an app that lets travelers search and comment on others’ recommendations in real time, without a manual refresh.

Building upon that idea, the team also wanted to deliver this experience in areas with no Internet connection. Finally, they wanted to do all this without the usual service complexity or long time-to-market.


Using Cloud Firestore’s data structure and client libraries, HomeAway set up the infrastructure within a few minutes and delivered a real-time user experience from day one.

By combining the capabilities of Cloud Firestore with Cloud Functions, they built all the core features without complex server-side logic.

Using Firebase Authentication and Cloud Firestore, HomeAway also built a seamless log-in with just a few lines of code.

Cloud Firestore is an ideal match for greenfield development. Its features are production-ready out of the box — flexible, scalable, offline, and real-time. We were immediately impressed with the capabilities of the Android client SDK!

By using Firebase, HomeAway reduced the development time and server costs of their new app. Initially, the team projected that their new app would require three full-time developers and two to three months to ship.

Using Firebase, however, they’re now able to ship an app with one full-time developer after just four to six weeks. With faster time-to-market, they can update quickly with users and ensure their app’s success.