Cabins Direct was a summer project right after my freshman year of college. My goal was to create a central website for people who are looking for cabin rentals in the Red River Gorge area in Southeastern Kentucky. I felt (and still do) that there was a big need for this service. The economy in the area is suffering, but tourism is a bright spot. The area is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and there exists a lot of potential. Given this, there are numerous locals (including my parents) who own and operate cabin rentals.
In order to be run a successful cabin rental, an online web presence is a must. Finding someone or some place in the area to build a website capable of accepting online reservations is challenging. Furthermore, even if you get a website, getting people to visit it is a whole other challenge. So, most new cabin owners end up contacting established rental agencies to place their cabin on the agencies' websites. However, this comes with a major shock: the rental agencies get anywhere from a 28% to over 50% cut of the booking. So, depending on what rental agency your cabins are on, you can be left with as little as 50% of the cut despite doing nearly all the work, including building the cabin, maintenance, etc. To add insult to injury, the cabin owners are forced to absorb all of the damages caused by guests. Now, the agencies are excellent options for people not from the area who view the cabin solely as a distant investment. For the locals who invest so much of their lives into their cabins, it is a bitter pill to swallow. I witnessed firsthand all of the troubles my parents and other local owners went through while in this situation. It was not pleasant, and it isn't fair.
The goal of this website isn't to make money. I did not charge the cabins to be on it. I envisioned the website having only the minimum number of ads to pay for server costs. I wanted a central location where people could easily search, filter based on amenities, and find the website/contact information for the locally owned cabins in the area. I also wanted to make sure all of the money went to the owners, giving them just payment for their hard work and helping the local economy. Unfortunately, I never received responses from the local owners, so I ended up only having my parents' cabins on the website. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, I decided to give up and take down the website. I still believe that this website has the potential to greatly help the area. Perhaps the time just wasn't right. With college and other commitments, I unfortunately do not have the time to continue to pursue this.
If you have any questions about anything, please send an email to justin (AT) justincaustin (DOT) com.
This website is built from the grayscale theme from StartBootstrap. Information about the theme can be found here. The theme is based on the Bootstrap framework. The cabins page contains some AngularJS in order to dynamically filter the cabins based on the amenities checklist.
Released under the Apache 2.0 license.