How to Make an App Like Airbnb: Features, Phases, and Cost

How to Make an App Like Airbnb

If you’re reading this article, it means you have the clarity of why you’re going for Airbnb app development. You know the journey of the startup AirBreadNBreakfast and its place in the travel industry. 

You might also know that the travel industry will surpass $637.7 billion by 2022, and the user penetration is expected to reach 1321.3 million by 2026. Plus, Airbnb only owns 10-15 per cent of the vacation rental market, leaving 60-80 per cent for other startups like yours to build their vacation rental apps. 

This signifies the high demand and business prospects of building an app like Airbnb. However, starting a startup is tricky and challenging. You have to consider many factors, such as budget, target audience, marketing strategies, business model, monetization strategies, offerings, tech stack, etc. 

Thus, to streamline your startup process and reduce your burden, I have listed down the features, tech stack, development cost, and things you should consider while developing the Airbnb clone app. 

The technical information will help you develop a high-performing app while keeping your customers happy. 

Let’s get started!

How to Build an App Like Airbnb

An app like Airbnb allows hosts to list their properties and travellers to search for location-specific properties, book them, and make online payments. 

So while developing your unique rental app, consider this workflow and include other features based on your services, customers, and the market trend. Follow the steps below for a successful business idea. 

  • Create a Business Plan

Always start with market research. Decide who your target audience will be. Usually, for Airbnb-like apps, the audience is solo travellers needing a simple and affordable place. Family and commercial travellers can also be your targeted customer base.

It will all come down to what you want to offer. Various other apps, such as HomeAway, Outdoorsy,, etc., offer unique services. In simple words, decide your niche. For example, Outdoorsy allows users to book wheel accommodations in the wilderness, while Homestay focuses on homestays, precisely what the name implies.

Long story cut short: Decide what kind of stays you will offer, which areas you will cover, who will be your targeted audience, what’s your overall budget, and so forth. Create a plan and implement it. 

  • List the Features 

This is important, and you should only do it after the planning phase. The reason is that the audience and market research gives a better understanding of the features you should integrate. Ensure that your features checklist consists of:

  • Sign up and Sign in
  • User Profiles with Verification
  • Property Filter
  • Search Functionality
  • Room Details
  • Translation
  • Messaging Inbox for Hosts and Customers
  • Map Incorporation
  • Wishlist, Reviews, and Recommendations
  • Invite to Friends
  • Advanced Setting Options

Apart from this, you can include user-specific features. For example, guests/travellers should be able to save the listings, view their past and upcoming bookings, earn rewards, manage their profiles, rate, and review, pay online, and share their experiences with others. 

Similarly, hosts should be able to handle their listings, view future bookings, manage reservation requests, review their guests’ behaviour and stay, and track their bookings and payments.

Admin, i.e., you, on the contrary, should be able to view all the bookings, members, sales reports, emails, etc. You should be able to manage all the listings, legalities, bookings, feedback, complaints, marketing strategies, sales, and more. 

Other top features that you can include: 

  • Calendar
  • Report Export
  • Cloud Storage
  • Responsive Website
  • Host Penalty
  • Listing Approval
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Social Media Integration
  • Unique Airbnb Features to Include

You have a basic foundation of the app and its features by now. You can also include advanced features to tailor the user experience. Here are some of the features to include in your Airbnb app development

  • User Verification

When a user, i.e., host or traveller, registers on the app, you must verify their identity. For verification, you can collect their identity proofs such as government-issued IDs, driver’s licenses, passports, etc. For hosts, you also need to verify their places. You can ask for images, videos, legal documents, etc. 

  • Advanced Search and Booking

Let your users search property by applying filters such as destination, property type, price range, availability, distance, housing capacity, and more. Allow one-click instant bookings with easy cancellation and refund policies.

  • Listing Comparison

Give your users a detailed idea of different properties by offering a comparison. Let them clarify their needs. 

  • Trip Cancellation

Decide rules and regulations that all the users have to follow. For example, if the host cancels the booking at the last minute, they will be charged a penalty fee. The same goes for travellers. Give them a buffer in which they can cancel their bookings. 

  • Payment Modes and Types

Include multiple payment modes like MasterCard, Visa, Online Banking, Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Wallets, etc. You can also include features like Book Now Pay Later or affordable EMIs. Think about all the possible scenarios and make the experience as convenient as possible. 

  • Local Experience

Airbnb provides a feature known as the Airbnb experience where travellers can connect with the locals in the area and explore the place from their perspective. The locals can arrange tours and local trips in the city and other nearby places. 

You can offer something similar. It can include one separate module for Local Experience just like Hosts and Travelers. You can include travel-specific features and delight your guests with exceptional service. 

  • AR and VR 

Give your customers a better sense of judgment by integrating AR and VR. Showcase the property through virtual lenses, focus on micro details, and give them real-time experiences. 

  • Technological Requirements

After you’re done listing the features, you will need a team of developers who can help you with the development. Consider whether you will choose an in-house developer or outsource it. Decide the platform – whether you will go for Android or iOS or a cross-platform application. 

After evaluating all the facets, see if they’re the right fit for your business. 

Focus on the technical aspects such as application framework, APIs, third-party integrations, programming languages, payment gateways, messaging and communication, cloud storage and hosting, and data storage. 

Choose your development partner after thorough research and consideration. Check their work portfolios, case studies, and client testimonials. Learn about the technologies and the overall experience they have. Don’t forget the development cost. 

  • Develop, Test, and Launch

Once the plan and features list are ready, proceed with designing and development. Design the app UI. This includes sketches, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.

UI designing will save a lot of time during the development. 

Use the prototypes and go ahead with the coding. Develop an MVP. Ask your development partner to involve you at every step of the development phase. This way, you can be aware of the features, and if you have any specific inputs, you can share them therein. You won’t have to wait for the app launch.

The next phase after the development is testing. The quality assurance team will ensure that your vacation rental app is working smoothly, bug-free, and expected. 

Once the debugging is done, the mobile app is ready to launch. To expand your business reach, implement strategies to promote your app and your business. Offer incentives, work on SEO and go for word-of-mouth. 

Marketing Tip: Look at what your competitors are doing. How are they engaging with customers? What kind of advertisements and offers are they providing? Implement those strategies along with some unique offerings. 

Try to stand out! 

Other Factors to Consider While Developing Airbnb like App

  • Revenue Model

You already know how an app like Airbnb works, but it’s essential to understand the profit aspects, i.e., their monetization strategy. 

Airbnb usually works on the commission model. Their primary source of revenue is service fees, taxes, and exchange rates. 

  • Service Fee

Airbnb charges hosts a 3 per cent commission for every successful booking, while guests are charged a 6 to 12 per cent service fee based on the listing type. 

  • Taxes

Airbnb also charges VAT charges. However, they vary for different places and the legal laws

Read Also: How To Start A Blog In 2021: (Step By Step Guide)

  • Exchange Rates

Airbnb charges guests tariffs on exchange rates if the bookings are made in another currency. The tariffs are determined by them. 

There are various revenue models such as advertising, freemium, direct sales, channel sales, commission-based, etc., that you can implement for your business. 

  • Cost of Airbnb App Development

It depends on design, features, tech stack, development team, location, expertise, total hours, and others. 

For instance, some development team charges $25/hour. It may also vary depending on the location. Like the development cost is less in Asian countries. Your features may further affect the cost. If you want to integrate advanced features, including AI, AR and VR, the expense might increase. 

The development team’s experience also needs to be considered as it will determine the time they will need to develop a feature, module, or complete app. 

Thus, when you build an app like Airbnb, talk to experts. They may provide you with an estimated development cost considering your requirements. 

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