Home Blog How to Develop an App Like Airbnb: Cost, Key Features [Guide 2023]

How to Develop an App Like Airbnb: Cost, Key Features [Guide 2023]

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Cost of developing travel app like Airbnb

The sharing economy has fundamentally reshaped how people access various resources, and the hospitality industry is no exception. Platforms like Airbnb have revolutionized travel lodging, allowing property owners to connect directly with guests seeking unique experiences.

This surge in popularity has inspired many rental businesses to consider developing their own app solutions. If you’re a rental business owner contemplating this path, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. We’ll delve into the intricacies of building an Airbnb-like app, exploring key functionalities, development considerations, and crucial factors for success.

Table of Contents

What is Airbnb and What Services Does It Offer?

What is Airbnb

Airbnb is an application that allows users to book suitable accommodations in different localities around the world through their smartphones or other internet-enabled devices. They offer an online marketplace for homeowners who can list their properties on the app and start accepting reservations from travellers. The app allows both short-term vacation rental and home rental services. On top of homes and apartments, tourists can also book a suite, a yacht, or a houseboat through Airbnb.

Airbnb is a web/app platform that functions as a marketplace connecting people who have spaces to rent (hosts) with those looking for accommodations (guests), primarily for short-term stays. Here’s a breakdown of its services:

  • Accommodation Listings: Airbnb offers a vast selection of listings, ranging from private rooms and apartments to entire homes, villas, and even unique spaces like treehouses or boats.
  • Search and Booking Tools: Users can search for rentals based on location, price, amenities, and property type. The platform facilitates secure booking and payment processing.
  • Communication Channels: Built-in messaging allows hosts and guests to connect before, during, and after bookings.
  • Review System: A robust review system helps build trust and accountability. Guests can review their stays, while hosts can review guests after their departure.

While similar to hotels, Airbnb offers a more personalized and diverse experience. It allows travelers to stay in unique spaces and potentially experience a more local feel. For hosts, it provides a way to generate income by renting out spare space or a property.

How to Use Airbnb?

One of the major factors behind the success of Airbnb, and any other mobile app, is the ease of using these apps. Airbnb has two different interfaces: one for hosts and one for travellers.  Airbnb is designed to be user-friendly, and here’s a basic rundown of how to use it for both guests and hosts:

For Guests:

  1. Create an Account: Sign up for a free Airbnb account using your email address or social media login.
  2. Explore Listings: Browse a wide range of listings based on your desired location, dates, and budget. Utilize filters to narrow down options based on amenities, property type (entire place, private room, etc.), or specific needs (pet-friendly, suitable for work).
  3. Read Reviews & Descriptions: Carefully review listing descriptions, photos, and guest reviews to get a clear understanding of the property, amenities, and house rules before booking.
  4. Contact Host (if needed): If you have any questions about the listing or want to clarify details, you can message the host directly through Airbnb’s messaging system.
  5. Book and Pay Securely: Once you’ve found the perfect place, proceed with booking and secure payment through Airbnb’s platform. Most bookings require at least a partial upfront payment.
  6. Communicate with Host: Maintain clear communication with your host before, during, and after your stay. Discuss arrival details, check-in procedures, and any house rules.
  7. Leave a Review: After your stay, share your experience by leaving a review for the host and the property. This helps future guests make informed decisions.

For Hosts:

  1. Create an Account: Sign up for a free Airbnb account and create a detailed profile showcasing yourself or your business.
  2. List Your Property: Create a listing for your rental space, including high-quality photos, a compelling description, and clear information about amenities, pricing, house rules, and cancellation policies.
  3. Manage Booking Requests: Guests can either book instantly (if enabled) or send booking requests that you can approve or decline.
  4. Communicate with Guests: Respond promptly to guest inquiries and messages. Provide clear instructions for check-in and answer any questions they might have.
  5. Welcome Guests: Ensure your space is clean, prepared, and welcoming for arriving guests.
  6. Leave a Review (Optional): After a guest’s stay, you can also leave a review for them on their profile.

By following these steps, you can effectively navigate Airbnb as either a guest seeking a unique accommodation or a host looking to share your space and earn income. Remember, clear communication, respectful interaction, and adherence to house rules are key to a positive Airbnb experience for everyone involved.

Revenue Model: How Does Airbnb Generate Money?

How do apps like Airbnb generate revenue?

Apps like Airbnb primarily generate revenue through two main channels: commission fees and additional in-app services. Here’s a closer look at these methods:

1. Commission Fees:

  • Booking Commissions: This is the core revenue stream. Airbnb charges a service fee as a percentage of the total booking value. This fee is typically split between the guest (usually around 5-15%) and the host (around 3-5%).
  • The exact commission percentages can vary depending on factors like location, property type, and length of stay.

2. Additional In-App Services:

While commission fees are the backbone, some apps offer additional features that generate income:

  • Subscription Models: Some apps might offer premium features like increased listing visibility or priority booking for hosts through a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
  • In-App Purchases: Hosts might be able to purchase add-ons within the app to enhance their listings. Examples include listing boosts for higher visibility during peak seasons or special promotions to attract more bookings.

The choice of implementing these additional revenue streams depends on the specific app’s strategy and target market.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Balancing Fees and User Experience: Maintaining a healthy balance between commission fees and user experience is crucial. High fees might deter both hosts and guests, so it’s important to find a fair structure that incentivizes participation while generating sustainable revenue.
  • Transparency is Key: Apps should be transparent about all applicable fees for both hosts and guests. This builds trust and avoids any surprises during the booking process.

By effectively leveraging commission fees and exploring potential in-app service options, Airbnb-like apps can establish a successful revenue model within the sharing economy.

Key Features to Include in a Tour and Travel App Like Airbnb

Key features to include in a tour and travel app like Airbnb

Let’s break down the key features for each panel in a tour and travel app similar to Airbnb:

Host Panel:

  • Experience Management:

    • Create new experience listings with detailed descriptions, captivating titles, and high-quality photos.
    • Edit existing listings, including pricing, availability, itineraries, and inclusions/exclusions.
    • Set flexible cancellation policies to manage bookings effectively.
    • Manage experience calendars, blocking out unavailable dates and setting time slots for tours or activities.
  • Guest Communication:

    • Access a dedicated inbox for seamless communication with booked guests.
    • Respond to inquiries, answer questions, and confirm booking details.
    • Send pre-tour messages with additional information or logistical reminders.
  • Performance Tracking:

    • View booking history and track overall experience performance.
    • Analyze guest reviews and feedback to identify areas for improvement.
    • Access insights on booking trends and guest demographics to optimize pricing and offerings.
  • Financial Management:

    • Track earnings and view transaction history for completed experiences.
    • Manage payout preferences and choose preferred payment methods.
    • Access tools to generate invoices or receipts for guests (if needed).
  • Marketing and Promotion:

    • Utilize basic marketing tools to promote experiences. This could include running targeted in-app promotions or offering discounts for last-minute bookings.
    • Participate in loyalty or referral programs offered by the app platform (if available).

Guest Panel:

  • Search and Discovery:

    • Search for experiences by location, date, category, price range, and host availability.
    • Utilize advanced filters to narrow down options based on specific preferences like language spoken, group size limitations, accessibility needs, or special dietary requirements (for food-related tours).
    • Browse curated experience collections or recommendations based on travel interests.
  • Booking and Payment:

    • Securely book desired experiences with a few clicks.
    • Access clear information on pricing, cancellation policies, and inclusions before booking.
    • Utilize integrated payment gateways for seamless and secure transactions.
  • Communication with Hosts:

    • Contact hosts directly through the app’s messaging system to ask questions or confirm booking details.
    • Send messages before, during, or after the experience.
  • Wishlist Feature:

    • Save favourite experiences for future reference, allowing for easier trip planning and revisiting shortlisted options.
  • Review System:

    • Rate and review completed experiences, providing valuable feedback to hosts.
    • Read reviews from other guests to make informed decisions about potential bookings.

Admin Panel (For App Management):

  • User Management:

    • View and manage user profiles for both hosts and guests.
    • Address user-reported issues and concerns.
    • Monitor user activity and enforce app guidelines.
  • Content Management:

    • Manage app content such as category listings, location information, and potentially blog posts or curated travel recommendations.
    • Ensure content accuracy and maintain a high standard of quality.
  • Analytics and Reporting:

    • Access comprehensive data and reports on app usage, booking trends, user demographics, and host performance.
    • Utilize data insights to make informed decisions about app development, marketing strategies, and feature rollouts.
  • Security Management:

    • Implement robust security measures to protect user data, including payment information and personal details.
    • Monitor app security and address any potential vulnerabilities.
  • Financial Management:

    • Manage transaction fees associated with bookings on the platform.
    • Oversee financial settlements with hosts and ensure timely payouts.
  • App Settings and Configuration:

    • Configure various app settings like notification preferences, location services, and multilingual support.
    • Manage app updates and roll out new features to enhance user experience.

By incorporating these features within dedicated panels for hosts, guests, and admins, you can create a well-structured and user-friendly app that caters to the needs of all stakeholders within your tour and travel marketplace.

How to Build a Platform Like Airbnb: Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a roadmap to consider when building a platform like Airbnb:

1. Define Your Niche and Value Proposition:

  • Market Research: Analyze the existing rental marketplace landscape. Identify potential gaps or under-served niches within the short-term rental market.
  • Target Audience: Clearly define your ideal user base. Are you targeting budget travelers, luxury vacationers, or business professionals seeking corporate housing?
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What makes your platform stand out? Will you focus on unique property types, a specific geographic location, or a curated travel experience?

2. Develop a Solid Business Plan:

  • Revenue Model: How will you generate income? Will you rely solely on commission fees like Airbnb, or will you explore additional revenue streams like subscription models or in-app purchases?
  • Marketing Strategy: Plan how you’ll reach your target audience. Consider utilizing social media marketing, influencer partnerships, or strategic content marketing to build brand awareness.
  • Financial Projections: Create financial projections to estimate development costs, operational expenses, and potential revenue streams. This helps secure funding or attract investors.

3. Design and User Experience (UX) Prioritization:

  • User Interface (UI) Design: Develop a user-friendly and intuitive interface for both hosts and guests. The platform should be easy to navigate and visually appealing. Focus on clear search functionalities, detailed listings, and a seamless booking process.
  • User Experience (UX) Optimization: Prioritize a smooth user experience across all platforms (web and mobile app). This includes fast loading times, responsive design, and intuitive workflows for searching, booking, and communication.

4. Core functionalities for your Rental Marketplace:

  • User Profiles: Create user profiles for both hosts and guests.
    • Hosts: Profiles should showcase their properties and potentially include information about themselves or their business.
    • Guests: Profiles can store basic user information and potentially include travel preferences or wishlists.
  • Search and Booking System:
    • Implement a robust search function allowing users to filter listings by location, date, price range, property type (entire place, private room, etc.), amenities, and potentially host availability.
    • Integrate a secure booking system with clear confirmation processes and cancellation policies.
  • Communication Tools:
    • Build-in messaging functionality allows hosts and guests to connect before, during, and after bookings to ask questions or confirm details.

5. Security and Trust-Building Measures:

  • Secure Payment Gateway: Integrate a secure payment gateway for seamless and reliable transaction processing.
  • Verification System: Consider implementing a verification system for both hosts and guests (e.g., ID verification, reference checks). This builds trust within your user base.
  • Secure Data Storage: Implement robust security measures to protect user data, including payment information and personal details.

6. App Development and Launch:

  • Tech Stack Selection: Choose a suitable tech stack based on your app’s complexity and your development team’s expertise. Common options include languages like Javascript, Python, or Ruby on Rails, and databases like MySQL or MongoDB.
  • Development Process: Decide on your development approach – in-house development, outsourcing to a development company, or hiring freelance developers.
  • Testing and Quality Assurance: Rigorous testing is crucial before launch to ensure app functionality, security, and performance across different devices and operating systems.

7. Post-Launch Strategies:

  • User Acquisition: Implement marketing strategies to attract users to your platform. Consider social media marketing, content marketing, or influencer partnerships.
  • Community Building: Foster a sense of community by encouraging user reviews, interactions between hosts and guests, and potentially creating a loyalty program to reward engaged users.
  • Data Analysis and Optimization: Continuously monitor user behavior and app performance through analytics tools. Use the data to identify areas for improvement, optimize features, and adapt to user needs.

Remember: Building a successful rental marketplace requires ongoing effort, innovation, and adaptation. By focusing on user experience, prioritizing security, and fostering a thriving community, you can establish a platform that caters to the evolving needs of the sharing economy.

Tech Stack Required to Build a Rental Business App Like Airbnb

An app will only be successful if it has all the necessary technology to provide a satisfactory user experience. If you want to develop your own tour and travel app like Airbnb, then you have to hire a reliable mobile app development agency. The technology stack needed to construct your app will be better explained to you by your app development partner.

Here’s a breakdown of the tech stack you’ll likely encounter when building a rental business app like Airbnb:

Front-End Development:

  • Programming Languages:
    • JavaScript (JS): The foundation for most interactive web applications. Libraries like React.js or Angular.js are popular choices for building user interfaces due to their efficiency and component-based architecture.
  • Front-End Frameworks:
    • React.js, Angular.js, or Vue.js: These JavaScript frameworks help structure and simplify front-end development, allowing developers to create reusable components and manage complex user interfaces.

Back-End Development:

  • Programming Languages:
    • Python (Django): A popular high-level language known for its readability and extensive libraries. Django is a powerful web framework built on Python, offering a robust foundation for back-end development.
    • Node.js (Express.js): Another popular option for back-end development, Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that allows server-side scripting with JavaScript. Express.js is a popular Node.js framework that simplifies building web applications.
    • Ruby (Ruby on Rails): A mature and well-established language with a focus on developer productivity. Ruby on Rails is a full-stack framework that simplifies back-end development and streamlines common web application functionalities.


  • Relational Databases:
    • MySQL, PostgreSQL: These are industry-standard relational databases that excel at storing structured data like user profiles, listings, bookings, and reviews. They offer strong performance and scalability for large-scale applications.
  • NoSQL Databases:
    • MongoDB: A popular NoSQL database choice for web applications. NoSQL databases are document-oriented and offer flexibility for storing data with varying structures, which can be useful for storing rental property details with diverse features and amenities.

Other Important Technologies:

  • Cloud Platforms:
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP): These cloud platforms provide essential infrastructure services like storage, computing power, and database management. They offer scalability, reliability, and cost-effective solutions for deploying and managing your app.
  • Payment Gateways:
    • Stripe, PayPal: Secure integrations with payment gateways are crucial for processing booking transactions within the app. These services ensure the secure handling of sensitive financial information.
  • Map APIs:
    • Google Maps API: Integrating map functionalities allows users to search for rentals by location and visualize property addresses.

Choosing the Right Tech Stack:

The specific tech stack you choose will depend on various factors like:

  • Project Scope and Complexity: Simpler apps might utilize a basic combination of languages and frameworks, while complex apps might require a more comprehensive stack.
  • Team Expertise: Consider your development team’s skills and experience when selecting technologies.
  • Scalability Needs: Choose a tech stack that can accommodate future growth and increasing user traffic.

Additional Considerations:

  • Security: Prioritize robust security measures throughout your tech stack to protect user data, including payment information and personal details.
  • Performance Optimization: Focus on optimizing app performance for a seamless user experience. This might involve code optimization, caching mechanisms, and efficient database querying.

By carefully considering these factors and selecting the appropriate technologies, you can build a solid foundation for your rental business app. Remember, the tech stack is just one piece of the puzzle. Having a skilled development team, a well-defined plan, and a focus on user experience are all crucial for success.

How Much Does it Cost to Build an App Like Airbnb? [Estimated Cost]

The cost of developing an Airbnb-like app can vary significantly depending on several factors. Here’s a breakdown to help you estimate the potential investment:

Key Cost Factors:

  • App Complexity: Simple apps with basic functionalities will naturally cost less than feature-rich apps with complex functionalities like advanced search filters, a robust review system, or in-app messaging.
  • Development Team Location: Hiring developers in regions with lower hourly rates can reduce overall costs. However, this might come with trade-offs in terms of experience or communication fluency.
  • Development Approach:
    • In-House Development: Building an in-house team requires recruiting developers, designers, project managers, and potentially testers. While offering potentially greater control, it can be the most expensive option.
    • Outsourcing to an App Development Company: Outsourcing to a development company leverages their expertise and existing infrastructure, potentially leading to cost savings. However, clear communication and a well-defined project scope are crucial for success.
    • Freelancers: Hiring freelance developers can be a cost-effective option, but managing multiple freelancers and ensuring code quality can be challenging.

Estimated Cost Range:

  • Basic App (Simple Features): $25,000 – $35,000
    • This range might cover a basic app with core functionalities like user profiles, listings, booking system, and basic communication tools.
  • Mid-Range App (Moderate Features): $50,000 – $80,000
    • This range could include additional features like a secure payment gateway, advanced search filters, a review system, and potentially in-app messaging.
  • Complex App (Advanced Features): $100,000+
    • This range applies to feature-rich apps with functionalities like social media integration, location-based services, push notifications, and potentially a multi-lingual interface.

Additional Costs to Consider:

  • Server Costs: Cloud hosting fees for storing data and running the app can vary depending on usage and chosen cloud platform provider.
  • UI/UX Design: Hiring a skilled UI/UX designer to craft an intuitive and user-friendly interface is crucial. Costs depend on the designer’s experience and project complexity.
  • App Store Fees: Submission fees for listing your app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are relatively minor but should be factored in.
  • Maintenance and Updates: Budget for ongoing maintenance and updates to address bugs, improve functionality, and adapt to changing technologies.

Saving on Development Costs:

  • Prioritize Features: Identify the core functionalities essential for your app’s launch and focus on developing those first. You can always add more features later.
  • Choose the Right Tech Stack: Selecting an efficient tech stack that aligns with your project’s needs and your development team’s skills can streamline development and potentially reduce costs.
  • Consider Open-Source Libraries: Utilize open-source libraries that offer pre-built functionalities for common tasks. This can save development time and reduce costs.

“Remember, these are just estimated ranges. The actual cost of building your app will depend on your specific requirements and chosen development path.”

For a more accurate estimate, it’s recommended to consult with experienced app development companies who can assess your project needs and provide a tailored quote.


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Developing an Airbnb-like app is a strategic decision for rental businesses. By understanding user needs, implementing core functionalities, and fostering a thriving community, you can create a successful platform. Remember, ongoing innovation, effective marketing, and a commitment to user experience will be key to standing out in the competitive landscape.

The tourism industry is growing, and along with it, the tour and travel apps industry is growing as well. Today, it is a unique and lucrative business proposition for you to invest in a tour and travel application. With years of experience in this industry, Strivemindz, a mobile application development company, can be the ideal partner for your project. For more information, visit our website, or contact us! 


What is involved in building an app like Airbnb?

A: Building an app like Airbnb involves several key steps, including:
• Market research to understand the target audience and competition
• Planning the app’s features and functionality
• Designing the user interface and user experience
• Developing the app using programming languages and frameworks
• Testing the app to ensure it functions correctly
• Launching the app and marketing it to attract users

How long does it take to build an app like Airbnb

The time it takes to build an app like Airbnb can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the app, the availability of resources, and the development approach. However, it typically takes several months to a year or more to develop a fully functional app.

How much does it cost to build an app like Airbnb?

The cost of building an app like Airbnb can vary widely depending on factors such as the app’s features, the development team’s rates, and the development approach. However, it’s not uncommon for the cost to range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What is an Airbnb clone app?

: An Airbnb clone app is a mobile application that replicates the features and functionality of the popular accommodation booking platform Airbnb. It allows users to search for and book accommodations such as houses, apartments, and rooms from hosts in various locations.

What features are typically included in an Airbnb clone app?

An Airbnb clone app usually includes features such as:
• User registration and authentication
• Accommodation search and filtering
• Booking and payment processing
• Messaging between hosts and guests
• Reviews and ratings
• Host management (for hosts)
• Admin panel for app management

How much does it cost to develop an Airbnb clone app?

The cost of developing an Airbnb clone app can vary depending on the features, complexity, and development team’s rates. It’s recommended to get a quote from app development companies based on your specific requirements.

Can I customize an Airbnb clone app to suit my business needs?

Yes, you can customize an Airbnb clone app to include features specific to your business requirements. App development companies can help you tailor the app to meet your needs.

What are some popular Airbnb clone apps?

Some popular Airbnb clone apps include:
• Vrbo (formerly HomeAway)
• FlipKey
• Wimdu
• 9flats

These apps offer similar accommodation booking services to Airbnb.

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