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What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a popular online platform that allows people to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers for a fee. The platform was launched in 2008 and has since grown into one of the largest online travel companies in the world. Its global success triggered budding entrepreneurs to invest in building apps like Airbnb and that’s possible only when they’ve an app development company to approach. Let’s learn a bit about the brand first!

History & Origin of Airbnb

Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk in San Francisco, California. The idea for the company came about when the three founders were struggling to pay rent on their own apartment. They decided to rent out three air mattresses in their living room to attendees of a design conference in town. The idea was a hit, and soon they were renting out their living room regularly to travelers in need of a place to stay.

Over the course of years, the company grew rapidly, attracting both hosts and guests from around the world. By 2011, Airbnb had over 1-million nights booked, whereas in 2014, it was valued at $10 billion. Today, Airbnb operates in over 220 countries and has over 4 million listings on its platform. Adding to the competition are the many apps like Airbnb built with the vision to be a huge success while providing something unique.

In 2022, the global revenue of Airbnb summed up to 8.4 billion U.S. dollars.

How Airbnb Works

To build an Airbnb clone, it’s important to know how it works! Airbnb is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that allows hosts to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers. Hosts create a listing for their property, including photos, a description, and pricing information. Guests can then search for properties on the Airbnb website or app, based on their preferred location, travel dates, and budget.

Once a guest finds a property their liking, they can easily book it directly through the Airbnb platform. Airbnb handles all the payment processing, including collecting the rental fee from the guest and transferring it to the host, minus a service fee. For this reason, it might fall in the category of travel and even house rental apps like Airbnb.

Benefits of Rental Apps like Airbnb

There are several benefits to using apps like Airbnb for both hosts and guests.

For hosts, rental apps like Airbnb provide an opportunity to earn extra income by renting out their homes or apartments. This can be especially valuable for people who have extra space or who are traveling themselves and want to make some money while they’re away.

For guests, Airbnb-like apps provide a more affordable and unique alternative to traditional hotels. Airbnb listings often offer more space and amenities than hotels, and can provide a more authentic local experience for travelers. At this point, one may be interested in building a real estate app for which connecting with a real estate app development company is important.

Airbnb Business Model

Let’s dive into the Airbnb business model and explore its key factors that have contributed to the company’s tremendous success. This is crucial when you’re brainstorming on apps like Airbnb.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects travelers with local hosts who offer accommodations in their homes or rental properties. The company’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, by providing a platform that allows people to experience a new place like a local. Airbnb listings range from private rooms and shared spaces to entire apartments, houses, and unique accommodations like treehouses and yurts.

How Does Apps Like Airbnb Make Money?

Airbnb’s business model is based on a commission-based system, where the company takes a percentage of each booking as its revenue. The host sets the price for the accommodation, and Airbnb takes a percentage of that price. The percentage Airbnb charges ranges between 0% to 20%, depending on the type of booking, the length of stay, and the location. When developing an app like Airbnb, it’s important to determine the cost and other charges in advance to incorporate correctly in the first attempt.

In addition to commissions, house rental apps like Airbnb also generate revenue from fees charged to guests and hosts. Guests are charged a service fee, which ranges from 0% to 20% of the booking cost, depending on the total amount of the booking. Hosts are charged a 3% fee for each booking to cover the cost of processing payments.

Airbnb-like apps also generate revenue from its “Experiences” platform, which offers travelers unique and local experiences, such as cooking classes, guided tours, and cultural workshops. Airbnb takes a commission of 20% from the experience host’s earnings.

What are the Key Features of Airbnb’s Business Model?

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Platform: Airbnb’s business model is based on a peer-to-peer platform that connects hosts and guests directly. This means that Airbnb does not own any of the accommodations listed on its platform, but rather serves as a facilitator for the transaction.
  • Trust and Safety: Airbnb places a strong emphasis on trust and safety, as it is essential to the success of its platform. The company has implemented a rigorous verification process for hosts and guests, including ID verification, background checks, and reviews. Additionally, Airbnb offers a host guarantee program, which provides up to $1 million in property damage protection for hosts.
  • Personalization: Airbnb’s platform allows travelers to find unique and personalized accommodations that fit their specific needs and preferences. This is in contrast to traditional hotels, which offer a standardized experience.
  • Flexibility: Airbnb offers a high degree of flexibility for hosts and guests, with no minimum stay requirements and the ability to cancel bookings up to a certain point. This allows travelers to plan their trips with more freedom and less risk.
  • Localization: Airbnb’s business model is built on the idea of localization, as it aims to provide travelers with a unique and authentic local experience. This has helped the company to differentiate itself from traditional hotels, which often offer a more generic and homogenous experience.

What are the Strengths of Airbnb’s Business Model?

  • Scalability & Market Penetration: Airbnb’s peer-to-peer platform allows the company to scale its operations rapidly and efficiently. As the company does not own any of the accommodations listed on its platform, it can penetrate into new markets quickly without incurring significant costs.
  • Low Overhead Costs: Airbnb’s business model has relatively low overhead costs compared to traditional hotels, as the company does not own any of the properties listed on its platform. This allows the company to invest more in marketing and product development, which can help to drive growth while increasing demand to create yet another app like Airbnb.
  • Diversification: Airbnb’s business model allows the company to diversify its revenue streams through the addition of new services, such as “Experiences” and “Adventures.” This helps the company to reduce its reliance on accommodation bookings and creates new opportunities for growth.
  • Customer Loyalty: Airbnb’s focus on personalization and localization has helped to build a strong sense of community and loyalty among its customers. This has resulted in high levels of repeat business and positive word-of-mouth advertising.
  • Innovation: Business model of apps like Airbnb is highly innovative and has disrupted the traditional hotel industry. The company continues to innovate by introducing new services and features that enhance the customer experience.

What are the Challenges of Airbnb Like Apps’s Business Model?

  • Regulatory Issues: Airbnb has faced significant regulatory challenges in many of its markets, particularly around issues such as zoning laws, tax regulations, and safety standards. This has led to legal battles and increased costs for the company.
  • Trust and Safety Concerns: While Airbnb places a strong emphasis on trust and safety, there have been instances of hosts and guests engaging in fraudulent or dangerous behavior. This can damage the company’s reputation and lead to legal liabilities.
  • Dependence on Hosts: Airbnb’s business model is heavily dependent on its hosts, who provide the accommodations listed on the platform. If hosts decide to leave the platform or provide subpar accommodations, this can negatively impact the customer experience and damage the company’s reputation.
  • Competition: Airbnb faces intense competition from other online travel agencies, as well as traditional hotels and vacation rental companies. This competition can lead to price pressures and reduced margins.
  • Economic Uncertainty: Airbnb’s business model is highly dependent on the travel industry, which is susceptible to economic downturns and other external factors. This can lead to volatility in bookings and revenues.

How Apps like Airbnb Works for Guests

Let’s find out how apps like Airbnb works for guests, from the booking process to the stay itself.

  • Creating an Airbnb Account

The first step to using an Airbnb-like app as a guest is to create an account. Creating an account is a simple process that requires a valid email address, phone number, and payment information. Once you’ve created your account, you can start browsing Airbnb’s listings.

  • Finding a Place to Stay

Airbnb has a vast selection of accommodations to choose from. You can search for listings based on your desired location, dates, price range, and other filters such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and amenities. You can also save listings to your wishlist for future reference. Keep this feature in consideration when you build an Airbnb clone.

  • Book a Stay

In apps like Airbnb, when you find a listing that you like, you can book it by selecting your desired dates, the number of guests, and submitting payment information. Some hosts may require guests to submit a request to book, which means that the host will review the request before accepting or declining it.

  • Communication with the Host

Once your booking is confirmed, you can communicate with your host through Airbnb’s messaging system. This is a great way to ask any questions you may have about the property or the surrounding area. It’s essential to be clear and upfront about your needs and expectations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

  • Check-in and Check-out

On the day of your check-in, you will receive detailed instructions from your host on how to access the property. Some hosts may meet you in person to give you the keys and show you around. At check-out, you will need to leave the property in the condition you found it and follow any instructions provided by the host.

  • Ratings and Reviews

After your stay, you can leave a rating and review for your host. This feedback is crucial for future guests and hosts to know what to expect. It’s essential to be honest and fair in your review, focusing on your experience and any issues that may have arisen.

  • Payment and Fees

Apps like Airbnb charges guests a service fee, which varies based on the total cost of the booking. The service fee covers the cost of operating the platform and providing customer support. Some hosts may also charge additional fees, such as a cleaning fee or a security deposit, which will be listed in the listing’s description.

  • Safety and Security

Airbnb takes safety and security seriously and has several measures in place to ensure a safe and comfortable stay for guests. Hosts are required to verify their identity, and many hosts also have reviews and ratings from previous guests. Airbnb also offers a 24/7 customer support line for any emergencies or issues that may arise during your stay.

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Build an Airbnb Clone: How it Works for Hosts

Airbnb has become one of the most popular ways for people to find affordable accommodations while traveling. For hosts, it’s a way to make extra income by renting out their spare rooms or entire homes. Let’s take a closer look at how to build a website like Airbnb and make it work for hosts.

1.    Getting Started on Airbnb

To start on apps like Airbnb, hosts need to create an account on the platform. After signing up, hosts can list their property and provide details about the space, including photos, amenities, and pricing. Airbnb provides a platform for hosts to manage their listings, communicate with guests, and handle payments.

2.    Listing Your Property on Airbnb

When listing a property on an Airbnb-like app, hosts need to provide detailed information about the space. This includes the type of space (private room, shared room, or entire home), the number of guests the space can accommodate, and any amenities that are available (such as Wi-Fi, a pool, or a washer and dryer).

Hosts can also set the price for their listing. Airbnb and many other apps like Airbnb provide recommendations for pricing based on similar listings in the area, but hosts have the final say on how much they charge. It’s important to note that Airbnb charges hosts a 3% fee for each booking, and guests are charged a service fee.

3.    Communicating with Guests

Once a listing is live, hosts can communicate with guests through Airbnb’s messaging system. This allows hosts to answer questions, provide recommendations for local attractions, and coordinate check-in times. It’s important to respond promptly to guest inquiries to ensure a positive experience for both the guest and host.

4.    Handling Payments

Airbnb handles all payments for hosts, and hosts receive payment after the guest checks in. Airbnb charges guests at the time of booking and holds the payment until 24 hours after the guest arrives to ensure everything is as expected. Hosts can choose to receive payment via PayPal or direct deposit.

An app like Airbnb also provides a Host Guarantee, which covers hosts for up to $1 million in damages to their property caused by guests. Hosts can also choose to require a security deposit from guests, which can be used to cover any damages that occur during the stay.

5.    Managing Your Listing

Managing a listing on Airbnb requires some effort from hosts. In addition to communicating with guests, hosts need to ensure that the space is clean and ready for each guest. Hosts can choose to handle this themselves or hire a cleaning service.

Hosts should also be available to address any issues that arise during a guest’s stay. This could include providing additional towels or bedding, fixing a broken appliance, or addressing noise complaints from neighbors.

Core Features of an App Like Airbnb

App Like Airbnb’s Core Features

Airbnb’s success has inspired many entrepreneurs to develop similar platforms, with the aim of providing unique, comfortable and affordable accommodation options to travelers.If you’re planning to develop an app like Airbnb, there are certain core features that you should consider. These can help ensure that your platform is user-friendly, secure and provides an excellent experience for both hosts and guests.

1.    User Registration & Profile Creation

User registration and profile creation are essential features for apps like Airbnb. These features allow users to create accounts, set up profiles, and manage their personal information, such as their name, email address, phone number, and profile picture. Users can also add a bio, describe their interests and provide information about their preferences and requirements when it comes to accommodation.

User registration and profile creation features can also include options for verifying user identity, such as email verification, phone number verification, and social media account verification. These features help build trust between users and can reduce the risk of fraud or scams.

2.    Search & Filtering Options

Another core feature of an app like Airbnb is the ability to search and filter listings based on specific criteria, such as location, price range, accommodation type, amenities, and more. This feature helps users find accommodation that meets their specific needs and preferences.

In addition to basic search and filtering options, you can also consider advanced search features, such as the ability to search for listings by proximity to specific landmarks, or the ability to search for listings based on specific activities or events in the area.

3.    Booking & Payment Management

Booking and payment management are critical features of apps like Airbnb. These allow guests to book accommodation and for hosts to manage bookings and payments securely. The booking and payment management feature should include options for users to check availability, request booking, and complete payment.

The payment management feature can be integrated with payment gateways such as PayPal or Stripe, which allows guests to pay for their booking securely. Hosts can also use this feature to manage their payments, including the ability to set their own cancellation policies and payment terms.

4.    Review & Rating System

A review and rating system is an essential feature for any other app like Airbnb. It allows guests to leave reviews and ratings after their stay, which helps other users make informed decisions when booking accommodation. Reviews and ratings also provide valuable feedback to hosts, which they can use to improve their listings and services.

To ensure the authenticity of reviews and ratings, you can consider implementing a verification process that checks if the user has actually stayed at the property before they can leave a review. This can help prevent fake or misleading reviews, which can damage the credibility of the platform.

5.    Messaging & Communication System

A messaging and communication system makes for yet another core feature of apps like Airbnb allowing hosts and guests to communicate with each other before, during, and after their stay. Hosts can use this feature to provide information about their listing, answer questions, and share local tips with their guests. Guests can use this feature to ask questions, make requests, and provide feedback.

The messaging and communication system can be integrated with email, SMS, and push notifications to ensure that users receive timely and relevant information.

6.    Host Dashboard & Management Tools

An app like Airbnb should include a host dashboard and management tools that allow hosts to manage their listings and bookings efficiently. The host dashboard should provide access to essential features, such as managing availability, setting prices, accepting or rejecting booking requests, and communicating with guests. It can also include tools for managing payments, creating and editing listings, and accessing analytics and reporting features.

Additionally, the dashboard should provide hosts with tools to ensure the safety and security of their guests. For example, it can include features such as background checks for guests, insurance policies, and safety guidelines.

7.    Mobile-friendly Design

A mobile-friendly design, like any other app, is an important feature for apps like Airbnb as well. With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s essential that the platform is accessible and user-friendly on smartphones and tablets. A mobile-friendly design can include features such as responsive layouts, easy navigation, and touch-friendly interfaces.

Moreover, you can consider developing a native mobile app for both Android and iOS devices, which can provide additional features such as push notifications and access to device-specific functionalities.

8.    Localization & Internationalization

Localization and internationalization, for an app like Airbnb, is crucial especially if you’re targeting a global audience. Localization refers to the process of adapting the app to the language and cultural preferences of the target audience. This includes providing support for multiple languages, currencies, and time zones.

Internationalization, on the other hand, involves designing the app to be adaptable to different cultural and linguistic contexts, including user interfaces, content, and marketing strategies. These features can help make the platform more accessible to users from different parts of the world and improve the user experience.

[Bonus Read: How much does it cost to build an app like Reddit]

Technology Stack to Develop an App Like Airbnb

Airbnb has revolutionized the way we think about travel and accommodations. With its unique business model of connecting travelers with local hosts, Airbnb has disrupted the traditional hotel industry. If you’re looking to build an app like Airbnb, you’ll need the right technology stack to make it happen.

Front-end Development

The front-end of an app is what users see and interact with. For an app like Airbnb, the front-end must be visually appealing, user-friendly, and highly responsive. To develop a front-end for your Airbnb-like app, you’ll need to use the following technologies:

  1. React Native: React Native is a popular framework for building mobile apps. It allows you to develop cross-platform apps that work on both iOS and Android devices. Airbnb has used React Native to build its mobile app, making it a good choice for your project as well. If you’re seeking professional assistance, consider exploring React Native app development services for comprehensive support in bringing your app ideas to life.
  2. Redux: Redux is a state management library that works well with React Native. It lets you manage the state of your app in a predictable way and makes it easier to debug your code.
  3. TypeScript: TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript that adds static typing to your code. It can help catch errors early on in the development process and improve the overall quality of your code.

Back-end Development

The back-end of an app is responsible for handling data storage, processing, and retrieval. For a robust and powerful back-end of your Airbnb-like app, you’ll need to use the following technologies:

  1. Node.js: Node.js is a popular back-end development framework that allows you to build scalable and efficient web applications. Airbnb has used Node.js for its back-end development.
  2. Express.js: Express.js is a minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a set of robust features for web and mobile applications.
  3. GraphQL: GraphQL is a query language for APIs that allows you to request only the data you need. Airbnb has used GraphQL for its API, making it a good choice for your project as well.
  4. MongoDB: MongoDB is a NoSQL database that is used for its flexibility and scalability. Airbnb has used MongoDB for its data storage needs.

Cloud Infrastructure

The cloud infrastructure is responsible for hosting and deploying your app. To create and setup the cloud infrastructure for your Airbnb-like app, you’ll need to use the following technologies:

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS is a cloud computing platform that provides a wide range of services, including compute, storage, and database services. Airbnb has used AWS for its cloud infrastructure.
  2. Docker: Docker is a containerization technology that allows you to package your application and its dependencies into a single container. This makes it easier to deploy your app to different environments.
  3. Kubernetes: Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that allows you to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of your containerized applications.

Complete Cost to Build an App like Airbnb

Cost Category

Estimated Cost Range

Concept Development

$5,000 – $10,000

App Design

$5,000 – $20,000

App Development

$20,000 – $100,000

Testing & Quality Assurance

$5,000 – $15,000

Launch & Maintenance

$5,000 – $10,000

Additional Features

$10,000 – $50,000

Infrastructure & Hosting

$5,000 – $10,000 per year
Disclaimer: Please note that these cost estimates are rough ranges and can vary based on various factors such as app complexity, features, development team rates, location, and other considerations. It's always recommended to consult with app development professionals to get a more accurate cost estimate based on your specific requirements.

If you are looking to develop apps like Airbnb, one of the crucial things to consider is the cost of development.

  • Concept Development

The first step in developing an app like Airbnb is to come up with a concept that aligns with your business goals. This involves conducting market research to identify gaps in the travel industry and identifying features that will make your app stand out. The cost of concept development varies depending on the complexity of the app, but it usually ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

  • App Design

The design of your app is crucial in creating a user-friendly interface that encourages users to stay on your app longer. App design involves creating wireframes, mockups, and prototypes that show the layout and features of the app. The cost of app design falls anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000.

  • App Development

The actual development of the app involves writing code that makes the app functional. This involves backend development, front-end development, and integration of third-party APIs. The cost of app development ranges from $20,000 to $100,000.

  • Testing & Quality Assurance

Testing and quality assurance are crucial in ensuring that the app functions as intended and is free of bugs and errors. This involves conducting various tests to identify issues and fixing them before launching the app. The cost usually ranges from $5,000 to $15,000.

  • Launch & Maintenance

Launching an app involves deployment to the app store and promoting it to users. Maintenance involves providing updates and fixing issues that may arise after launch. The cost of launch and maintenance can vary based on overall complexity of the app, but it can be anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000.

  • Additional Features

To make your app stand out, you may want to consider adding additional features such as machine learning, augmented reality, or virtual reality. The cost of including additional features requires extra efforts from the team involved in making an app like Airbnb so the cost may elevate and fall between $10,000 to $50,000.

  • Infrastructure & Hosting

To run an app like Airbnb, you need to have servers and infrastructure, powerful enough to host your app and prevent it from downtime during peak booking season like holidays or particular events. The cost of arranging infrastructure and hosting can range between $5,000 to $10,000 per year.

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Final Thoughts

The total cost to develop an app like Airbnb can range from $50,000 to $200,000 or more. It is important to work with an experienced app development team that can help you navigate the development process and ensure that your app meets your business goals. For a much better understanding, it’s better to find out about the cost of building an app like Zillow or Redfin.


  • What programming languages should I know to build an app like Airbnb?

A: Building an app like Airbnb requires a combination of front-end and back-end technologies, including programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and SQL.

  • Can I build an app like Airbnb by myself or do I need a team?

A: Building an app like Airbnb is a complex project that requires a team of professionals with diverse skills, including designers, developers, and project managers. It’s highly recommended to have a team to build a scalable and functional app.

  • What are some essential features to include in an app like Airbnb?

A: Some essential features to include in an app like Airbnb are user registration and login, property listing, property search and filtering, payment processing, messaging system, review and rating system, and an admin dashboard to manage properties and users.

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

A: The cost of building an app like Airbnb can vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of the project, the features included, the technology stack used, and the size of the development team. It could range anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 or more.

  • How long does it take to build an app like Airbnb?

A: The timeline for building an app like Airbnb depends on several factors such as the size of the development team, the complexity of the features, and the technology stack used. However, it typically takes 6 to 12 months or longer to build a fully functional app like Airbnb.

  • How do I ensure the safety and security of users on an app like Airbnb?

A: To ensure the safety and security of users on an app like Airbnb, you need to implement strict security measures such as verifying user identities, using encryption for payment processing, and providing a secure messaging system. Additionally, you should have a comprehensive review and rating system to help ensure the quality of properties and hosts.

  • How do I promote my app like Airbnb to attract users?

A: To promote your app like Airbnb, you need to invest in digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising. Additionally, you could partner with popular travel bloggers or influencers to promote your app to their followers.

About The Author

blog author
Ahsan Shahid

Meet Ahsan, the wordsmith behind some of the most electrifying pieces on app development. Armed with a keyboard, a cup of coffee, and an insatiable curiosity, Ahsan has spent years exploring the wild and wonderful world of app development. Currently working at Trango Tech, an app development company, Ahsan brings his expertise to the forefront. So buckle up, grab a cup of coffee (or tea, we won't judge), and get ready to dive headfirst into the exciting and ever-changing world of app development with Ahsan as your guide.

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