How to Make an App Like Airbnb?

How to Make an App Like Airbnb?

You got it! Do you want to do something great? Something unique? Maybe creating the next multi-million dollar travel app? But,…

How to create an app like Airbnb?

The travel and tourism industry that enjoys consistent patronage in and out of season has embraced technology to enhance its operations. So, when the online travel industry emerged, it grew astronomically because it provides a useful service to a massive client base. For instance, travelers can now book through flight, accommodation, or vacation itineraries from the convenience of their homes. These types of applications have made the life of travelers more comfortable. It not surprising that these programs enjoy massive patronage.

 Airbnb is arguably the leading travel aggregator on earth today, thanks to the useful features and the effective management of the app.  The success of Airbnb has inspired many application developers who try to replicate the platform. If you have such an idea, this article will guide you through creating a mobile app like Airbnb

 We have broken down the steps you need to create your Airbnb app clone into ten simple steps. Follow this guide to create your app and save time and money in the process. Before we stand to analyze the procedure on how to create a vacation app line Airbnb, let’s take a brief overview of the company and the service they offer.

Overview of Airbnb

The concept that led to the creation of Airbnb started with two designers who shared their home with three travelers that needed a place to stay. Today, the idea has become a global phenomenon, people that have space to share now use Airbnb to host travelers. This platform enables locals and travelers to share their passion and experience.

Airbnb is a platform that enables hosts to provide accommodation for guests that have traveled for business or vacation.  The user that signed in on the platform as a guest can search for homes using multiple criteria such as location, property features, vacation homes, and many more. The user can select a home and book a stay after providing personal details and payment information. In some cases, the host request that the guest scan a government-issued identification before they can proceed with the reservation.

Guests on the Airbnb platform can chat with hosts, and the conversation is secured using encryption technology. While listing their home on Airbnb, the host provides relevant information regarding the property. Such data include the type of property, amenities, the number of guests allowed type, home rules, and the likes. The host determines the reservation price, guests can leave a review about their experience after the stay.

Besides facilitating lodging for travelers, Airbnb also provides additional services such as:

Experience: This feature gives guests access to book local guides, meetups, cooking classes, and guided tours.

Airbnb Plus: The hosts that certify additional verification conditions are qualified for listing into the Airbnb Plus. Such requirements include complete kitchen equipment, clean refrigerator, toiletries, Fast Internet, and steady water pressure. The listing by plus host receives a badge that makes the user stand out among other hosts on the platform.

Airbnb Collections: This service provides several options such as Airbnb for work, Airbnb for families, dinner parties, weddings, and other social gatherings.

Niido: This is a type of apartment community that allows tenants to rent out their units for up to six months; the arrangement enables the profit to be shared with the landlord. Each Niido branded property designates a “master-host” that takes care of the checking and cleaning services. Airbnb can provide help regarding profile-setup, application for permits, and remittal of local occupancy taxes. The Niido community owns two buildings in Nashville and Kissimmee.

Natiivo:  This refers to a brand of Condo Hotels that are designed to promote home-sharing. These types of buildings are licensed as hotels and have facilities such as 24-hour concierge, parking space, co-working space, and many other amenities. Individuals have the option of managing their properties or designate the management to Natiivo and pay for the service.

How to Create a Vacation App like Airbnb?

So far, we have analyzed the platform of the industry leader, who will end up becoming your competitor. Let us navigate through the procedure of creating your travel and tourism app.


Do not start with coding the app!

You might be wondering why you should not start coding. After all, the project is about developing the app. However, coding is the most vital and expensive aspect of developing a travel aggregator app, such as You might be able to get offshore developers who sill settles for $20 per hour, but Silicon Valley programmers don’t take less than $150 per hour. That is why you should approach it systematically, to save cost and get the best possible results.

Jumping into coding too fast can compromise the quality of your app. When you start coding without proper planning, chances abound that you’ll hit a bottleneck along the way. Such an approach will make you spend more money on developing the app than you should.  The first thing you need to do is market research. The research allows you to understand the needs of the market so you can design your app to solve their problems. Write out your app USP; these are important reasons why users should download your app. Get the feedback from the future user community before you venture into coding.

You must have a goal!

Unless you have a goal, you will drift around and get nowhere! To make an app similar to Airbnb the first action is to have a goal and write your high-level objectives. As you are well aware, there are loads of applications in different niches in the various mobile app stores. However, only a few of them make an excellent impression and dominate their market. One vital fact that enhances the success of an app is the creation of high-level goals for your app. One of the benefits of writing out your high-level objectives is that it allows you to target your application audience. There is no way your app users can have a great experience with your app when you have not defined goals. The best route is to use a Business Model Canvas, load up the startup method, and buy the startup user’s manual.

To know more, please read How to Make an App: 13 Steps for a Successful App.

Write Down the Core Features

Building an app like Airbnb is not an easy task. The core features list is very broad and be prepared to invest a decent amount of money. Your travel and tourism application will remain a complicated puzzle until you identify the core features of your app. That is when the mobile app starts taking shape. In this scenario, you can ask yourself, “what are the core features of Airbnb?” Your answer will let you know the features you should focus on. Even though you are making an app like Airbnb, please don’t forget that you have to have unique features to be successful. Do your best to find a niche and develop an app that solves the problem at least 10x better than the competition.

The core features of Airbnb are in three categories.

  • The Host features
  • The Guest features
  • The features for administration.

The Host feature takes care of the homeowners who want to list their property for short-term rent on your platform. The guest feature allows prospective travelers to search for properties in their destination of travel and reserve one ahead of time. The administration part of the app connects the Guest and the Host modules so both can work seamlessly and resolves any challenges that may arise during the transaction.

Below is a couple of features that you can consider while preparing the core functions you need to add to your app.

  • The new user registration and profile features.
  • The interface for booking accommodation.
  • Push notification that informs users about essential updates in real-time.
  • Messaging system for communication between guest users and property owners on the platform.
  • A system that allows the guest to modify or cancels a reservation.
  • Feature for making a reservation and paying the required bills.
  • An administration backend that monitors the transaction between property owners and their prospective guests.
  • A site-wide search function that allows travelers to find the type of accommodation or service they need.

Let us take a closer look at these features so we can appreciate their importance.

The User Registration:

Although it is necessary to have users register on your platform to use your app, do not make the registration mandatory. Compulsory registration can potentially limit your userbase and affect the popularity of your app negatively. A better approach is to allow the use of the core features of booking and searching tours without registration. You can also provide functions such as social login, which shortens the time required for user registration and confirmations substantially.

Interface for Booking Accommodation

The goal of creating the app is to allow travelers to choose properties in their preferred destination and make reservations for a selected duration. Taking the time to design the interface for booking to be user-friendly and functional will increase user engagement. Don’t bore the user with unnecessary details. Just make sure it includes only the relevant fields required to make a successful reservation. A useful feature you can add is geolocation tracking, which makes it easy to use the booking functions of the app.

The Messaging System

There are times when the guest needs clarification while booking or using another service on your platform. In such instances, it is helpful to have an instant messaging feature that allows communication between the parties involved in the transaction. This feature will enable the guest user to communicate with the property owner/representative in real-time. The messaging function can help prevent disputes on your platform.

Push Notifications

You would want to replicate the excellent notification feature of Airbnb, which gives users up-to-date information regarding their bookings. This feature is also useful for promoting offers and discounts to the app platform users. You will find this feature helpful for driving sales and increasing the revenue generated by your app.

The Search Function

One of the core features of an app like Airbnb is the search function. So, for people who want to know how to make an app like Airbnb, search function plays a central role in the app design.  The feature allows prospective guests to search for properties by typing a keyword such as a name or selecting a specific location to display all available properties. The search feature increases the usability of your app.

Accommodation Details

There is a need to have an accommodation details page for your travel and tourism app. All users would want to have a closer look at the accommodation they choose to stay during the travel. Here are some features you should consider including in the details page.

  • A map showing the neighborhood of the property.
  • The rental costs
  • Relevant information about the building.
  • Images of the indoor and outdoor sections of the property
  • A “book now” button or similar call to action.
  • Link for adding to the user favorite list.
  • Review from previous guests
  • List of facilities within the property.

Booking and Making Payments

The booking feature is critical to your travel aggregator app. You should also provide an avenue for users to make a payment without hassles. Like every other financial transaction, payment integration needs to be safe, secure, and easy to use. Although Airbnb accepts both credit cards and PayPal, you do not have to restrict your own app to those two. Presenting several payment options for your app users is an excellent idea. It will help you increase your add userbase.

Cancellation Features

Besides creating features for easy reservation of accommodation, the users should also be able to cancel the booking without hassles when the need arises. In this regard, your platform needs to have a cancellation policy in place. You can simply look at successful travel websites and take a cue from their cancellation policy.

Administration Panel

Although property owners and guests are the primary users of your travel app, there is a need to have an administrative section of the app in place.  This is the section where the app administrator can manage listing, integrate management solutions into the app, and access vital app statistics. In essence, apart from the frontend features to enhance the user experience, the backend for app administration is equally important.

Every single one of these features is important if you want to achieve the same success that Airbnb is enjoying.

Choose a Platform for your App

Most people think that a cross-platform app is the best way to have a massive userbase for your app. However, when designing a new app, the best approach is to choose one platform from Android and iOS. Cross-platform development skyrockets your development costs and makes the entire process of creating the app complicated. Selecting a single platform for your app gives you a better development experience. After you are done, you can develop for other mobile app platforms, as well.

Regarding mobile platform statistics, Android has the largest share of the market, with about 80% userbase. Android is great for broad targeting. The remaining 20% uses that use iOS are mostly elite with high spending capabilities. This means that deploying your app on iOS can possibly bring you more short-term revenue.

Take the time to understand the benefits and demerits of both platforms and choose the one that serves your business objectives better. Bear in mind that publishing your app on iOS required more money, time, and hassles compared to Android

Design your app before coding

I recommend that you design the app look before you start developing the code. The application wireframe is a simple skeletal framework sketch of the application that displays the way the finished product would look. On the other hand, mockup adds animated pictures and colors to the wireframe, so it seems more like the end product.  The prototype gives the user access to interact with the features of the app, such as clicking objects and the likes.


The benefit of handling the design aspect of the project before coding is that it helps you achieve your vision for the app visuals. The developers can simply follow the lead of the visual guideline to write codes to make the various visual features functional. So, it helps save time and development costs. Moreover, the procedure of creating the wireframe, mockup, and prototype enables you to learn and fine-tune several aspects of the application before you start coding. Below are four crucial reasons why the design aspect of your app development project should come before coding.

  • It’s a fulfilling experience as your app dreams unfold to reality before your eyes.
  • Changes are more easy to implement in designs compared to editing codes.
  • You can use a DIY approach to create the design without hiring professional designers.
  • Hiring professional designers is quite cheaper than hiring developers that can cost up to $200/hour.

Use App Templates

Templates will save you time, effort, and money! Avoid coding all the app features and start from a ready-to-use template. There are pretty good options in the market. The prices vary from $25 to thousands of dollars depending on the quality and features of the template. Please take a look at the page below to find out some amazing templates.

App Templates

Start Working on your App Backend

It is crucial to note that the coding aspect of the app development should start with the backend. Although users interact with an app through the frontend, the functions that control the way apps work are backend processes. Vital processes such as business rules, data storage, and retrieval, and handling API calls all take place at the backend.

You can choose to start coding your backend from scratch or depend on Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers for handling your backend development hassles.

The Benefits of Using BaaS

Here are a few benefits your business can derive from using BaaS for your backend development.

  • The app development cycle becomes shorter because the tasks of backend development have been designated to the BaaS provider. So, you can complete your app development faster.
  • The cost of development is reduced significantly. All that is required is to configure the backend to suit your app requirements.
  • The cost and hassles of getting backend infrastructure in place are no longer required. The BaaS service provider supplies the server infrastructure.

The leading Backend as a service options or your app development project include:

  • Back4app
  • Parse
  • AWS Amplify

The Benefits of using a custom backend

The major advantage of using a custom backend is that it gives the developer more flexibility to customize the backend features. However, it takes a longer time to get the backend up and running, and the cost is significantly higher compared to BaaS. This means that the time to market for your app becomes substantially longer.

Coding the Frontend

The most crucial aspect of frontend development is to enhance aesthetics, ease of use, and functionality. A clean and attractive interface for your app will attract the user to download and use your app. The options for frontend development include selecting from Native, Web, or Hybrid approach to developing your mobile application.

Native apps use the core features of the operating system and often interact with the hardware components of the device. These apps can work offline and do have superior visuals compared to the other two.

Web apps do not access the hardware feature of the mobile device, it is easier to develop and costs less. However, internet connectivity is often required for it to function, and do have limited features compared to native apps.

Lastly, hybrid apps are a type of native apps that has an integrated web browser.  It has the advantage of streamlined development, cross-platform support, cost-efficient development, and works without internet connectivity. Hybrid apps provide the app user with an excellent experience.

Create an App Landing Page

Those who want to know how to make an app like Airbnb should realize that it’s not all about the app alone, you also need a landing page for your app. The landing page is where you hype your app to the ideal audience. It tells the users what your app is all about and the value it being to the life of its users. A carefully crafted landing page increases the credibility of your brand and brings you more app downloads.

Get your Analytics in Place

Your app is not just a nifty piece of code. It’s an interface to your business, so you have to treat it as such. Just like every other business, there is a need to measure performance by accessing business data and creating insights from them. An analytics dashboard is what you need to obtain valuable insight into your app performance. It shows you where your app users come from and the way they interact with your app. This data helps you know how to improve your app as you roll out future updates.

Publish Your App

If you have carefully followed the steps outlined until this point, you should be ready to launch your app to the world. Don’t forget you need to handle legal issues such as drafting a Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for your app. You can hire a lawyer to write to a document for you or purchase a template and customize it for your app. Login to your developers’ accounts on Google Play or Apple Store to publish your app.  The procedure is not complicated. However, you can publish apps faster on the Play Store compared to the Apple Apps Store which takes time to review apps before publishing them.

In Conclusion

In spite of following this excellent guide, you need to add innovations to your app and services to have an edge in your industry. Travel apps are a hot niche, and the competition is tight. That is why you must add unique features so your app can stand out from the crowd. With that in mind, nothing stops you from competing favorably with industry leaders such as Airbnb.

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