Ultimate Guide to Start a Business like Airbnb

Today’s travelers no longer search for hotel rooms, instead, they crave for a more authentic experience during their travel, both personal and professional. While an immersive travel experience was very expensive previously, Airbnb has opened the doors for sustainable accommodations for anyone, not just for the wealthiest of us. Over the past 10 years, Airbnb has become one of the most popular and profitable rental marketplaces that provide vacation rental services worldwide. But what makes it unique, successful, and revolutionary? What business does Airbnb use to make a profit? What is an efficient way to start a successful hospitality business like Airbnb?

In this post, we are going to discuss how this peer-peer marketplace stands out from the rest, and how to build a website like Airbnb.

How does Airbnb work?

Airbnb has created an innovative solution for travelers across the world to find comfortable accommodations that are diverse, authentic, local, inclusive, and secure. Instead of simply providing accommodations to travelers, Airbnb strives to create an experience that people will cherish throughout their lives.

Airbnb has leveraged technology to allow over 150 millions travelers around the world to enjoy suitable accommodations, and people to monetize their space to become hospitality hosts.

The business model of Airbnb

First and foremost, Airbnb solves a common problem. The business model of Airbnb is created for a mass market to connect as a community through tailored experiences in a unique way. A major advantage of starting an Airbnb website is that your business doesn’t have to own any rental properties. Instead, it acts as a platform that facilitates interactions between hosts and travelers.

It is free to create an account for both users, but the platform charges a commission fee for hosting (3%) and renting (6-12%) from each booking. Airbnb works in such a way that all bookings and monetary transactions take place on the Airbnb website itself.

How to create a website like Airbnb?

The Airbnb business is set to continue growing at a fast pace in 2020. Here is a short guide to creating your Airbnb platform and you will be on your way to riches even before you realize it.

Follow basic design principles

The first thing people see when visiting websites like Airbnb is its design. Many businesses don’t invest in top quality and attractive design as they think that the functionality and conversion aspects must be given more importance. Airbnb itself abides by two key principles- Designing for everyone and designing for trust. Implement a simple yet intuitive design that helps users find the rentals easily.

Also, make sure you emphasize the strong points of your platform to gain a competitive advantage in the industry. Additionally, build an easy and efficient user flow that allows your customers to list and purchase the desired accommodation in a few steps.

Clearly define the features and functionalities

When you create a peer-peer rental platform like Airbnb, it is important to differentiate between the core features and additional features of the system.

As the Airbnb platform has two users (exclusive of the admin) Hosts and travelers), we will discuss the functionalities required for both sides. It is worth noting that the most complex part of development lies in implementing the host’s features.

  • Signup and authorization

Airbnb platform has 2 user groups- Hosts and guests. The former creates their accommodation listings that the latter can view and book. The authentication feature in an Airbnb platform allows users to change their roles anytime. For example, a host who has created a listing can also book other rentals when traveling to another city and looking for accommodations.

  • User profiles

Users must be able to create a user profile and modify the information easily and conveniently. For example, if they might want to adjust their settings like email id, password, phone numbers, etc.

user profiles airbnb

  • Listings

Hosts can list their properties on the Airbnb platform and specify the detailed information of the accommodation including, location type, and pictures.

  • Map integration

The functionality of integrating maps allows travelers to navigate to the accommodation. It also acts as a sorting system to search around the location and get a quick property preview of all the details like name and price. Additionally, the algorithm shows you the most popular accommodations based on the views and visits.

  • Messaging system

An in-app communication system allows both travelers and hosts to discuss things like delays, cancellations, number of guests, arrival time, etc. This is a critical feature as it allows to establish trust between two user groups.

  • Booking system

When travelers look for accommodations, they want to check the availability of it for a particular date. When a user makes a booking, the host receives a notification and decides either to accept or decline the booking. This makes the vacation rental marketplace more flexible.

  • Push notification system

Push notifications allow both hosts and travelers to get notifications and immediately shift to a particular web page. It works this way- a user gets a notification, clicks on it, and immediately gets redirected to a particular page. This not only accelerates processes but also boosts user experience to a great extent. This also allows both user groups of Airbnb to stay up-to-date with the things happening on the platform.

  • Online payment system

Set up a full-fledged online payment system that makes it easy for both travelers and hosts to make and accept payment for the services. This system comes handy for travelers, secure for hosts, and offers a business model for the admin who can charge a commission from each transaction that takes place on the platform.

  • Delaying payments until the transaction ends

This feature is critical to the smooth functioning of your Airbnb platform. The platform must make sure the providers offer the service promised and guests pay the agreed price for the accommodation. The best way to ensure this is to hold funds until the delivery of the service.

  • Review system

Airbnb platforms function based on the trust between strangers who indulge in business with each other. Each user will have their own profile with their real name and pictures. Hosts will also have the details of their property listed out along with the license details. Both guests and hosts can leave reviews to each other after the transaction.

booking system airbnb

  • Customer support

This is yet another important feature that allows both hosts and guests to enjoy 24/7 access to community support to solve the issues if any.

Apart from these general features, you also need to consider additional features. Let’s have a brief look at them.

  • Comparison of various accommodations
  • 360 virtual accommodation tour
  • Advanced filters

Choose the solution type

When it comes to building websites like Airbnb, there are two options to choose from.

While both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, it all depends on your business preferences and needs.

Building from scratch

Building the Airbnb website from scratch is an elaborate, time consuming, and costly way. The range of technologies and functionalities you use on your website will define the length of the process and the costs.

Building an Airbnb clone

If you want to start your Airbnb website in a matter of days at an affordable price using a white label Airbnb script is a pretty great choice. Airbnb clone scripts are ready-made scripts or ready to deploy programs to create a vacation rental marketplace like Airbnb with all functionalities.

You can either choose a customizable or non-customizable template to create your own Airbnb platform with similar features and functionalities. It is recommended to customize your Airbnb website as you should not try to exactly copy what Airbnb has done. Instead, you must understand your own target market and fulfill the needs of your audience.

Cost to build a website like Airbnb?

The cost to build an Airbnb website depends on your project requirements and can vary greatly depending on the features you choose to implement and a lot of other factors. Talking about the cost to build a website like Airbnb, building it from scratch is the most expensive way to create your own vacation rental platform. If you want to build your Airbnb platform in a cost-efficient way, using an Airbnb clone script can save a significant amount of time, effort, and money.

Also, it is definitely a lot easier than hiring a whole team of developers to develop your website. The cost to build an Airbnb website from scratch can range anywhere between $50,000-$100,000 and more. Whereas, the cost of Airbnb scripts just comes around $1000-$2000.


As the number of millennials choosing vacation rentals over hotels increases, more businesses are investing in peer-peer rental marketplaces to build websites like Airbnb. Not just vacation rentals, you can develop peer-peer rental platforms for cars, bikes, clothing, decorations, and what not? So what are you waiting for? Invest in an efficient and cost-effective solution to create your Airbnb platform to launch a successful business venture in 2020.

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