Last Updated on January 21, 2022

With many travel apps like Airbnb, it has become convenient for people to buy tickets, book accommodations, or compare prices with just a few taps on their smartphones. And this is the reason behind the growing popularity of the online travel industry. As per Statista, in 2019, online travel sales worldwide saw a significant increase with 755.94 billion U.S. dollars.

Hence, this is turning out to be a good investment option for people willing to make a mark in the travel industry. If you are looking to create an app like Airbnb, read further as we unveil several aspects of travel app development in this article.

As it comes to travel apps, it is Airbnb that is doing a marvelous job. Hence it can be beneficial to look into the working of Airbnb, and this is how we begin this article by exploring a little more about Airbnb and its workings. So, let’s start.

What Is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a travel service that provides a platform for renting options for apartments across the world. This service offers amazing marketplaces for landowners & short-term rentals/lodging seekers. Hence, when you make an app like Airbnb, you provide an online platform to your users, tying people looking to rent out their holiday homes with people in need of accommodation.

The concept of Airbnb is so thrilling that it entirely changed how people look for flats, as with Airbnb, they get such attractive offers. For instance, when travelers are flying overseas and renting a private room from a local family, they get to experience a comfortable, homely feeling like Airbnb. They get a taste of cultural immersions. They can experience an authentic feel of that place and neighborhood.

This peer-to-peer online marketplace enables people to enlist/rent short-term or long-term stays in the residential property. Hence, mainly Airbnb acts as a broker who helps people lease any accommodation place for people looking to book it privately. Today, Airbnb is working in around 191 countries, and the listing consists of 650,000 accommodation places across 81000 cities. Hence, everyone looking to rent an apartment, a room, a villa or a cottage, or even a whole property do it on Airbnb.

However, Airbnb is not restricted to simply booking rooms, as the users can even book a suite, a yacht, a houseboat, or even a whole apartment.

Due to its simplicity, both the hosts (the property owners) and the guests (booking the accommodation) can use the Airbnb app. Hence, when creating an app like Airbnb, keep these aspects in mind to keep the design user-friendly and pay attention to every development process step.

How Does Airbnb Work?

How Airbnb works for Travelers/Guests? This platform typically works with two panels – guests and landlords (host). The service offers many functionalities to its users, and to create an app like Airbnb, it is better to understand its workings. Here we explain:

Start by visiting the Airbnb app or web version. Signup or login as a visitor with the email addresses/social media accounts. Next, it is time to create a profile by providing important information for authentication, like names, profile picture, ID number, living address, and more.

Then search & select the place you desire to live in using various filters, like venue, type of room, price, etc. Once selected, place a request and book that accommodation for a stay. A confirmation would be received via SMS notifications & push notifications. Payment can be made via different payment gateways, such as Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Google Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. Now just travel and enjoy the stay.

How Airbnb Works for Tenants?

Head to Airbnb mobile or web app, and complete the registration as a host from the social networks. The next step is registering property details on the Airbnb app and providing accommodation specifications like profile picture, venue, type of apartment, number of guests, and more. Pictures of the apartment are uploaded with the help of professional Airbnb photographers and time to set a price. When travelers request the service, deal directly, discussing details such as hygienic standards, quiet hours, etc. Approve or reject stay requests at your convenience. Once the request is approved and the guest checks in, payment is received within 24 hours.

Few Amazing Airbnb Statistics for 2021

Company value of Airbnb worldwide from 2016 to 2020
Company value of Airbnb worldwide from 2016 to 2020

Established in 2008, the app presently has more than 150 million active users across the world. As a traveler, one gets to choose from 650,000 hosts around the globe. Airbnb has hosted from more than 81,000 cities and 191 nations. By 2019, the value of Airbnb across the world was $38 billion, and by the year 2020, the revenue had reached $8.5 billion.

Why Invest in Vacation Rental App like Airbnb?

There has been constant talk about the saturation in the vacation rental niche. However, even a giant like Airbnb is presently owing just 10-15% of the vacation rental market. And this leaves 40-50% of the market for the other businesses to create Airbnb-like app. Hence, there is enough space for another unicorn to make a mark in the travel industry. So, if you are willing to make a mark in this arena, this is the best time to make the grand entry in the travel market with a high-performing app able to make the customers happy.

When an app like Airbnb is developed, even in its simplest form, the app will enable the hosts to list their properties and the travelers to search the properties as per the location. The app allows travelers to book property and make an online payment.

Business Model of Airbnb


Top Rivals of Airbnb Vacation Rental App



This app, like Airbnb, is a holiday aggregator for the holidays having 17 million vacation properties listed from all the central locations, including Western & Eastern Europe. HomeToGo offers customer service to the guests and hosts in eight languages like English, Russian, Polish, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, and German. It has more than 500,000 total downloads, and the features consist of: Profile verification, Search results, Compare prices, Filter option, Save favorites, Property listings, Booking requests, etc.



This famous holiday home rental marketplace has more than 300,000 vacation rentals by Rv owners worldwide. Its features consist of Check-in & check-out, Property profile & data storage, Search & filter, Free-to-list option, Payment gateway, Instant booking services, User profile information. Flipkey offers this innovative concept of a pay-per-booking pricing platform for its guests, which suggests that only once the users have a reservation are they required to pay.



This is a hospitality company offering the finest stays. Its USP is the luxury stays for the guests who give value to exceptional quality homes and experiences in their chosen destinations. Here, travelers can choose from their 5000 unique homes, chalets, and villas in 50 destinations across the globe.



Similar to Airbnb, the app offers its users to check and find accommodations from around 2 million exclusive locations in 191 countries, covering 65,000 cities for both hosts and guests. With more than 1,000,000 total downloads, the app’s main features consist of search filter, browse & search capabilities, user profile information, virtual assistant, photos & reviews, property descriptions, book & pay, 24 hours service, in-app payment modes, in-app messaging feature, share tips with friends.

This app offers more than 27 million accommodation options all across the globe, managing a lot of travel inventory, same as TripAdvisor. However, this app specializes in accommodation. There are a number of online travel businesses that are owned by, including Cheapflights, Agoda,, Priceline, and Kayak. It has more than 1,00,000,000 downloads with features including Hotel comparison, signup, deals & discounts, in-app payment, hotel reviews, booking sites request, and accommodation search functionality.

Monetization Opportunities Offered by Vacation Rental Mobile App

Commissions from the Hosts

The hosts are charged a 3% service fee for each completed booking procedure as a commission. Guests are paying a non-refundable service fee based on the type of listing with a maximum of 6 to 12%.

Transaction fee from Travelers

The app receives a fee on the transaction made by the traveler when they choose to book an accommodation listed on the app. This happens to be an effective revenue model.

Property Listing fee

As you choose to list a number of properties on your app, that again, you receive a fee, and this is called “Property Listing fee.” Furthermore, an easy means to earn revenues.

Advertisement Sales

When the app chooses to publish advertisements from other brands, it paves the way for revenue with advertisement sales.

Property Verification Fee

A fee is acquired by property owners for verification of the ownership of the property.

Property Photography Fee

Airbnb relies on very high-quality photographs and pictures taken by professionals increase the chance of a room or property being booked. So, one can pay a certain sum to get their property photographed.

Promoted Listings

Apart from the general listings, one can take their listing to the top based on location and categories by paying for the sponsored listings.

Key Features of Vacation Rental Apps Like Airbnb

There are mainly three panels involved,

  • House/Property Panel
  • Traveller Guest Panel
  • Admin Panel
vacation rental app features

House/Property Panel

Log-in: The hosts can log-in to the app using their email addresses and social network profiles.

Profile: The hosts can edit personal information such as mobile numbers and email addresses in this functionality.

Types of activities: Here, the hosts can choose whether they would like to provide the guests with some great experiences in the city or simply an accommodation.

Listing: Here, the house owner can make a detailed description regarding the accommodation they are offering, the number of guests they would be able to accommodate, good quality pictures, sleeping arrangements, and address. They can also describe the kind of experience they provide their guests, their language, and their location.

Reviews: The profile of the house owner should consist of reviews from the previous guests and the host rating.

Guest Panel Features

Log-in/Sign-up: Apps like Airbnb ask for email addresses for creating a new user account. And then, to make the log-in procedure way more seamless, the app must consist of log-in via social profiles, such as Google+ or Facebook.

Manage account: User profile must consist of the phone number, name, birth date, and address.

Search: From here, travelers can choose the destination and room of their choice.

Filters: To help users find the perfect staying place, the Airbnb app allows to select filters, like Home-type, Guests, Geolocation, and more.

Favorites: This feature enables the app users to make a list of apartments they like while browsing through the app.

Messages: Often, travelers are keen to receive additional information from the hosts regarding the place they want to stay.

Notifications: This feature allows the guests to receive instant alerts regarding booking confirmation/new messages from the app hosts.

Calendar: Having a calendar integrated into the app allows travelers to pick desirable dates for booking.

Reviews: In this section, the guests can tell the other travelers about the experience of their stay, which is mainly essential for the new travel mobile apps.

Experience: This is more of a recent feature updated in the Airbnb app, allowing guests to book activities or entertainment that their hosts provide. For instance, the travelers can learn to cook authentic Thai curry in Thailand, attend Tomatina Festival in Spain, or book an elephant tour in India. This allows the tourists to have a close experience with the culture and traditions of foreign countries.

Admin Panel Features

Dashboard: This functionality enables the system administrators to control the outsourcing firms’ operations & microservices. The admin can quickly check service requests on a single page with required details, like, name, time, a payment system for the travel destinations.

Manually Assign Requests: Using this functionality, the admin can manually delegate service requests on behalf of customers to the delivery driver/service provider from the admin panel.

Fare Project Management: This feature enables the organization admin to handle service expenses in just a few clicks, enhancing scalability Reports: Here, the admin can review the full report of the company, as the total number of queries, participants, approved fees, service providers’ commission, user behavior & drivers.

Advance Features to Consider for Vacation Rental App

Social Logins/Sign-ups: This functionality can be pretty useful as users often dislike filling in long details to sign-up to an app, so they can register to the app using their social networking platforms.

Push Notifications: This feature is helpful to send instant alerts and notifications to app users. Like, as the guest makes a request, the house owner is instantly notified. Also, the hosts can be notified regarding booking changes, unchecked requests, and more.

Voice Assistance: The voice assistant is a hand-free help that can be greatly useful for an app like Airbnb, as the assistant can perform certain tasks and services without requiring human interference, such as take a phone call and answer general queries, book flight, tickets, hotel rooms, etc.

Weather Forecast: For an Airbnb-like app, weather forecast can be a crucial function as the users can look at the weather forecast and book their accommodation accordingly.

Currency Converter: This feature allows easily and quickly converting one currency to another using the latest live exchange rates. This way, the exchange rate for currencies can be calculated easily.

Language Assistance: This feature enables the app users to translate the descriptions into their mother tongue. Here a particular description is sent to Google Translator, where the translation process takes place. Next, the text is translated into the desired language, which bridges the gap between host and guest.

In-app Navigation: It is the feature that allows the clients to look through the location they desire to stay into search apartments, cafes, famous sights, etc. Here the guests can look for the ideal accommodation via a map as well. This functionality makes it relatively easy to search for accommodation if the guests want to stay at a particular place or a landmark not on the list.

In-app Chat & Calls: Once a stay is requested, the guest and host can then start a conversation to discuss all details of their stay. This is a convenient way for both the host and guest to connect whenever the need arises.

In-App Doc Management: To book a stay, several documents need to be exchanged between the guests and the hosts, and this in-app document management feature allows the convenient exchange of documents.

Advanced Analytics: Here, the admin will be able to keep an eye on the users’ actions with the app in real-time to find how they connect with the app and analyze how their experience with the app can be improved further.

CMS Integrations: Content Management System (CMS) Integration is useful to manage the content published on the app. This system checks out what the audience clicks, and accordingly, the content can be managed to ensure better user engagement.

Loyalty Programs: These programs are the way to keep the users loyally tied to the brand. The users are offered discounts and coupons as a gesture that you value their loyalty, which encourages them to continue the tie with the app.

Third-Party Service Integration

What Tech Stack is Required to Develop a Vacation Rental App like Airbnb?

airbnb mobile app tech stack
FrameworkRuby on Rails. RoR framework
Programming languagesRuby & javaScript
JavaScript frameworkReact
Webserver Nginx
Key-value storageRedis
Cloud storageAmazon S3, EBS
Cloud hostingAmazon EC2
Cloud databaseAmazon RDS
Big Data toolsPresto, Druid, Airpal

This is the tech stack for the Airbnb app. If you want to develop an app similar to this then you can choose the tech stack as per the features and functionalities you require. Also, you can take a look at our post on choosing a tech stack for mobile apps for more details.

Required App Development Team Structure for Vacation Rental App

The app development team for the development of an Airbnb-like app must have:

  • Project Manager
  • Android/iOS Developers
  • Back-end Developers
  • UX/UI Designers
  • Quality Analysis Testers

How Much Does It Cost To Create An App Like Airbnb?

There are a few factors influencing the cost of creating an Airbnb-like app, and here we have discussed them all:

Size of the development team: The team needs to consist of a project manager to closely administer the entire development process, a team of developers (both front-end and back-end), a team of UX/UI designers, and Quality Analysis experts.

The number of platforms: You can choose to go with a single platform, whether iOS or Android or both platforms to develop the app for. This decision can be made based on the target audience’s location, the device environment, etc. For instance, Android app development takes around 20-30% more time than iOS app development.

Complexity: It is your decision what range of features you desire within your app, so rate these features from simple to medium to high complexity. Now how long it takes the developers to implement these features affects the cost of the app.

App Design: If you use unique tools and visuals for your Airbnb-like app design, the app cost will go higher than when you keep the design standard.

As we discuss app features, keep in mind that the rough timing mentioned below cover all the stages of making a feature, from drawing logic to testing. The listed features can be simple and basic as well as additional and complex. So, here let’s discuss how much the cost will be to create an app like Airbnb.

Well, globally, the app price vary for developer hours, and here we have mentioned the average region hourly rates:

  • USA/Canada-based development teams: $50-$250/hour
  • Eastern Europe: $20-$150/hour
  • Western Europe: $30-$170/hour
  • Australia: $50-$150/hour
  • India: $10-$80/hour

Hence, to give a rough estimate, the cost to create an Airbnb-like app should cost around $25000-$30000 when creating a single platform with basic features. However, if choosing both iOS and Android platforms with advanced functionalities, then it directly doubles the cost and might take up to $50000-$60000.

The online travel industry is constantly growing, and this is why it could be highly profitable to invest in a travel app like Airbnb. So better not miss the chance and get geared up with the app development process.

Also, if you need professional assistance then get in touch with Emizentech an app development company providing services globally.

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CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.