Airbnb’s revenue stood at a whopping $5.99 billion in 2021 despite the covid pandemic.

The vacation rental industry, where Airbnb is a dominant player, is valued at a jaw-dropping 74.64 billion in 2021.

So, it’s the best time to make your move if you’re planning to build a vacation rental app like Airbnb.

But building an Airbnb-like app is not easy. It’s not impossible either.

This blog will share everything you need to know – from costs to features- about building a highly scalable app like Airbnb from scratch.

Let’s get started.

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A Complete Guide to Mobile App Development

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a platform that connects property owners with guests looking for accommodation. The founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, created a website that allowed people to book their home in San Francisco. Their MVP was just a simple website. The duo hosted a couple of guests and offered them breakfast.

Today, Airbnb is among the top brands in the vacation rental sector, with over 150 million customers across the globe.

Fascinating stats about Airbnb

Let’s look at how much Airbnb has achieved since its inception in 2008.

  • Over 150 million users
  • More than 1 billion bookings
  • 6 million global listings in 100,000 cities across the world
  • On average, a host on Airbnb earns more than 13,000 US dollars
  • 6 guests check in every second
  • Airbnb comprises 19% of the overall demand for lodging in the United States
  • About 50% of the people like to stay on Airbnb than in traditional hotels
  • The total revenue of Airbnb in 2021 is 5.99 billion
  • Valued at $113 billion in 2021
  • 66,000 listings in the US and 100,000+ listings in Europe

Airbnb business model

There are two different sides involved in the Airbnb business model.

  • Host – People willing to list their property on Airbnb for rent/lease.
  • Guest – People searching for an affordable place to stay for a certain period during their travel or visit.

Now let’s understand the working model of Airbnb.

First, a host lists their property on Airbnb. The listing contains every detail about the property – pricing, photos of amenities, rules and regulations, nearest attractions and more.

The guests can filter the properties according to their preferences and book a place that fits their needs by making a partial or complete payment.

The host or property owner will get notified of the booking. Airbnb receives a commission on each transaction.

Earlier, the hosts had to take photos for their listing. Now Airbnb provides an option for hosts to hire their professional photographers stationed in different cities worldwide.

Must-have features for an app like Airbnb

Here is the list of basic features needed for a three-sided app like Airbnb.

Guest side

      • Guest signup & log in
      • Profile creation
      • Calendar
      • Search bar with filters for location, price and features
      • Recommendation based on location
      • Request for stay
      • Confirmation and tracking of request
      • Secured payment options
      • Review features
      • Account management
      • Wishlist
      • Chatbox
      • Customer care
      • Cancellation feature
      • Sharing option

Host side

      • Signup/Login
      • Creating a profile
      • Account management
      • Calendar
      • Content addition features for properties
      • Booking list
      • Request portal and confirmation option
      • Chatbox
      • Push Notifications
      • Account details for accepting payments
      • Review for property

Admin side

      • Dashboard
      • Listing management
      • Booking history
      • Customer service
      • Complete insights

Once you have listed all the features, you can move on to the actual development of your app.

SUGGESTED READ: Here are some key statistics for you before developing an app like airbnb

Tech stack needed to build an app like Airbnb

Before starting the actual development, you will need a proficient team to get better results faster. Your team members include:

      • Android developers
      • iOS developers
      • Business Analyst
      • Project manager
      • Back end developers
      • Front end developers
      • UI/UX designers
      • Quality analyst
      • Marketing team

After confirming your requirements,  you have can either outsource your project or create an in-house team.

Let’s get started with the app development process.

App development process


Research plays a crucial role in your app development project. Understand your audience, competitors and more for creating a high-converting app.

You can use online surveys or interviews with your target audience for more precise research results.

Do some good research to:

      • Understand the demography of your audience
      • Clearly understand your competitors
      • Know your market size
      • Clearly state the USP of your product
      • Estimate the project cost
      • Understand the locations you are planning to cover

Design your app

Many apps fail due to their poor design and user experience.

When designing your app, focus on the colour code, fonts, elements and transitions from one page to another. Improve these factors for a seamless user experience.

An actionable strategy is to create a prototype or a video beforehand to see what your design looks like.

You can get started with a simple paper sketch or create a digital prototype to get a preview of your app.

Create your app

Before getting started with development. You should know the type of app you want to build. There are two types of apps: Native apps and cross-platform apps.

A native app is only compatible with a single platform, while a cross-platform app works across multiple platforms.

For example, an app that works only on Android or iOS is native, while the one that is compatible with multiple platforms like Android and iOs falls under the category of cross-platform app. A hybrid app platform reduces your development time as you can reuse the code.

Front-end development

The front-end development of the app ensures smooth onboarding and a hassle-free user experience. The clean and impressive front end is needed to attract more customers and regain your initial customers.

You can use programming languages like Javascript, Kyle, or Swift along with front-end frameworks Angular, React.js, Vue.js, and Express.js.

Ensure you have a good UI/UX design for a better user experience.

Back-end development

Even though the user interacts with the front end, all the app’s working happens in the backend development. The data storage, API calls, and retrievals are processed in the backend.

Most commonly used backend technologies are,

      • Ruby on Rails
      • Django
      • Node.js

Server-side technologies

      • Amazon web services
      • Openstack
      • Google Cloud
      • Azure


Once you complete developing your app, you should ensure you go through all the testing to ensure the good working of your app.

Testing plays a crucial role in app success; even a small hacking will lead to losing years of work.

Mobile app testing checklist

      • Usability testing
      • Security testing
      • Performance testing
      • Speed testing
      • Compatibility testing
      • Installation testing
      • Interruption testing

Once you complete your testing, you can deploy the app on the app platforms like Play Store, App Store, etc.

Market your app

Here comes the next work of taking your app into the palm of your target audience. You can use both traditional marketing and digital marketing.

Some most used strategies to market your app are,

      • Social media marketing
      • SEO optimisation
      • Traditional marketing – Newspaper ads, TV commercials, Billboards
      • Creating content on websites
      • Apply for app awards
      • Give referral bonus
      • Host giveaways
      • Create internal app user competitions
      • Offer discounts
      • Encourage customer rating on other digital platforms

Read in-depth of more app marketing strategies here.


Once you enter the market, you need continuous updates and maintenance of your app to win in the long run. Collect customer feedback and act upon it to rectify the issues in the upcoming updates.

Since an app like Airbnb needs a continuous update on the calendar, availability of listings and payments, you need to do testing parallelly to ensure all goes well.

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

Now comes the cost to build an app like Airbnb; you need developers, designers, testers and more to build an app. So the development cost will be more based on the team and the expertise you seek.

If you are hiring more experienced and highly skilled developers, you may need to pay them good. Also, the critical factors that determine the cost of building an app like Airbnb are the features you will include in the guest, host and admin panels. The more the features and the higher will be your cost.

You have three different options when you build an app. Hire your developers and designers; hire freelancers or outsource your development path to a product development company.

The hourly rates for the developers will vary based on the country and their coding skills.

Developer’s country Hourly rates/Per hour
USA/Canada $50-$250
UK $20-$170
Australia $50-$150
India $10-$80

Try to develop an MVP and iteratively add more features to create your market fit app will be a great choice.

How can NeoITO help you build an app like Airbnb?

Building a mobile application like Airbnb and scaling it into a million-dollar business requires a lot of determination, patience and effort. But it is possible, and we have a pioneer. You can learn from the mistakes Airbnb made and avoid them.

NeoITO has expertise in creating world-class software products. We can help you with creating scalable MVPs, product development, data science services with AI and ML and enhanced cloud services.

At NeoITO, we use new technologies like Next.js, AI, etc., to ensure high-quality and future-ready products.

When you have a big dream like Airbnb, there are many ways you can start small and go big. Make sure you select an appropriate team to develop your app.

Still having doubts about developing your app, you can contact any product development company to guide you from the research to deployment and even maintenance.

Dream big, start small and achieve large.

Want to bring your Airbnb-like app idea to life? Get in touch with us and get a FREE consultation.

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