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Innowise is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1600+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.
About us
Innowise is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.

The cost of developing an app like Airbnb

Air Bed and Breakfast is one of the leading vacation rental services aggregators possessing a more than 20% market share of the industry. It gives people a decent alternative to sometimes overwhelmingly expensive hotels while being a source of secondary (or sometimes even primary) income for others. Brief numbers: more than 4 million hosts in over 100,000 cities worldwide hold more than 6 million listings. The application serves 150 million people worldwide, bringing each host an average annual income of 13,800 dollars. A robust and reliable app like Airbnb can be expensive to create. Local products are increasing in demand and must meet high functionality, security, and user experience standards to match their well-established competition. Building such a product entails a fairly significant investment in resources – both financially and technologically.  It is possible to estimate the cost of developing an app like Airbnb through analysis of development labor estimations, technology selection, and understanding the additional layers of complexity within quality assurance testing of the product. All these elements are necessary to successfully build an app that can compete with market giants like Airbnb. Let’s see what you will need to develop an app like Airbnb and how much it will cost.

About Airbnb

We’ve already mentioned the raw numbers above. But let’s see what’s under the bonnet that led Airbnb to such an overwhelming success.

Generally speaking, we might say that it’s a peer-to-peer accommodation rental marketplace operated by web and mobile applications. Anything where users can get accommodated, from a room in the suburbs to a yacht, can be seen there.

If we look at the business model, Airbnb is a middleware between those who have spare apartments for a short time and those who want to stay somewhere other than hotels. As a mediator, such businesses can earn from both host and visitor service fees. That’s possible without any need to own any residential area at all since accommodation is provided by users.

Competitors

While Airbnb is a popular choice for travelers looking for an affordable and comfortable stay, there are several competitors that offer an alternative. For example, Expedia offers vacation rentals in addition to its hotel bookings, and homestay.com provides services for budget travelers with hosts who open their homes to guests. Booking.com also has a range of options, such as apartments and villas. Companies like FlipKey have custom pricing plans that allow owners to adjust nightly rates while still benefiting from secure payments and customer service support. All these competing services offer a degree of variety and convenience comparable to Airbnb’s platform, allowing customers to find a place that meets their needs when traveling abroad.

developing an app like Airbnb

Features

As for Airbnb features, virtually any accommodation booking app is similar since such big companies are trendsetters when it comes to functionality and UI.

So, let’s see which features such products usually possess.

Core features

Sign up/Login

When approaching the application for the first time, a person needs to create an account.

Usually, this feature provides users with the necessary information like Terms and Conditions that must be accepted to proceed. Also, there should be a popular option of creating an account via popular social media accounts.

Users will need to enter their account credentials or use their social media to log in on subsequent interactions with the application.

For more user security, we recommend adding such features as two-factor authentication, password reset, and logging out on all devices.

Profile

Both visitors and hosts need profiles to interact with each other. These profiles should have an avatar, a description, contact information, and hidden personal information like payment details, sex, and date of birth.

Search

The search engine is the feature that users will interact with most often. Thus, it should be user-friendly and versatile.

It should possess a wide variety of filters for more precise results. This includes country, city, and desired availability dates. Also, such products might benefit from introducing machine learning solutions like recommender systems. By utilizing such tools, travel apps can bring more personalized results to each individual.

Listings

Listings are some sort of product cards created by hosts. They represent the apartment they’re lending and include such information as the detailed description, address, price for one night, pictures of the apartment, etc.

Favorites

Favorites allow users to quickly find their favorite accommodations by adding them to a separate page.

develop an app like Airbnb

Chat

A chat between a visitor and a host is a tool that allows clarifying various nuances not described in the listing.

Moreover, users should be able to send and receive media files if questions regarding the apartment arise.

Reviews

Users should be able to leave feedback on the particular housing or host. The most common way of implementing this feature is by a 1 to 5-star grade with optional text backing.

Payment system

The most reliable form of booking is paying in advance. For this purpose, the app should be able to process online payments.

Something extra

To add some extra flavor and comfort for users, such products sometimes have the following features accompanying the core ones:

  • Push notifications for timely updates on the accommodation and payment statuses, new incoming messages, and announcements.
  • Weather forecast for the target location might bring excellent user experience by assisting in choosing the right outfit.
  • Currency converter will allow visitors to see how much the foreign apartment will cost in their national currency.
  • Built-in translator will erase the language barrier between the visitor and the host from different countries.
  • In-app navigation will allow visitors to find the best route to their place of stay without the need for switching to maps.
  • Loyalty programs will attract new users and retain existing ones while encouraging them to use your product more often.
  • Third-party service integrations will make users’ journeys even more comfortable. Such products can partner with taxi services, bike rentals, scooter sharing companies, restaurants, and more.

How to monetize

Such a large amount of features will require a lot of effort put into development, but we’ll talk about this a bit later.

Let’s now see how to make revenue from such accommodation booking applications.

Service fees

We’ve already mentioned above that such products as Air Bed and Breakfast charge both hosts and visitors a certain percentage of the transaction as service fees.

Despite looking unfair, both user types are willing to pay such commissions since the product doesn’t charge any astonishing amounts for assistance in booking while keeping things simple and effective. Also, all the fees from the visitor’s side are usually preliminarily included in the accommodation cost.

Advertisements

The application can also benefit from placing ads into the UI. If they are not disturbing and useless, most users will be willing to see them for the sake of relatively cheap yet good service.

Such ads can be simply target advertisements or more complicated recommendations of some local businesses depending on the user’s destination.

Also, promoted listings that show particular apartments over others can be related to ads.

Collateral services

By creating in-house teams or partnering with local services, a travel booking app can also make a profit.

It can include literally anything from taxi service to professional photography for better apartment promotion or cleaning service.

develop Airbnb

Developing the app

It’s eventually the point at which you should clearly understand whether you want to opt for travel app development or not.

Let’s dive deep into what’s needed for airbnb like app development.

Tech stack

The technologies used in Airbnb development and maintenance are no secret. They’re stored in public GitHub repositories and stackshare.

As we can see, there are lots of various technologies and tools. Let’s point out the major ones.

  • Air Bed and Breakfast is built on the Ruby on Rails framework
  • It uses majorly Ruby and ReactJS programming languages
  • The web server is operated by Nginx
  • Cloud technologies include Amazon S3, EBS, RDS, EC2, and Redis
  • Among data management tools we can point out Hadoop, Airflow, Presto, Druid, Airpal

These technologies will be enough to create an MVP of the product. Several mobile (Android and iOS) developers will be needed afterward, or they can be replaced by a team of Flutter developers to decrease the cost of travel mobile app development significantly.

Team composition

Developing an Airbnb-like application is a complex task that needs a comprehensive approach.

As a travel app development company with extensive experience, we suggest having a team of at least

  • 1 Business Analyst
  • 1 Project Manager
  • 1 UI/UX Designer
  • 1 or 2 Android Developers
  • 1 or 2 iOS Developers
  • 2 Back-End Developers
  • 1 Data Engineer
  • 1 or 2 Front-End Developers
  • 1 DevOps Engineer
  • 1 QA Engineer
  • 1 Automation QA Engineer

To cut project costs and increase the development speed, you can replace Android, iOS, and front-end developers with a team of 3 or 4 Flutter developers that will build a cross-platform application.

Costs

Let’s presume that the project team consists of the specialists mentioned above.

If we check the average USA rates and assume that the MVP will be completed in around two months, we will see the following picture:

  • UI/UX design will cost around $13,000;
  • backend development will cost around $25,000;
  • mobile applications (iOS and Android) will take around $43,000;
  • web application will cost around $20,000;
  • you will need $14,000 for quality assurance;
  • data engineering will drag another $21,000 from the budget;
  • operational units like project management and business analysis will cost around $27,000.

So, the overall cost of MVP development for such an application in the United States will be $163,000. We can replace web and mobile developers with Flutter devs to cut some costs and will receive the final cost of $120,000.

By choosing a software development services provider from Eastern Europe, businesses benefit from receiving world-class services at more reasonable prices. On average, the expenses are reduced by roughly 17-20%. So, the all-native development performed by a software development company from Eastern Europe will cost around $134,000, and the Flutter-based cross-platform version will cost $100,000 dollars.

You can contact us if you wish to create a local application that will replace Airbnb in the region. We will dive deep into your project idea, analyze it, and give you a precise estimation of travel app development time and cost.

FAQ

The first step is to conduct thorough market research to understand user needs, preferences, and competition in the travel and hospitality industry.

Implement robust security measures such as data encryption, secure authentication, regular security audits, and compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR.

Essential features include user profiles, property listings, booking and payment systems, messaging, reviews, and a search/filter functionality.

Yes, customer support is crucial. You can offer in-app chat support, a knowledge base, and a dedicated support team to assist users.

Utilize digital marketing, social media advertising, SEO, and partnerships with influencers or travel bloggers to promote your app effectively.

The timeline can vary, but it often takes several months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the app and the team’s size.

Examples include Vrbo, Booking.com, HomeAway, and TripAdvisor. Remember that the development process can be complex, so it’s essential to plan thoroughly and seek expert guidance when necessary.

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