Travel App Development: How to Make an App Like Airbnb

aTeam Soft Solutions October 12, 2020

Global Tourism is an ever-booming industry. It remains resilient, proving that it continues to grow its marketplace, with its strong growth statistics. The Travel Industry has always been a great contributor towards GDP and according to the report from the World Travel & Tourism Council, it contributed a total of 10.4% of the global GDP in 2019. Travel App Development demand economy has changed the perception of people regarding many things, including travel & hospitality, which has made the travel industry continue growing.

But what’s the first thing that comes in our minds when we think about travelling? It’s getting the lodging and boarding facilities at reasonable prices. And thanks to travel applications like Airbnb, which have made it all easier by allowing people to book accommodations, buy tickets, compare prices and get the best deals using smartphones or laptops!

In this article, we will discuss the stats and business model of Airbnb, required features, guidelines on how to build an app like Airbnb and what would be its cost.



How Does The Travel App Work?

Key Features To Build an App Like Airbnb

Advanced Features to Enhance Customer Experience

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App Like Airbnb?

App Development Process Milestone Plan


Airbnb is an online hospitality service provider, a booking portal, which offers vacation rentals and many other travel experiences. It lets you filter options according to your preferences, budget and convenience and book rentals across the globe. Its innovative approach and seamless experience have made it a huge success.

If you are planning to build an app similar to Airbnb, you need to understand its business model and functions. The business model is quite simple and works for both the people who want to rent their place and the people who are looking for accommodation. The app allows people to put in their details and get the available options according to their preferences!

Airbnb Business Model 

The business model works on the sharing economy and the app acts as a mediator for the service provider and seeker!

Travel App Development

How Does The Travel App Development Work?

Travel applications have two types of users – People who want to rent their places (Landlords or Hosts) and the people who are looking out for accommodation (Guests). The app is built with a two-sided marketplace tech stack and includes various functionalities for both the host and the guest.

Let’s take a look at how the app works for both the guests and the landlords.

Airbnb Process Model for Guests

Airbnb Process Model for Guests

Airbnb Process Model for Hosts

Airbnb Process Model for Hosts

Key Features To Build an App Like Airbnb

Airbnb offers a lot of features and the one thing that strikes people about Airbnb is its simplicity and seamless functionality. Which is exactly what you need to keep in mind building a Travel App like Airbnb. The application will be built on three-sided features – One for the host, one for the guest and lastly, the super admin i.e. backend panel.

Let’s look at the key features which should be included in each – 

Features for the Traveller (Guest)

  • Sign in/ Sign-up: Users should be able to sign-up & sign-in with their email id/phone number and password. To make the app more seamless, log-in through multiple social profiles like Facebook and Google+ can also be made available.

  • Manage Account: A user profile to add details such as name, phone number, address, date of birth etc.

  • Explore homes/hotels: Page where users can view various rentals and hotels available for booking, at the selected location. These should also mention food/menu details, costs, reviews, etc.

  • Filter and Search: Travel apps always include a filter option with which users can select a preferred location, type of accommodation, price, etc. and search accordingly.

  • Favourites: Users can create a list of selected apartments.

  • Inbox: Users can communicate with the host or hotelier regarding booking confirmation, cancellation or any additional information.

  • Notifications: Users can receive notification about their booking confirmation or new messages from hosts.

  • Booking Calendar: Users can select the dates they want to book the accommodation for.

  • Rate and Review: Users can rate the place and post reviews about their experience.

  • Experience: This is the recent update by Airbnb which allows users to book extra entertainment provided by hosts. It can be a cooking class, a massage, workshop or any other activity!

Features for the Host

  • Sign in/ Sign-up: Like travellers, hosts should be able to sign-up & sign-in with their email id/phone number and password or social profiles like Facebook and google+.

  • Account/Profile: Hosts can edit their profile and add details like email address, phone number, photo, etc.

  • Activities Provided: Hosts can add the activities they would like to offer their guests to provide them with a unique experience.

  • Listings: Hosts add a detailed description of the accommodation they are offering. This includes the number of guests they can accommodate, sleeping arrangements, address, photos of the location, language, etc.

  • Inbox: Hosts can communicate with the guests regarding booking confirmation, cancellation or any additional information.

  • Reviews: The hots profile must include a reviews section where previous guests have posted their experience and ratings.

Features for the Admin Panel (Backend Panel)

  • Dashboard: Views admin various details about all the listed hotels/properties and total revenue generated from them.

  • Cities Management: Admin can add or edit new cities in the app where users can add their accommodation/hotels at particular locations.

  • Manage Listings: Admin can add, delete or manage various details regarding the accommodation/hotels that are listed.

  • Payments: Management of the payments for the host and the amount after the deducting the commission.

  • Transaction History: View transaction ids, booking summary, booking id, date and method of payment.

  • Booking History: View booking history of any particular listing, along with time and summary of booking.

  • Notifications: Send push notifications to the guests or hosts regarding any system related news or offers.

Travel App Development

Advanced Features to Enhance Customer Experience

Now that you have built an understanding of how Airbnb works, basic features you need to include in your application to give it a solid foundation, you might want to make the product fit the bigger market and attract more users. Let’s improve your application’s performance by giving it some advanced features to make its performance and user experience better.

  • Comparison of Different Listings : We discussed the Favourites Option where users can add the options they like but the application should have a comparison feature to help users make the final decision. Users can view their “favourites” list, view all the accommodation options in it, select the desired accommodation and click on “Compare” to generate a side-by-side comparison showing property features and offers.

  • Trip Cancellation : Sometimes the hosts cancel the booking at the last minute, which can be frustrating. You need to do what’s best for your audience and apply cancellation fee on last minute cancellation. To further reduce the cancellations, you can add # of cancellations on the host’s profile and block calendar dates, which means the host cannot surge the prices at the last moment. Another alternative can be providing a rental place nearby, when or if the host cancels the booking out of nowhere.

  • Geolocation: A geolocation map feature will reload the data and show all the available accommodations/hotels on the map along with the prices. Users can easily drag, drop or zoom the locations available and when they click on the marker, it will display the basic information about the place. You can add Google Map or any other SDK and APIs to provide your users with a high performing map functionality. You can also easily customize the maps for its look or feel.

  • AR and VR Driven Experiences : Airbnb announced that they are working towards enhancing the user experience with augmented and virtual reality technologies. You can leverage AR and VR and well and can improve the user experience by showcasing rental properties better on the app. It will allow you to show the micro details about the facilities available. They can virtually visit the property and experience it. It also lets you add end-to-end instructions including the pictorial notes.

  • Application Security : You can implement simple security measures to ensure your user’s security. Keep in mind to restrict third-party apps or providers and put a control that prevents a level of access that users would not consent. Encrypt data while storing it locally, on a network and on your servers. There should be a detailed encryption database. Add simple tamper-proofing mechanisms to the app. Lastly, use authorization and authentication and make sure the API that the app relies on, utilizes a secure authentication.

  • Travel API : While developing the app, include the API which will allow your app to receive access to specific functions and databases. The developers can easily access most of the API from scratch. You can also use Airbnb’s own API. Their API would allow you to retrieve and integrate their functionalities into your app. It would also save a significant amount of budget and reduce development time.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App Like Airbnb? 

The cost of creating an app like Airbnb depends on various factors. If you’re creating an Airbnb clone, you can choose Airbnb’s templates of crafting it, which is likely to project on the development cost as well. Below are the main factors you should consider when developing your travel app:

  • Size of the Development Team – Along with the developers and designers, the development process requires a project manager, system administrator and other insider team managers. You need to hire a big team including all, unless you can manage and administer the whole project by yourself.

  • Number of Platforms – Before starting the development process, consider the platforms you want to run the app on – iOS, Android or both because these add up several screens to adjust the app to. Make the decision while keeping your target audience in mind. Also know that android app development takes 20-30% more than iOS development.

  • Technical Complexity of the Features – Decide the range of elements or features you want to add in your application and rate them according to their high to low complexity. The cost will depend on the time it takes the developers to implement each of the required elements.

  • Design: Custom vs. Standard – If you want unique designs or visuals and tools for your travel app instead of the standard design, the cost will go up.

Every feature that you select for your application will require time to develop and configure on both the client-side and server-side. The cost of developers differs globally, depending on their hourly rates.

The hours for “must-have” features:

Travel App Development

These are the approximate hours or the “must-have” features. There are a lot of “could-have” features as well and the final cost of your product will be based on your MVP’s total expense.

We suggest and recommend cross-platform technology like flutter to build the travel app. It’s the common approach that supports custom Travel App Development, compatible across multiple platforms. Why cross-platform? Well, it has many advantages like involving the creation of source code, reusability of the code components, speed and reduced costs. It’s perfect for the companies looking for a fast and cost-effective approach.

Using a single source code across multiple platforms reduces 50-80% of the development efforts, which reduces time-to-market. It also results in significant cost reduction as the development team does not have to invest in learning or working on multiple technologies.

Technology and Architecture

  • Tech Stack

Travel App Development

Solutions Architecture

  • AWS Stack

    • EC2 instances for its application, memcache, and search servers.
    • RDS as the main MySQL database.
    • ELB for traffic load balancing 
    • EMR for daily data processing and analyzing 
    • S3 for backups and static files, including user pictures.
    • Amazon CloudWatch to supervise ES2 assets.
  • Data Tier

Travel App Development

The Travel App Development process involves more than just the design and code creating steps. We cater to every aspect of the client’s requirements and understand all fundamentals, including technical documentation, functional requirements and user stories, which is why our clients trust us. Over the years, aTeam Soft Solutions has provided Travel App Development services to companies across various markets including finance, healthcare, construction, retail, consumer products and many more.

Travel guide applications like Airbnb are powered with smart algorithms and finding the right development team is crucial. aTeam is not only professional but also shares the client’s passions and helps them create a robust product!

Travel guide

How Ateam Can Contribute?

aTeam welcomes you at any stage of the development process and assure you a successful launch of the product. We have the team and experience to deliver fantastic applications with innovative features.

This is how we can help you build the perfect travel application – 

    • Define hidden pains and needs

    • Offer a uniquely valuable perspective on the market.

    • Help navigate alternatives

    • Provide ongoing advice and consultation

    • Help avoid potential landmines

    • Recommend new innovations and outcomes

    • Delighting Customer Experience: UX & UI

    • Cross-System Integrations and Back-Office Automation

    • Improved Ecosystem architecture

Our team looks forward to serving and helping you achieve your business objectives.

Talk to our expert today!

Contact us at [email protected]

Bijin Azeez July 13, 2018