How Much Does it Cost to Develop an app Like Airbnb ?

Airbnb has become another global platform to turn travelling experience upside down. This extremely popular space became a true community with an abundance of options and opportunities for everyone... at a reasonable price!

The most exciting part is that this cluster offers truly diverse adventures by renting a single room, apartment or a suite, a houseboat, a yacht or even a castle - and you’re packed with a totally fresh experience!

As far as this travelling experience becomes more and more popular, let me first outline this - once you’re finished reading the article, you’ll know the trends and opportunities within the industry as well as understand the app like Airbnb cost and procedure. You will also be able to calculate the price for each desired feature and decide which ones you really need.

To organize your knowledge on Airbnb clone app development and features let’s divide this paper into parts and explore each one microscopically:

  1. Short outline of how Airbnb works?;
  2. Airbnb market share and competitors;
  3. Overall app cost factors and features approximate pricing.

How Airbnb works?

Airbnb logo

Airbnb is an online lodging renting service that lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to incoming guests. There are photos of the property available with full map listings which makes it easy to find and navigate.

There is a wide selection of criteria to search for the most relevant options for the users. From a shared room to an entire house. You can also add different infrastructural features, such as swimming pool and washing machine.

All this is wrapped up in an accessible and easy-to-follow application in which hosting an apartment or making a booking takes a couple of clicks.

The reasons why people are using is Airbnb are simple.

  • For the guests, is less expensive than hotel booking and it offers a different kind of experience of the place.
  • For hosts, Airbnb offers an opportunity to commodify their spare place and an additional income.

As for charges, Airbnb takes 3% commission from the hosts, and between 6% and 12% from guests, which a reasonable price in exchange for trustrworthy matchings.

Global Airbnb stats

  • 60 millions of active registered users;
  • 500 000 guests stay per night via Airbnb;
  • By late 2018 people had traveled approximately 10 billion miles of Airbnb destinations;
  • more than 700 000 registered hosts;
  • Approximately 2 million of lodger listings;
  • Airbnb is active in 192 countries and 57 000 cities
  • In early 2019 Airbnb’s estimated revenue was ranging around $900 million;

Current Airbnb alternatives

It goes without saying - this game-changing travel format becomes growingly popular, and Airbnb appears to be not the only platform for listing and booking accommodations around the globe. Some other companies make an app like Airbnb and hit the court with their offers.

Among largest players in this market there are:

  • HomeAway - over 1 million global listings, has the same range of services and a couple more like own insurance program; operates a couple of more regional sites in this niche - VRBO, TravelMob, and VacationRentals - so it’s the full family competitor for Airbnb;
  • FlipKey - a huge company owned by TripAdvisor, has a pile of users and highest quality rates because of manual verification program by website’s employees; around 5000 special deals daily offer highly loyal conditions for everyone;
  • Roomorama - another safe service which requires users to confirm their best intentions in sharing houses with guests - personal IDs, bills and personal picture help ensure this too.

See also: iOS vs Android Development

There are a couple more of really good tried-out services out there, and this field still seems to have so much room for interesting ideas, services and their implementations. This particular data proves a tremendous potential of the market and opportunities for cutting-edge technologies to widen it unlimitedly. It seems like it’s a perfect time to build an Airbnb mobile app and I’m getting excited :)

How to establish an app like Airbnb on the market?

It is one thing to develop an app that is better than the competition. It is a completely different thing to build an app in a highly competitive niche and manage to establish it on the market in its distinct niche.

While it might seem like an undertaking, there are actually several key things that may help you to create an app like Airbnb that will be on par with the industry leader.

Investigate Travelling trends before making an application 

  • bleisure - business people tend to add more independent time to business trips;
  • looking for new experiences - common formats become less popular whereas unusual destinations and experiences are what they are digging for, and 69% of travellers are going to implement this in 2016;
  • spending more money for travelling - material things are not what people invest in anymore. Not only because travelling becomes more expensive, but because it’s worth it, travelers gonna spend;
  • solo travels - this stack grows from year to year significantly, and destinations adjust their services and products for these folks - 35% is a big number of people, and they are more open to interact with local culture through various experiences as they are totally dynamic and free to choose.

Make a Distinct Value Proposition

Being recognizable is one of the major requirements of any product and service. In order to compete with the likes of Airbnb, your service needs to maintain a distinct identity.

Its foundation is based on a similar value proposition with an emphasis on advantages that are the most relevant to the target audience.

How to pull it off? First of all, don’t think about the app - think about the audience.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • How many segments do it consist of?
  • What are their needs and demands?
  • What are their major pains?
  • How the competition addresses this?

These are the building blocks of your value proposition that will set the direction in which the app will be moving.

Develop a Unique Product Identity

Next, come the surface elements - the way the product looks and feels like. It is important to note that an application inspired by Airbnb should not be similar to Airbnb in every conceivable way. Especially when it comes to product identity.

Since the services are similar - your goal is to present them in a different way.

How to make it work? Just like your value proposition differentiates your service conceptually, the visual style should correspond that. The trick is not to be flashy but to be convincing and trustworthy.

This means using a specific color scheme that triggers an initial reaction (blue, green, purple is a go). In terms of design, your goal is to make the service as accessible as possible. This means - the whole familiarizing period of using an app should be short and sweet and instill firm user engagement.

Choose the right audience segments

It might seem that an app like Airbnb needs to be omnipresent in every segment of the market and covers all sorts of the audience. In reality, even Airbnb have certain audience segments that are left untapped or unsatisfied with what the industry leader has got to offer.

Such segments are not big, but these are enough to build the core audience on and spread the word of the superior app onwards.

How to choose the most potent “disgruntled” and “unsatisfied” audience segments?

That’s where sentiment analysis and source scraping may come in handy. You see, there are many open sources where you can read product reviews of all walks of life. Most such platforms are well indexed and it is relatively easy to go through them and find the valuable information.  

Read our article: How Business Applies Sentiment Analysis

Your goal is to find pain points and determine which audience segments correlates with it the most. By focusing on solving such issues better you will make good grounds for dissatisfied users to make a jump.

For example, you can make an emphasis on infrastructural elements of the lodgings (water, heating, parking, etc). Or can go for the community and make an emphasis on the lodgings in the eventful areas with many opportunities ready to go.

Provide Trustworthy Hosting

Retaining trust is a major challenge when it comes to peer-to-peer kinds of services. Bad experiences on each side damage the reputation of the product. Since your product services as a middleman between two parties - it is your responsibility to have both parties responsible and trustworthy.

How to make it work? You need to have solid verification procedure to be sure that the registered user whether he is a guest or host is a real person with an intention to rent an apartment. This means you need to have features that:

  • contain proofs of person identification and their payment ability.
  • contact info (e-mail address, telephone number, actual living address, etc.)
  • personal description
  • optional information customized by hosts.

Maintain Privacy and Data Security

The other side of trustworthiness is data security and privacy. Since data breaches are common events these days - it is important to maintain strict data security policies and keep data safe from leaking.

Why it matters so much? Think about it this way - would you like your data being leaked to some malicious individuals and used for some shady means while you were using a lodging service instead of going to the hotel? What would be your reaction? The aftermath of the data leak can be very damaging to the reputation of the product and you need to avoid it at all costs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Implement Data Loss Prevention software to keep your data in check
  • Encrypt user data and keep it away from unauthorized users by varying levels of access
  • Limit the personal data access of the application to those required by the service needs
  • Provide users with control over their personal data  
  • Implement Data Loss Prevention software to keep your data in check
  • Encrypt user data and keep it away from unauthorized users by varying levels of access
  • Limit the personal data access of the application to those required by the service needs
  • Provide users with control over their personal data  

Pricing factors and cost of features

Let me start this part by saying that there are some factors, which influence the cost to create an app similar to Airbnb. Not to mention, you can choose diverse modes of crafting it which is likely to project onto Airbnb app development cost as well.

Here are major aspects for you to consider and keep in mind:

  • the size of the development team - if you are enthusiastic enough to do a part of a project manager and administer closely the whole process then you can keep your team short and sweet. Otherwise, except developers and designers, you’ll require project manager, system administrator and a couple of more insider managers;
  • a number of platforms and devices app is being built for - iOS, Android, iOS and Android, add up a number of different screens to adjust the app to - all this should be considered beforehand based on target audience location, their preferred device environment, and stuff. FYI - Android app development takes about 20 to 30% more time than iOS (IPhone) one;
  • the technical complexity of the features - you decide what range of elements you want within your mobile application, so rate them from simple to medium and high complexity. Mind that the price is largely shaped by how long it takes developers to implement each of these;
  • design - custom vs. standard - if you prefer some unique visuals and tools instead of ones based on pre-built sets, it’s about to change price quite a bit too.

Moving to particular features, it’s important to mention - rough timing indicated below covers all stages of creating a feature - from drawing logics to testing. Elements are also listed from basic and simple to additional and complex. So let’s dive right into how much does it cost to develop an app like Airbnb.


Prep stage for app building

Every app building project starts with creating an overall strategy and fixing technical base for further operations. These are inevitable steps, which basically create a ground to the future app. This phase usually takes up to 50 hours:

  • about 20 goes for overall setup of the project
  • the same 20 - for implementation of API
  • around 10 for database pattern
  • 5 to 10 more hours - for implementation of various services and libraries

Registration/ login feature

This is one of the fundamental segments of any app. To start using it you need to register and, this way, agree with the conditions and policies of the app usage. For your development team implementation of this component can take around 10 to 16 hours.

User profile 

In case of whole Airbnb idea, there can be two sorts of profiles:

  • guest
  • host (owner of the place)

Basically, users add varied pieces of personal info to the profile like:

  • name
  • gender
  • contact info (e-mail address, telephone number, actual living address, etc.)
  • personal description
  • some optional bites of info

Execution of this part would take around 16 hours.

Settings framework

This feature allows users customize and configure all personal data and preferences such as:

  • updates notifications via SMS or push
  • wish-lists
  • payment currency and method

It would take about 24 hours in total to build this infrastructure.

Filtering element

That is the way to go after the user is all registered and set. Fixing a host requires placing details on the type of housing you offer as well as pricing, photos, etc.

In the guest mode within Airbnb, you have a wide range of options to choose from in order to find a suitable location. These are, for instance:

  • spot you want to visit
  • number of people
  • check-in/check-out dates
  • room/house type
  • price spectrum etc.

As far as this feature is quite wide, it will take developers around 24 hours to construct.

Descriptions of chosen rooms

So once you’ve executed all desired filters, you see a list of search results. Every item in this list has a wider description with ratings, photos, reviews, available dates, map and terms of getting the place.

Mainly, this feature makes a skeleton for users to select the option they like. Therefore, it can reach up to 150 hours for developers to build and set up everything within.

Maps implementation

That is a visual and easy alternative to searching for your perfect location - just check various ones on the map, tap to check if it’s important for you to stay near definite sites or something.

It is to take about 24 hours to frame this one.

Signing up as a host

If you decided to rent out your place, then you create a host account, fill in all the necessary details and app then shows you how much can your house/apartment/room cost. This is the full function, which enables hosts to place adverts, communicate with potential habitants, provide booking and stuff. And it’s estimated to take about 100 to 120 hours of development.

Adding to faves

This feature allows users to create their personalized shortlists of locations to be able to come back to these at any time, pick and choose. 10 to 12 hours is the average time to implement this important button inside the infrastructure.

Embedded messanger

This is a truly meaningful tool for communication of any sort within a community. Live talk opportunity makes users feel high reliability and authenticity of the service and its’ participants. Up to 40 hours is an approximate time for implementing this item.

Friends invitation feature for your Airbnb-like app

Not much to say, you can recommend the app to your friends through invitation. It usually takes about 10 to 11 hours to craft the feature.

Translation component

This is basically a button, enabled through the Google translator, which converts any description into your mother language. And it will usually take about 3 to 4 hours of development time.

Guide feature

This element will show some complementing sites and other must-visits near chosen location. Very personalized and convenient, isn’t it?

It costs around 10 hours of developers’ work.

Read also: How to Build a Mobile App With Geolocation?

Nota Bene! Backend 

Each feature you decide to pick for your product requires time to craft and configure on both client side (how it interacts with a user) and server side (functionality, connections with servers, etc.).

The server-side stack is crucial as well as wide scale part of every app building process. It’s also going to be the most time-consuming one. After all, you want an app to perform as a killer, right?

You’ll need to add around 600 hours for these operations to the entire timing.

And now, when we’re done with calculating time for building your Airbnb-like app, it’s the right time to choose who will implement it for you. It basically covers a cash part of the question “how much does an app like Airbnb cost”.

Globally the price differs for hours of developers. Here are average region hourly rates down below:

  • USA/Canada-based dev teams - $50 to $250/hour
  • Westen Europe - $30 to$170/hour
  • Eastern Europe - $20 to $150/hour
  • Australia - $50 to $150/hour
  • India - $10 to $80/hour


It’s just the time to finalize an overall development cost for your Airbnb-like application internationally, guys. 

As you can see, Indian development company will charge you the least out of all regions. Just make sure you check the portfolio of the particular team along with entire reputation and rumors going on around Indian development “story.”

Eastern Europe experts are famous for their high professionalism together with moderate pricing, so they are worth considering for sure. The Appsolutions team can develop the app like Airbnb from 55 000$

Australian and American professionals are paid the highest out of this range - it’s expected for the regions anyway. No need to worry about quality and all the procedures.

Search and pick a development team, bring your idea and start the discussion - believe me, it will take some time and experience till you start the development itself, so the time is now! Best of luck and see you in Featured Travel Apps List soon!

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Valery Filipets


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