Are you an entrepreneurial mind? Does Airbnb’s business model encourage you to start a similar business? Do you ponder how to make a site like Airbnb and start your own business?

The purpose of this article is to help you build such a platform economically and port different business ideas to it. We will talk about the fundamental business model of Airbnb, ways to leverage it for multiple startup ideas, and affordable alternatives for Airbnb-like website development with resources such as to make it efficient. So let’s begin with the fundamentals.

What exactly is Airbnb doing?

Airbnb is offering comfortable homestays to travelers on their trips across the planet. As a traveler, you can connect with different private house owners in your preferred location and rent a space to crash in. Depending on the properties, you can expect several home-like amenities and food options in an Airbnb stay.

The business offers a peer-to-peer vacation rental marketplace that connects travelers with the people/homeowners who would like to give out their places for rent. Depending on your travel location, the platform offers a wide variety of properties you can rent, which range from bungalows to hotels, villas, motels, lawns, bedrooms, couches, treehouses, and many more.

The USP of the platform is affordable and comfortable homestays to the travelers, while it also lets people make money from their private properties.

The Basic Airbnb Business Model

Airbnb has an aggregator business model, like many of the hotel booking sites. However, the peer-to-peer renting model also adds up to the base and differentiates Airbnb from the rest of the hotel aggregators in the market. Due to its peer-to-peer sharing model, the platform accommodates private homes, rather than hotels. Thus, it allows people with houses to make money when they are not using their properties.

On the other hand, travelers can book comfortable home-like stays and enjoy home-cooked food on their trips, that too quite affordably. To overcome the problem of trust among the travelers and homeowners, the platform has a robust peer-peer review system that allows both guests and hosts to review and rate each other.

Besides, it also hosts a network of local freelance photographers. Airbnb sponsors these photographers as they visit newly added properties to take high-quality photographs. Thereby making sure that hosts get professionally taken photographs to promote their listings, and bring more sales to the platform.

Overall, Airbnb’s business model relies on both kinds of peers to make money. They need to ensure that all are equally happy. They have been doing a great job until now, as they have strategically developed both ends of their platform simultaneously.

Therefore, if we summarize the Airbnb’s business model and explain how to make a site like Airbnb in a few points, you need to build personalized solutions for the following aspects:

  • Major stakeholders: Hosts, Guests, Photographers
  • Target audience: Travelers and Property owners
  • Solutions required: Website, Apps for Android and iOS, Admin panel

Airbnb’s Revenue Model

Airbnb makes most of its income from three major revenue channels:

  • Commission from the hosts: It takes a 10% commission from hosts on per booking they get on the platform.
  • Processing fee from the hosts: Hosts give an additional 3% processing fee to Airbnb for managing the online transactions.
  • Transaction fee from the guests: Depending on the region, guests pay a 6-12%, non-refundable transaction fee per confirmed booking.

How to make a site like Airbnb?

To build a platform like Airbnb you must know about three major components:

  • How many solutions do you need?
  • What are the basic features to add?
  • What are the different methods of development?

Solutions to build a platform like Airbnb:

  1. Website interface for Front-end
  2. Website interface for Back-end
  3. Android app
  4. iOS app

Basic features for a platform like Airbnb

To build a platform like Airbnb with the above-mentioned suite, you need the following major functionalities in the front-end of the website and mobile applications. Moreover, you will also need the back-end control and management system for each of these features:

  • Authorization: A user authentication system for both travelers and hosts is imperative. You can sophisticate this system further with a social media login feature, too
  • Host Listings: Features and controls for hosts to be able to list their properties and manage them from the front end
  • Search: A robust website search with customized filters so that guests can look for the listed properties in the regions they are going in for a trip
  • Map-wise filter: An interactive map interface that shows the properties available in an area with respective prices
  • Listing View: A descriptive view of the listing with a detailed explanation of the property, such as multiple images, location, house rules, check-in time, nearby places, and amenities, etc.
  • Payment Gateway: Integrated payment gateway to manage online transactions on the site. This can be found on websites like
  • Messaging: In-app and on-site messaging system using which peers can connect and discuss all details regarding bookings
  • Reviews and Ratings: A two-way peer-to-peer review system for both travelers and the hosts

Options to build an App like Airbnb:

Building a platform like Airbnb demand a collection of different technologies. Hence, it’s a job of multiple experts working collectively to shape a multi-system, perfectly synchronized platform. You have two major options to achieve this project:

  • You can build the entire platform from scratch
  • You can get an Airbnb Clone Script and customize it

How much to build a website like Airbnb?

If you have a workable development team, which you can find on, you can then build your platform from scratch. Alternatively, you can also outsource the work to a third-party company. In either of the cases, the final cost of the project will depend on the following factors:

  • Size of the development team
  • The technical complexity of the project
  • Functionalities and features
  • Number of platforms: iOS, Android, Web

Building from Scratch:

Building a single website from scratch itself is a laborious and expensive process. Here, you are to build at least four different interfaces: web and apps. With the cost of managing a full-stack team, you can calculate the final cost of one interface from following time-frame breakdown of different phases:

This is the time estimation of just one interface. Considering, it usually takes 20 to 40% more time to develop Android apps and iOS than the websites, you can also calculate the final cost of the project. Hence, the cost of two Apps (iOS and Android), website front, and admin panel would not be less than $95,000-$100,000 from scratch.

Build using an open-source Airbnb clone script:

Alternatively, you can use an Airbnb clone script and customize it on top to build your final rental platform. This method can save you a lot of money as –

  • You get a ready-made suite of multiple solutions
  • Total turnaround time is 50-100-times faster than scratch
  • The overall development cost also thereby decreases by 50-times
  • Plus you also get open source-code access to customize the platform

Ready-made scripts are one of the best approaches to build customized business solutions in 2020. Airbnb clone scripts are one such ready-made script, which you can purchase from any of the N numbers of script vendors on the market. A decent Airbnb script will cost not more than $1000-$2000. The best part is most of the scripts come with ready-made Android and iOS apps, too. You don’t even need to worry about how much to build a website like Airbnb, when you get everything ready-made.

To conclude

There is no doubt that such projects are massive and demand a great deal of investment in time and money. However, when Airbnb clones are already offering the same thing ready-made and at a cheaper cost, developing the same thing from scratch again, is not a viable idea. If you aim to develop a similar platform like Airbnb, using a clone script, is the most affordable and practical alternative. You can invest that extra time and money in customization, business development, and marketing. What do you think?

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