How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website like Airbnb from Scratch

by GK June 26, 2019

The modern world has changed beyond recognition. Each year, millions of people travel around the world for work, attend conferences, or vacation. They need facilities while traveling to a different place. However, either it turns out to be very expensive or cheap with inadequate facilities. This is where the Homestays and private apartment rentals become significant.

Airbnb is one such successful rental business that allows people to rent private apartments, houses or even rooms. While it’s not the only player in the segment, it is true that Airbnb is the market leader. That is why, on a global scale, people with similar business instincts are trying to build various vacation rental management software solutions like Airbnb.

If you are wondering how to use this idea to make your own profit, you are in the right place. Before getting into the core matter of how to build a website like Airbnb and the cost involved, let’s explore the business model of Airbnb.

The Business Model of Airbnb

Firstly, Airbnb solves a common problem and Airbnb business model is made for a mass market that connects different markets in a unique way- travelers, tourists and experience providers.

If you have used Airbnb, you probably know that it employs a full-fledged digital channel. Here are no third parties involved like front desk executives or booking agents. You can search, make reservations, manage listings, and experience through their website or mobile app.

How Airbnb Works

– Hosts list out details of their properties with other information like amenities offered, pricing, etc.

-Airbnb sends a team with professional photographers to the property location to click high-quality pictures of the property.

-Users search for a property in a city they wish to stay and browse options.

-Travelers make a booking through Airbnb and pay the amount mentioned by the host along with the transaction fees.

-Host confirms and approves the booking.

-Travelers stay at the place and finally, Airbnb pays the amount to the host after deducting their share of the commission.

Significant Features of Airbnb

Despite the seeming simplicity, there is a whole set of functions in the backend which are essential for the stable operation of a website like Airbnb. When you develop a rental service like Airbnb, ensure that these essential features are enlisted.

Filtered search

Strong filtered search is the core feature of Airbnb. They make it quite easy to find an apartment by location, price, preferred time of check-in, and various other parameters.


This allows users to easily find nearby available houses, which are crucial for a tourist who is traveling to an unfamiliar place.

Booking management

A strong available and booking management is essential so that service providers can clearly specify their ability. Users can book on dates that are convenient for them. This feature facilitates the successful booking and avoids double bookings.

Secure online payment

Websites like Airbnb must make sure that providers deliver what was booked and buyers pay the agreed price. The best way to achieve this is to take payment from the buyer in advance and transfer the payment to the provider only after delivering the service.

Review system

Any peer-peer marketplace works based on trust between strangers. Each user has a detailed profile page with their real name, pictures and other essential information. Both customers and providers can view and leave reviews after getting indulged in business.

Communication between guests and owner

The ability to exchange messages between guests and hosts and communication between users also leads to the efficient operation of the business.

How to Create a Website like Airbnb?

Do you want to create a location-based peer-peer marketplace like Airbnb? Peer-peer marketplaces are quite complicated to create and requires a lot of work. However, with modern technology and advanced tools at your fingertips, it no longer takes months of work and fortune to make your project happen.

There are 3 different ways to build your own site like Airbnb.

  • Using a marketplace SaaS solution or marketplace

SaaS solutions have already automated the work for you, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time building the technology. Instead, you can focus on other areas of your business. With this, you need not have to install anything or have a server. You can simply create your website with their online tools in as little as a few minutes and configure it according to your use case. These closed source marketplace platforms do everything, including hosting and facilities to create and launch your own marketplace within no time.

Choosing a SaaS marketplace is a quite affordable solution as there is no extra set up fee included. Before making the payment, you can also run a trial to see how the platform work, what all features you get before making the actual commitment.

The ready-made solutions are nothing but a ready to deploy program, which helps to create a website like Airbnb or any other e-commerce site with full functionality. Once you have the solution in hand, you need extensions to make the site function in the right manner. You need the platform to be customized, your website cannot look exactly the same as your competitor. It must have personalized themes and outlook to set you apart from the competition.

The total cost of a SaaS website would come around $1200.

  • Using an open source market platform

Use an open-source marketplace platform or Airbnb clone script that comes equipped with all features and functionalities to generate revenue from your vacation rental business. It comes equipped with all the features like advanced search filter, guest-host communication, wishlist feature, multi-currency support, and additional features like server requirements, admin dashboard, and monetization features.

You get a 100% source-code, which you can install on multi-domains and use for various different niches.

Cost: Such solutions come around $999 for a regular license with free installation and 1year free support and upgrades.

  • Build a website from scratch

Now, this is the most elaborate, time consuming and expensive way to create a vacation rental software like Airbnb. This involves developing the whole website by dividing it into parts and considering each part microscopically. The whole process includes front and backend development. It is a time consuming a laborious process, which would take a minimum of 2-3 months.

Cost: It would cost you around $40,000-$56500 to build websites like Airbnb considering the individual cost of each module and functionality.

This is just an average time and cost estimate to develop an app like Airbnb. To know the exact price of developing the site from the scratch you need to decide what all functions to include.

When an idea to travel to a vacation spot comes to your mind, what is the thing you search for? Certainly an exciting and incredible travel experience at a reasonable price. This is the reason behind the ever-growing popularity of Airbnb- the one-stop destination for all backpackers to discover renting choices in terms of a small apartment or a luxurious resort stay.

With people nowadays love going on vacations often or travel for work purposes, no wonder apps like Airbnb has emerged as an impressive business idea.

The development cost depends on a number of factors like:

-Type of platforms- iOS, Android, or both

-Number of people employed in the project (project manager, designers, developers, testers)

-The technical complexity of features and testing.

While an app like Airbnb with basic features cost around $25,000-$30, 0000, but the price of an app with advanced features that work well on all platforms starts from $40,000. However, building an Airbnb clone is recommended over building a website from the start as it comes with a different advantage to boost your rental vacation rental software.

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