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How to Build a Website like AirBnB: A Web Development Expert’s Guide



They say all great businesses have an incredible origin story and AirBnB is one of the perfect examples of such companies. AirBnB is an online rental marketplace that started out of frustration in 2008 and became one of the most profitable businesses within a decade. 

As of 2023, AirBnB is worth 70.3 Billion USD and multiple factors have contributed to its immense success. For readers who don’t know, AirBnB is a rental marketplace where homeowners can list out their properties and invite guests for a dedicated period – be it a night or a month. This allows tourists to find cheaper accommodations and spend time with locals as well. 

Post AirBnB’s huge success in the hospitality industry, many other companies followed its footsteps and launched their own versions of couchsurfing marketplaces. Surprisingly, the majority of these ventures are generating good revenue as well.

If you’ve been planning to enter the industry and kickstart an AirBnB like business, this guide is for you. Today, we’ll take a closer look at how to start an online couchsurfing marketplace like AirBnB and how a professional web development agency might help you along the way. 

So, without any further ado, let’s dive in. 

Understanding AirBnB’s Business Model 

Before starting any business, it’s crucial to identify the business model as it makes it easier to identify all the stakeholders. Ideally, a business like AirBnB has three different users – couchsurfers looking for a place to rent, property owners, and the admin. 

If you want to build a website like AirBnB, it’ll be crucial to identify these three user-bases and curate personalized user experiences accordingly. The property owners can list out their properties, which means they should be able to add all the relevant information including pictures, property types, daily tariff, available rooms, etc. 

The customers, on the other hand, can browse the available properties, compare different prices, and book the preferred accommodation. The administrator team is responsible for verifying the properties and managing other business operations. 

AirBnB’s business model also includes an insurance scheme specifically for the hosts. Basically, if a property owner encounters any damage to their house during a guest’s stay, AirBnB is responsible to cover it, given that they have already opted for the insurance scheme. 

How to Build a Website like AirBnB in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Now that you know how AirBnB operates, let’s quickly dive into the development process you can utilize to build an AirBnB like website. 

1. Decide Between Custom Development & Ready-to-Use Solutions

When it comes to launching a website like AirBnB, you have two different options to choose from – either hire a professional web development company to build the website from scratch or choose one of the ready-to-launch solutions available in the market. 

Even though the former is a time-consuming and a bit expensive development approach, it allows business owners to launch fully personalized rental marketplaces that best suit their business vision. 

A ready-to-use web solution has several limitations when it comes to customizations and you are often unable to integrate additional functionalities. However, choosing ready-to-launch solutions is a more affordable option for many startups too. Analyze your business objectives, budget constraints, and make the right decision accordingly. 

2. Hire a Development Partner

Building a website like AirBnB is a gradual, complicated, and time-consuming task. Unlike many single-page websites, you can’t use one of the ready-to-launch website builders to construct an extensive rental marketplace. 

Since it’s necessary to integrate multiple features to cater to user requirements, you need a team of professional web developers to manage the entire development cycle. 

Now, hiring a development partner is a strenuous process as the developers you recruit will decide the future of your brand’s success. The general thumb rule says that the developers you hire should be skilled in the modern tech stack and must have worked on similar projects in the past. 

3. Identify the Right Tech Stack for Your Website

Now, if you’ve chosen to build a custom couchsurfing rental marketplace like AirBnB from scratch, the next step would be to choose the most suitable tech stack. 

Keep in mind that the technologies you pick to build your AirBnB like website will have a huge impact on the brand’s scalability in the future. Technologies that offer better scalability support will help you build a website that can incorporate new functionalities with increased customer acquisition. 

If you’re looking forward to cutting down the development cost, you can also build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first. It’s an initial version of a digital product that’s designed with minimum features to validate user feedback and scale the product accordingly. 

To make your job easier, here are some of the most suitable web development technologies to build a feature-packed rental marketplace like AirBnB. 

  • HTML5, CSS, JavaScript
  • ReactJS
  • Ruby-on-Rails
  • MySQL
  • Amazon AWS
  • PostgreSQL

4. Decide Your Website’s Features

For any online business to become a huge success, it’s necessary to evaluate its core and additional features. 

It’s worth understanding that the features that you integrate will have a huge impact on your website’s customer retention. That’s why along with the essential features, it’s also necessary to integrate additional functionalities so that you can offer a seamless booking experience to the customers. 

Here are some of the useful features that’ll help you enhance the functionality of your online couchsurfing rental marketplace like AirBnB. 

Business Verification

As soon as the property owners list their properties, the administration team can initiate the verification process. Authorizing a business is an integral part of the entire business model as all marketplaces are vulnerable to unexpected scams and they can ruin your brand’s reputation. 

Search Filters

Advanced search filters are a prerequisite in any online marketplace as they allow users to apply advanced parameters and narrow down the search results to the most suitable options. They can specify their preferences and browse through properties that are within these specified parameters. 

Property Listings

While listing out their properties, owners can write detailed descriptions and add specifications to attract the right buyers. The hosts should also be able to mention rules (if any) to avoid unexpected incidents in the future. 

GPS Navigation and Map Integration

This feature will allow users to navigate to the booked property after landing in a different city. 

Map integration and real-time navigation is a crucial feature as you would not want your customers to go through any hassle while finding their accommodation for the night. GPS integration is a technically complicated process and your team of professional web developers will manage it by incorporating Maps APIs from different service providers. 

Messaging and Chat Support

In a website like AirBnB, it’s important to integrate message support to allow customers to contact property owners and customer executives easily. 

A built-in chat panel will allow them to instantly talk to both the parties and get their queries answered immediately. 

Online Payment Support

Digital payments are a necessity in any digital solution in this tech-savvy world. Customers don’t prefer carrying around cash and more importantly, digital payments maintain financial transparency as well. 

While building a website like AirBnB, your web development team will also integrate a fully-encrypted payment gateway to let customers process online payments using their preferred method. 


Building a rental marketplace like AirBnB is one of the most profitable ventures in 2023. People are constantly going out for vacations and are always in search of cheaper accommodations. To build a website like AirBnB, all you need is a dedicated business model and a team of professional web developers to bring your idea to reality. Get in touch with our web development experts and we’ll help you devise a personalized development plan to launch an AirBnB like marketplace with a faster time-to-market. 

Ankush Chhoda

Professional IT executive & business leader by passion having a keen interest in delivering market-centric web & mobile solutions.

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