How Many Developers Need to Create Service Like Airbnb

     Back in 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia shared a room in San Francisco and were unable to pay rent on time. As a way out, they decided to turn their living space into a simple bed-and-breakfast hotel to get some money from travelers. A year later, the venturers launched a website which evolved into the most famous peer-to-peer renting service called Airbnb.

     Now, the company has 3,100 employees and generates insane revenues for its founders. The statistics say that Airbnb has 150 million registered users, 3 million hosts, and 4 million listed offers. The service covers 80,000 cities in 190 countries, and, interestingly, 50% of traffic comes from mobile applications.

      These figures are so impressive that you may also want to create your own Airbnb clone and become successful. But slow down. This story is already written; do you really need to create a marketplace similar to Airbnb?

    The Idea Behind Airbnb-Like Apps

     In a nutshell, Airbnb is a simple apartment booking website which allows people to find accommodation, and rent it for a certain number of days, weeks or even months. Founders market the idea of “home away from home”, emphasizing the coziness and convenience of apartments.

     However, a clear advantage of Airbnb is that it is actually a marketplace. It is a peer-to-peer system with two main user roles:
    • Guests: those who book accommodation. They rent it from hosts directly, but also pay a 6-12% fee for the service itself.
    • Hosts: those who own homes and rent them out. Hosts get money from travelers but they also have to pay a small 3% system fee.

     For the tourism industry, Airbnb has become an innovation because of a few key features, though.

    The Killer Features of the Service

    Proceeding to core features, let’s look at how Airbnb developers designed their brainchild. Basically, there are six points of interest to the devs:

    1. Peer-to-peer marketplace. Hosts can deliver accommodation and services like catering and car rental to travelers. Airbnb connects people directly.
    2. Location-based marketplace. The system offers location filters and maps to display the most relevant search results to the users.
    3. Availability management. This feature provides for reliable bookings without miscommunication, double orders, and schedule errors.
    4. Online payments. While big aggregators connect users but don’t streamline payments, Airbnb allows sending and receiving money via the site or the app
    5. User reviews. Globally, peer-to-peer communities are based on trust. Similarly to CouchSurfing, both hosts and travelers can leave feedback through Airbnb.
    6. Delayed transactions. Following the idea of trust, Airbnb can hold funds until all participants of a given deal are satisfied.

     Technically, the service is built via Ruby on Rails framework with Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. For automation, Capybara, PhantomJS, and RSpec are used. Storages are based on PostgreSQL and Redis.

    Businesses Interested in Airbnb Clones> 

     Keeping these things in mind, let’s decide whether Airbnb-like applications are suitable for your business or not. Booking apps are centered around a supply/demand balance, collaborative consumption, and the idea of access instead of ownership. There are dozens of pioneers that follow the principle of sharing economy — Booking and eBay, to name but a few. Hence, you can also enter this market with a similar idea.
    So, where will Airbnb clones be useful?

    • E-commerce. Think about eBay and Amazon, for example. These companies lead the game because they have a huge loyal audience. To enter this market, you can consider going mobile and building your app around delivery or click-and-collect services.
    • Traveling. Here are a lot of options from offering pet care services to arranging meetings with locals or meal-sharing parties. Traditional property-sharing services are less demanded now.
    • Real estate. A lot of people search for long-term rental offers. Of course, there are many Airbnb-like services focused on renting and purchasing, but you can still integrate innovative technology like blockchain to stand out from the competitors.
    • Transportation. Well, we all know about Uber and Lyft. Car-sharing is now a buzzword in the industry. However, there’s still some room for startups. For example, you can focus on hitchhiking services or center around innovations like self-driving cars.

    Development Costs

     Finally, you want to be sure that the cost of a planned app will not exceed your budget. Hence, let’s look at essential stages of the development process. Generally, similar apps require designing (350-400 hours), front-end development (300-350 hours), back-end development (500-600 hours), and QA (150-200 hours). Considering the rates of $30-$150 per hour, the total cost of the project will be around $35,000-$225,000. Of course, it depends on technologies, tools, and the experience of developers.

     More precisely, the development process can be categorized as follows:

    • Initial setup and back-end: $2,500-$30,000
    • Registration: $600
    • User profiles: $800 + $5,000-$6,000 for host profiles
    • Settings: $1,000
    • Search filters: $1,200
    • Accommodation options: $9,000
    • Invite module: $1,200
    • Translation: $200
    • Guide: $500
    • Maps: $800
    • Messages: $1,500-$2,000
    • Favorites: $500

     What’s more, for a social media module the developer may charge about $500, while the integrated payment features such as a PayPal tool will cost up to $2,000. For app customization, be ready to pay from $500 to $5,000.

    Add Something Different

     At the end of the day, even if a parent company decides to create another service similar to Airbnb, its managers should consider pitching a unique idea. Simply put, when a brand delivers a native application, it should opt for game-changing or fresh features to engage new users. By cloning Airbnb, you can really get viable results, but new functionality will boost profitability and engagement significantly. For instance, a peer-to-peer car-sharing app could benefit from a ‘free travel’ option with which the drivers specify that they’re ready to take passengers for free.

    Well, you got the idea. Be creative if you want to gain a competitive edge!

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