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The advent of on-demand service apps has transformed businesses in a significant way. Now that entrepreneurs have seen “the obvious” things that can be possible with these apps, they have started to march towards the online sector. The market is getting oversaturated with entrepreneurs launching their apps and upgrading it to take on their rivals. Travel and tourism go hand-in-hand in terms of overall growth. The introduction of online booking systems has significantly impacted the industry as people can buy tickets, book vacation rentals, and compare prices effortlessly from their smartphones or computers.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a renowned online marketplace that connects travelers with people who are willing to rent their home, barn, cottages, etc. Apart from serving as a rental booking platform for travelers, it also helps people to find accommodations. It was started with the idea of a “sharing economy” and has grown into a major brand worldwide. People can experience a variety of cultural impressions during their stay by connecting with others. Here are the critical features required for developing Airbnb like apps for your lodging business.

  • Sign up and Sign in 
  • Social media plugins
  • Home page
  • Push notifications
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Transaction history
  • User profile
  • Referral options
  • Recommendations
  • Search filters
  • Integration of Google calendar
  • Chatbox
  • Manage listings
  • Reservations
  • FAQ
  • Customer support
  • Minimalistic application design

How does the booking flow of an app like Airbnb looks like:

  1. Hosts can list their property on the platform. The pricing, rules, amenities, etc., can be added to give specific details of their property. 
  2. Users can search for rental properties on the app. They can set search filters like location, area code, price range, etc., to narrow down their search results.
  3. If a user is interested in a place, he/she can make a booking request.
  4. The host will receive a notification regarding the user’s booking request and can decide whether to approve or not.
  5. If the host approves the booking request, the user will be prompted to pay the rent via the app’s payment gateway.
  6. The details of the user and host will be shared mutually on the app.
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Technologies involved in building an app like Airbnb:

  • Commonly used programming languages to develop every Airbnb clone script in the market are Javascript, Kotlin, or Swift.
  • The front end frameworks can be developed with Angular, React.is, Express.js.
  • Frameworks used to develop the backend of apps like Airbnb are Ruby on Rails, Django, Node.js, Meteor.js.
  • AWS, Azure, OpenStack, DigitalOcean, Google Cloud are used as server-side technologies.
  • Nginx, Redis will be used for Network-level caching services.
  • For the apps’ database MySQL, MSSQL, MongoDB, Azure DocumentDB, Cassandra, PostgreSQL will be used.

Advanced features that you can integrate:

Your Airbnb like app will be flexible to support any customization. Basic features might be enough for the functioning of your app, but you will need more than that to make your application “market fit.” Now that you have laid a solid foundation for your app and have prepared an MVP with the basic features, you can concentrate on improving its performance and user experience. Here are some of the advanced features  that you shouldn’t miss on your app:

  • User verification
  • App search
  • Booking features
  • Comparison of different listings
  • Trip cancellation
  • AR and VR driven experiences
  • Application security
  • Chat functionality
  • SEO optimized single-page apps
  • In-app calendar
  • Payment integration and management
  • Geolocation

Why does the search option require your special attention:

Searching for a listing is not magic, and it requires innovative minds to perform well in the long run. Searching from a list of 10 elements is more comfortable compared to a list of 100 elements. As your app will serve thousands of travelers every day, ensure that your development team implements complicated search algorithms. 

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For every search performed on these apps, two ranking scores will be created:

  • Search score associated with each search
  • A request to book score

The ranking scores will depend on the following factors:

  • Season in which the properties are booked
  • The mobile platform on which the bookings are made

How can you deal with payment scams and fake listings:

Scams are not unusual when it comes to online business, but you can try to avoid them on your Airbnb like app. Here is a list of scams that are likely to happen on your app:

  • Fake reviews by friends or family of host
  • An illegal listing that causes problems for travelers
  • Host demanding extra cash from the travelers
  • Host blackmailing travelers
  • Duplicate listings with different addresses
  • Fake listing photos and address
  • Host blackmails travelers for a positive review
  • Host falsifies damages in their property
  • Host demands offsite payment
  • Fake scam emails

How can Machine learning technology help you to deal with discrepancies:

Machine learning algorithms can prevent fake listings even before they go live on the platform. They have in-built risk signals such as host reputation, template messaging, duplicate photos, etc., and block the fake listings based on these data. Machine learning can also fake payments made on the app. It flags the user profile when it detects suspicious behavior, and these flagged accounts will be moved onto the risk model for further evaluation. If it is a different kind of discrepancy that the machine can’t handle on its own, it will intimate the admin team. Ensure that you send notifications regularly to your users to be aware of scams. Advise them to make every transaction via the app’s payment gateway for added safety. 

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The travel and tourism industry is proliferating, and investing in a traveling app will be a smart business move. You can generate revenue from multiple streams and expand your service area. Building an app like Airbnb is not an easy task as there are numerous aspects to consider and several stages of development involved. Get in touch with a professional app development team to make things easier.

Shabbir Ahmad

Shabbir Ahmad is a freelance enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert. He is the founder of Shifted Magazine & Shifted News. He contributes to many authority blogs including porch, hackernoon & techcrunch.