Hundreds of open source Airbnb clones are there, how to choose the top?


If you are reading this article, you must already know that Airbnb-like business is a profitable idea for your online venture. Most probably, you also know that Airbnb works on the P2P rental marketplace model, and that’s why Airbnb clones are not limited to building just vacation rentals. You can literally build any kind of P2P online rental marketplace using an Airbnb clone.

What’s more interesting is this statement itself. This should be your first clue to identifying the best open-source Airbnb clone from hundreds of others that are claiming to be a one:

If you stumble across an Airbnb clone open source and customizable enough to accommodate any kind of P2P rentals besides vacation rentals, stop right there to check for some other favorable traits too. Customizability is what that makes any open-source ready-made solution promising for even the trickiest and biggest online ventures.

What makes Airbnb’s Rental Business Model profitable?

Before Airbnb, hardly anyone believed in the idea of the online sharing economy.  Who would think about finding a place to crash in a stranger’s house in a remote hill station and get amenities comparable to your own home?

Airbnb’s vacation rental business succeeded because they dared tostep out of the traditional listing and hotel aggregation typecasts and give people a peer-to-peer connection to do the business among themselves. The model allowed them to put an extra focus on the development of their platform rather than beating around the bush for building in-house accommodations or proprietary hotel chains. Using the concept of the peer-to-peer sharing economy, they build a vast network of vacation rentals that no hotel chain business can do even today.

The peer-to-peer sharing itself is a supply chain in itself, and it can accommodate almost anything that people would want to share for making some extra cash with what they already have:

  • Do you have an extra parking space? Share it with your neighbors, and be paid.
  • Do you have a car you don’t use much? Put it on a car rental website and make money.
  • Do you have a bicycle lying in the storeroom? Rent it and make some extra cash out of it.
  • Do you have a professional camera? Rent it to the people who want to use it on a trip.

From car rentals, bike rentals, co-working space rentals, storage spec rentals, construction supply rentals, fishing supply rentals, boat rentals, and RV rentals to almost anything. You just need a platform to connect the people who have supplies to the people who want them, and you can become the owner of a profitable online business without investing in the supply chain at all.

That’s why Airbnb was a success, and that’s why the market today is brimming with hundreds of ready-made Airbnb open-sourcescripts to let entrepreneurs start a business quickly, without coding, and without depending on a SaaS vendor.

Hence, if you have been thinking about Airbnb’s business model and looking for a good online rental software open sourceenough to offer unlimited flexibility, an open-source Airbnb clone would be a good idea, to begin with. Here are the most important requirements to consider while purchasing an Airbnb clone for your project.

Fundamental requirements of an Airbnb clone

·       Cross-platform availability

Users today are not restricted to computers alone. Today, we have a major proportion of internet users utilizing high-speed mobile internet to do almost everything the humanity has been doing on computers in the past. From user experience to search engine optimization, cross-platform compatibility on mobile phones is a non-negotiable requirement. A perfect Airbnb open source script must come in a bundle of following solutions to make your entire platform as good as the Airbnb itself:

  • Website front-end (mobile responsive)
    • Website back-end/Admin Panel
    • Same or individual Android Mobile Apps for owners and the customers
    • Same or individual iOS Mobile Apps for owners and the customers

·       Open-source code

The vendor must offer you the full source code of the script and the solutions in the bundle. There should be no limitation on the choice of a web host company for your website. Once you have the source code, you must get the freedom to choose any compatible web host company.

·       Customizability

Although you get most of the customizability with your Airbnb dashboard’s open-sourcecode itself, a few things can still limit you from customizing. Make sure they have built the script on standard coding practices and frameworks. Get the proper documentation from the vendors, as it will come handy when you want to customize the source code by yourself or hire any other skilled developer to do it for you. You want standard code so that your developers can understand and customize the script easily.

·       Scalability

Scalability is a relative concept. You can judge the level of scalability on your Airbnb script by analyzing its ability to customize the source code, upgrade the web-hosting plan on the requirement, and integrate popular third-party solutions for CRM, Payment Gateways, SEO analytics tools, Chatbots, Calendar managers, Multiple currencies, multiple languages, and Multiple geolocations, etc. As your business grows, the more it is flexible to accommodate the changes, the more it is scalable.  

·       One-time payment

The best thing about choosing an Airbnb open source script is the freedom from overdependence on vendors. Once you have the source code, you can literally do anything without depending on the vendors. This also ensures that you are not bound to pay any recurring charge to the vendors, like in SaaS. Unless you opt for their managed services or ask them for additional customizations on top, you just need to pay a one-time cost to purchase the source code, that’s it.

·       Technical Support

Technical support or customer support is probably the most misunderstood concept in any open-source script in the market. You must understand that even if you are paying to purchase the source code, the vendors are not bound to offer life-long free support. Most offer free support to fix the issues that could have been already there in the script. Moreover, they might also offer deployment support. Don’t expect any vendor to offer free support on customizations on top; they offer premium customization services for that. Since you get the full source-code access, you are responsible for not breaking it while customizing it by yourself.

Feature requirements of an upright Airbnb Clone

Apart from these fundamental requirements, you can judge an Airbnb clone after testing out their demo and noticing if the following important features are there to build a website like Airbnb:

·       Advanced noticeable search bar

The thing about starting a new platform is people don’t know how to use it in the beginning. That’s why you need to give a guided searching experience to let users launch a search query without any hassle. It doesn’t matter if you are renting vacation houses, cars, or bikes, there should be a noticeable search box to make things easy for them and make your Airbnb style website designusable in actual terms.

  • Search with relevant keywords
    • Put location filters in the query
    • Put timing filter in the query and
    • Other relevant filters

·       Integrated Google Map for search

It’s a frustrating task to put the locality name manually and search for the properties available there.  Having a Google map integration will let them pinpoint the localities with precision and traverse all the options more easily. You can complement the feature with other filters such as price, nearby places, etc. 

·       Integrated social media handles

Social media has become a necessity for businesses these days. Entrepreneurs cannot imagine their customer support network or marketing-mixes without including social media in it. For that to happen the platform must include social sharing and social login features. The easier it is to find your social media proof the better is the chance to use it for business development.

·       Multi-language and multi-currency

Depending on the type of Rentals, a business might attract both local and international customers. You want your site to support multiple languages and multiple currencies so that you don’t lose a customer just because he or she didn’t understand English. A client from the USA might want to book a car or house rental from the UK. With multi-currency support, it would be easier to manage such international transactions.

·       Commission Management System

Manage the revenue channels by implementing commission rates as per your preferred model. You should be able to put either of the fixed and percentage-based commissions. It’s best if your Airbnb clone allows you to put global as well as individual commission rates for different users or geo-locations.

Besides, the clone must also support commissions from hosts as well as from the customers on their bookings.

·       Payouts Management System

A proper payout and earnings management system to track the revenue. The system must allow the admin to track payments from customers, payments done to the hosts, failed transactions, and the amount payable to the hosts after deducting the commission. It’s best if the site allows direct payments from the Admin dashboard itself.

·       Properties Management System

It must possess a dedicated system to manage the listings with all the necessary details required for posting. Following a substantiated workflow, the function of property management system is to send a notification for new listings uploaded by the hosts. The listing should go live only after the admin’s approval. Apart from this, admin should also get the access to list a property, de-list a property, suspend a listing, etc. right from the admin panel itself. Besides, the dashboard must also give a graphical representation of the analytics for properties on the site.

To conclude

These were a few of the important requirements for a good Airbnb open source script. Apart from this, the script must manage the fundamental platform features without any mistake. You must focus on the modules of the script that deal with the following tasks:

  • Hosts Management system- to manage the users who are sharing their properties on the site
  • Customers Management system –to manage the users who are renting out the listed properties
  • Availability Management system –for hosts to mark the availability of the properties for renting
  • Review and Feedback management system –for both hosts and customers to rate the experience
  • Necessary tools integration -such as email marketing, SMS, CDN, Google Analytics, push notifications
  • Sub-admin users Management –add sub-admin users and give them limited access as per their roles
  • Static Page Management system –CMS-like feature to add static web pages from the admin panel

If your chosen scriptperforms well on all these aspects, you may go ahead and use it for your project. If it lags on any of these grounds, you should better look for another script in the market. There are hundreds of them, and many of them actually perform outstandingly on these mentioned grounds.