If you’ve ever wanted to enter the booming property rental market but don’t have the time or funding to invest, we have a possible solution for you. Real estate rental apps, websites, and other digital services are all the rage. They offer customers more personalized and immediate assistance and open markets to a wider audience.
What are real estate apps, and how can you get in on a market that nets potentially billions of dollars in revenue per year? The best example of a successful rental app is Airbnb. If you want to compete with the big players, it helps to follow their model for success.
What is Airbnb? A Brief History
Founded in 2008, Airbnb began its life like many startups, as a solution to a specific problem. The founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, wanted to rent out a portion of their apartment during a business conference and needed to find tenants. After some brainstorming, they decided to create a one-page website called airbedandbreakfast.com and post photos of their place.
This initial effort netted the pair three guests at $80 per stay and created the foundation for what would become the most successful apartment search platform in the world. The company now helps match property owners with long- and short-term renters in more than 100,000 cities spread out among 220 countries. Last year alone, they brought in just over $30 billion in revenue.
How did they do it, and how can you emulate that kind of success? Read on to learn more.
How is Airbnb Different From Other Apartment Rental Solutions?
Business travelers and vacationers increasingly look for more affordable accommodations and a homelike feel. Airbnb bridges the gap between corporate housing and extended stay hotels by providing lodgings at actual homes rather than sterile, generic rooms with few or expensive amenities.
Not only is it more comfortable to stay in an Airbnb rental, it’s also more affordable. Guests have greater flexibility in the type of lodging and location, and the rates per night are often less than they would pay at a hotel. The average nightly rate for an Airbnb rental is $80.
What’s more, guests can rent a whole house, an apartment, and a private or shared room for as many or as few nights as they wish. Some hotels require a minimum stay in order to receive discounted pricing, and room availability isn’t guaranteed when weary travelers need a place to stay on short notice.
Apps like Airbnb serve two separate sets of clients, guests and property owners. The site charges a fee for reservations that ranges from 6 – 12 percent of the total rental price, depending on rental type and length of stay. Landlords pay 3 percent for each transaction.
How to Build a Website Like Airbnb?
According to the latest available statistics, the website assists more than 150 million travelers. There are up to two million individuals sleeping in an Airbnb rental each night across the globe. Users can access the site on a range of devices, including iOS, Android, and smartwatches.
You can carve out a niche in that market with an app of your own.
Building any app requires some planning first. Best practices dictate a five-step plan that takes your target market and revenue goals into consideration, and security is paramount to establishing trust and authority.
1. Choose Your Solution Type
The purpose of any business solution is to know the customer’s pain points and highlight how you’re going to address them. When it comes to finding accommodations, customers relate that their pain points are:
* Finding affordable lodgings
* Lack of communication between potential guests and property owners or managers
* Fraudulent listings
* Slow response times
Property owners, on the other hand, have issues finding qualified renters on a regular basis and marketing their properties effectively.
Your app should address the pain points of both target audiences and offer exemplary customer service. The design should be clean, user-friendly, and easy to navigate.
2. Choose Your Technology Stack
In order to build a website like Airbnb, you need to begin with a firm technical foundation. Your tech stack needs a secure, well-designed back end and a functional, clean user interface (UI). That means locating an experienced developer who has experience in both website and mobile app development.
The back end depends on coding best practices regarding database security and storage as well as server architecture. Thorough pen testing is essential.
On the front-end, it’s all about user experience (UX) via features and functionality. The designer needs deep knowledge of html, CSS style sheets, JS, and frameworks.
Before choosing a design team and developer, consider:
* The size of the project
* Time to market estimations
3. Define the Functionality Parameters
Each function on your app needs to fall within parameters set by you but determined by your goals and target audience. Your app should include:
* A search interface
* Filters to refine search by a range of categories, such as rental type, location, and price
* Product images
* In-app chat
* The ability to contact property owners
* Efficient checkout process
* Secure payment options
* 24/7/365 customer support
Property owners should also have a means of adding or editing their listings, space to include photos and video, and a secure means of collecting rents. User roles should be clearly defined and access set.
4. Build a Rental Marketplace MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
The idea of creating a successful app is much different than the execution. Your idea needs to be viable and fill a niche. That means a minimum of features and functionality to make it perform as expected.
Airbnb is the model, but it’s not enough to simply clone their applications. Test out the app yourself before release, but use other industry-leading apps. Take note of how they work, but also where they fall short. Read users reviews and move forward with the determination to fill in those gaps and improve on existing rental apps whenever possible. Is there a market that’s under-served or demographic that’s begging for representation?
5. Follow Common Marketplace Design Principles
Users aren’t concerned with the back end functionality of your app. They only care that the page loads fast, that it works reliably, and that it’s secure.
The front end is an entirely different story. This is the part of your website that they will see and interact with, and the portion that Google and other search engines evaluate when ranking your website.
The best way to ensure that it looks and performs as expected is to follow these basic design principles that all app developers use.
- Clean, unified look
- Clearly marked features
- Ease of navigation
- Secure, efficient functions
- High trust level
- Simple design
It’s also important to A/B test your app to determine which features and design elements work best. The final step is to build excitement and awareness of your app through social media engagement and other digital marketing best practices.
Final Thoughts About Property Rental Apps
Between more business travel and a crunch when it comes to finding safe, reasonable temporary housing options, the need for affordable lodgings is on the rise. By creating an app that puts property owners and potential renters together in a more granular and beneficial way, you could become the next rising star in the digital property listing sphere.