Airbnb has shown us the way to effectively build a vacation rental platform. Today, anyone can create a platform exactly like Airbnb for next to nothing.Aravinth Ramesh
How difficult is creating your own Airbnb like platform? Not so much. Let's find out why. There used to be days when the only choice of accommodation to book was hotels - be it for business or leisure travel. Accommodation ranging from small boutique hotels to large hotels such as Hilton and Marriott, the choices were many. However, the experience of staying at any hotel would remarkably be similar.
All hotel rooms look alike and they are priced high for most of the year. Airbnb changed all that in 2008. A couple of young friends and roommates - Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia lived in San Francisco. They both shared a small apartment. SF is an expensive city.
It turned out that Brian and Joe could not afford to pay rent, and they decided to put an air mattress in the living room and rent it out for travelers - to make a quick buck. This is when the concept of Air (mattress) + bnb (bed and breakfast) began.
This gave birth to what is today a massively successful lodging brand. The funny thing is, Airbnb themselves don't define themselves as a lodging service provider. They call themselves a customer service company. And it's true.
Airbnb is a remarkably simple platform catered to two sets of customers. Property or home owners who want to generate additional income from renting out a room or an entire house.
And people like you and I, who seek affordable yet unique stays across the world. Airbnb services these two categories of people. And it is successful in doing so for over a decade now.
Their website Airbnb.com and their mobile apps are just a medium to connect these service providers and seekers.
This has led millions of unique listings (which are not hotels) come on-board Airbnb. This is completely disrupted the travel industry. Today travelers have options to book single rooms or entire villas for business or leisure travel.
Other well known brands such as Booking.com and Expedia who list vacation homes as well. But not until Airbnb showed the way first.
According to Statista - the global vacation rental market is pegged at a current value of USD 57,669m in 2019. And is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.4% year-on-year till 2023. Effectively driving the total vacation rental market value to a whopping USD 74,005m by 2023.
The average revenue generated per person stands at USD 194 across the globe, and this metric will only grow. The United States generates the maximum income today, which stands at USD 14,458m in 2019.
However, with high speed 4G internet and startups creating vacation rental platforms are enabling tremendous growth in Asia. It is predicted that Asia will become the largest market for travel and tourism in the next decade.
So, there is a clear opportunity in the Asian and some European markets for innovative vacation rental services or platforms to start and thrive.
Two decades ago, if a hospitality brand such as Hilton wanted to a brand new software platform for its chain of hotels, it either need to hire expensive, talented human resources to create the software inside. Or outsource it to company and pay a lot of money.
Today though, the business landscape has changed. Today a talented programmer or developer can sit in an apartment and whip up a cool software platform and change the hospitality industry. This is exactly what Airbnb and its founders did, way back in 2008.
Today there are a myriad of service providers specifically catering to the hospitality industry who have ready made platforms such as Airbnb. And these platforms can be customized and launched within no time.
So, effectively, you can buy an Airbnb like software for very little money and launch your own vacation rental business within a matter of days. None of this requires you to raise a million dollars or hire a huge team of coders.
However, as Airbnb defines itself as a customer service company, so to should entrepreneurs who step out to disrupt the hospitality industry, should focus on bringing both service providers and travelers on the platform.
I am Aravinth Ramesh, I run a successful tech startup called Rentcubo dot com. We are experts in developing robust, affordable and 100% customizable Airbnb clone scripts.