Easy steps to building a website like Airbnb

by M Ismail Wed Apr 15

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It took Airbnb years to build out its marketplace website. The team has created one of the best UI UX design experience used ruby on rails library for software development. They have matured their marketplace website over 7 years (and continues to daily improve UI UX & flows even now). 

Today, Airbnb is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of any ecommerce website with great design. For this reason, many business owners want a website similar to Airbnb when it comes to building an ecommerce marketplace product.

Building Airbnb like the product is not easy as it takes time and money to get perfection. However, if you are you for the challenge, building a website like Airbnb is absolutely possible by following this methodology.

Understand the pain point intimately 

It is important to first know why you need to build a platform like Airbnb? What is the pain point you need to solve with a marketplace e-commerce website? Is the pain point so critical, that people are willing to pay money to have it solved? Yes? How do you know? Do you have quotes from people other than your friends who told you so? 

Define an MVP & launch it

Ok, so you can’t build a website like Airbnb on a shoestring budget. You need to just choose a few features and launch what is called a minimum viable product! You can choose to launch an MVP using a pre-made template like Squarespace or tribe, which can help you test your concept.

If you decide after the MVP it’s worth investing in creating something more like an Airbnb product, here is the process.

Create a wireframe 

A website wireframe is a low-fidelity static design that provides insight on how your ecommerce product will work and what the core features are in your MVP. Yes, you still need to think MVP, as you need to still stay lean! 

Wireframe allows visualization of the feature and product, helping you with her development team and investors to understand the product. 

Create a high-fidelity click-through design

A high-fidelity click-through design is interactive but without code. It is very close to the final website design you intend to build and helps you and your developers understand user journeys. 

Create user stories

Your ecommerce website design should be presented with user stories like “user can forget password & reset using email reset URL which will be sent via email”. You can create compelling stories in tools such as Jira for basecamp or Trello. Make sure to highlight the unique features and define them clearly for developers. 

PS Professional software houses will do this all for you.

Choose the language and framework to use

To build a website like Airbnb, you need to choose a tech stack. Airbnb is built on ruby on rails, other famous marketplaces are built on PHP so you will need guidance from your tech team which is best and why. They should explain to you why libraries in one are better than others.

Test Test Test

Iterative testing is crucial in building a website similar to Airbnb. This allows you to eliminate usability issues at different stages of development. It provides you the chance to perfect your website by testing, evaluating, redesigning, and retesting before it is launched.


After your website has successfully passed through the iterative testing, then it’s time to launch it. Make sure you choose a reliable hosting like AWS to host your site so speed can be fast and data secured. 

Airbnb Website Development Process Infographic

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Have you got the patience needed to build a website like Airbnb? If you do, you should get in touch with us and we would love to provide you more guidance on how to go about it!


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