You may not be a frequent traveler, but you’ve almost certainly heard of Airbnb. After all, this company is valued at over $110 billion, and guests have booked more than 1 billion stays in more than 100,000 cities.

A lot of factors play into Airbnb’s popularity and profitability, including the Airbnb API (short for Application Programming Interface), which the company launched in 2017. Did you know that you can utilize the Airbnb API when developing an app or website for your business?

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Airbnb API, from how it works and what you can do with it to the best ways to incorporate it into an app or website.

What Is an API?

Before we dive into the Airbnb API, specifically, let’s take a step back and explore APIs more generally. API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface, and it is a tool that makes app development easier. 

APIs feature a variety of operations (as well as descriptions of those operations) that development teams use to create apps that perform specific functions. Developers don’t always know exactly how each operation works, but they know what they do and how they will contribute to the finished app.

APIs act as messengers between one application and the data produced by a different application.

Need an example? Let’s say you’re using a real estate app to look up data on a specific property. A real estate API will collect that information from a variety of sources and deliver it to you.

By using an API, an app developer or development team can eliminate some of the most time-consuming aspects of creating or making improvements to an app. For example, they don’t have to worry about creating as much code from scratch, which frees them up to focus on other important things.

APIs also allow for more uniformity across apps created for the same platform. If your company plans to launch several apps, your developers can use certain APIs to ensure they look and work similarly, which creates a better user experience for your customers.

How Does the Airbnb API Work?

Several years ago, Airbnb launched its API and made it available for other businesses to utilize. However, Airbnb doesn’t let just anyone use this API.

Airbnb is — and has been since the API launched — picky about which companies they partner with. Your business will need to apply before it can receive access (don’t worry, you’ll learn more about that later in the guide).

The Airbnb API allows developers to build high-performing applications with the help of Oauth security protocols.

Oauth is frequently used by companies that want to provide internet users with access to an app or website without having to give them the password to do so. Lots of companies use Oauth, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

With Airbnb’s API, developers can use Oauth to access accounts and update listings, as well as rates, rental availability, and content. Messaging can be built into the app with the help of the Airbnb API, too.

Why Should You Use the Airbnb API?

The Airbnb API allows businesses and their development teams to access a vast, unique marketplace and create high-quality apps that help them better serve their customers. The following are some specific benefits you’ll enjoy if you gain approval from the company and start using the Airbnb API:

Better Customer Experience

As all business owners know, a good customer experience is essential to any company’s success. If people find it easy to use your app and can quickly search listings, read reviews, peruse availability dates, and book their stay, they’re going to be more inclined to continue working with you in the future.

APIs — and especially the Airbnb API — help businesses create better and more seamless user experiences for their customers. They allow app users (hosts, guests, etc.) to quickly find what they need and navigate their way through the app without having to waste precious time searching for specific information.

Airbnb didn’t become a multi-billion-dollar business with a difficult-to-use, poorly designed app. If you want to provide your customers with a similar experience, the Airbnb API can help you to get there.

Faster App Development and Updates

Can you have a high-performing, competitive app without the Airbnb API? Of course, you can! 

However, it will likely take longer for your development team to get this app up and running — or make the needed updates — to get it working as well as you want and need. That means you’ll lose valuable time that you’ll have to make up for later, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to build a profitable business.

Because APIs eliminate a lot of the heavy lifting associated with app development, they help you to get a high-quality finished product sooner. This, in turn, allows you to start gaining more customers and earning more money faster.

Streamlined Operations

The Airbnb API doesn’t just make life easier and more enjoyable for your customers. It also benefits you and everyone else on your property management team, from developers to customer service representatives.

With the help of the Airbnb API, you will be able to manage all your rental properties in one place and keep track of them without having to jump back and forth across various platforms. This streamlines workflows for all members of your team and allows you to be more efficient and productive.

It doesn’t matter if you need to manage reservations, update listing information, schedule maintenance appointments, or work around guests to book cleaning services. You can do everything faster and more accurately than ever with Airbnb’s API.

Increased Reservations

By streamlining operations on the business end and improving the user experience, you will find that more people are interested in working with your business and booking reservations at your properties.

The more demand there is for your rentals, the less you’ll have to worry about filling vacancies or dealing with the added expenses that come with them. All of this, in turn, helps you to run a more consistent and successful business. 

Increased Profitability

What happens when you run a streamlined, highly productive business and can easily manage your company’s rental properties? In most cases, you’ll also end up making more money from your rentals, will have fewer vacancies, and will have a more profitable company.

Every business owner wants to maximize their earnings and generate more income, right? By improving operations and simplifying the property management process, you can set yourself and your team up to make this happen.

Increased Credibility

Utilizing the Airbnb API can help with your business’s credibility, too.

A whopping 90 percent of app users say that they will abandon an app altogether if it performs poorly and is difficult to use.

That doesn’t bode well for your bottom line, does it? To make matters worse, it also impacts your credibility and may cause people to think poorly of your company, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to generate new customers and build a thriving business.

If you want people to trust you, you need to make sure your app looks good and performs well. Working with the Airbnb API can help you to accomplish these goals sooner and see better results now and in the future.  

How to Get the Airbnb API

Does the Airbnb API sound appealing to you? Do you think it could help you to boost your rental business? If so, here are the steps you’ll need to take to get your hands on this precious API:

Register with Airbnb

If you haven’t already, the first thing you’ll need to do is get registered on the Airbnb platform. Go to the Airbnb partner section on the Airbnb website. Then, press the Login button and select the “Sign up” option located at the bottom of the popup window.

From here, you’ll have the option to create a new account using your Facebook or Google account. You can also create an account from scratch with your email address — no matter which option you choose, you’ll still have to fill in a brief form, so pick the one that is easiest for you.

Accept Airbnb’s Official Statements

Before you can officially register, you’ll need to review and accept the Community Commitment and Terms of Use documents from Airbnb. These documents provide key insight into the principles Airbnb supports, you need to ensure your app and company comply with them.

Verify Phone Number

The last step to registering with Airbnb is supplying your phone number. Select your country from the dropdown menu, then enter your phone number and click the “Confirm” button.

After you do this, you’ll receive a 4-digit code via text message. Enter this code into the field and your account will automatically be confirmed.

Apply to Be a Partner 

Currently, Airbnb is not accepting new API access requests. However, i’s still a good idea to register with the site so that you can get familiar with and carry out other tasks on the app.

Airbnb’s primary method of selecting partners has to do with the company’s own research and evaluations. They base their decision on a variety of factors, including your business’s supply opportunity, the strength of its existing technology, and your ability to effectively support shared customers. 

Do you think your business has what it takes to partner with Airbnb? If so, the best way to get noticed is to contact the Airbnb global support team. To do this, fill in the form at the bottom of the Prohost Airbnb page and submit it as soon as possible. 

Integrating and Using the Airbnb API

After your business gains access to the Airbnb API, you’ll be connected to an integration consultant. They are trained to guide you through the integration process and help you get everything set up as quickly as possible.

It’s best if the integration consultant works with your development team. Your development team, ideally, will be well-versed in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, as well as C# and the .NET development framework. All of these skills are essential to setting up and using the Airbnb API, as well as getting the most out of it.

Bonus App Development Tips

Gaining access to the Airbnb API would be a huge win for any company looking to build a business that’s anywhere near as successful as Airbnb. As you now know, though, getting a hold of this API isn’t exactly easy to do.

While you wait for partner approval, you don’t just have to sit around and twiddle your thumbs. There are plenty of other steps you and your team can take to create an app like Airbnb and continue building a successful business, including these:

Get to Know Your Target Audience

Start by thinking about who uses or will be using your app and working with your business. The following are some types of people whom you might include when making this list: 

  • Travelers looking for affordable places to stay
  • People traveling for business
  • People traveling with their families
  • People who want to earn extra income from renting out host properties

Be sure to dig deeper into these people, too. For example, what is the average age of your target customer? What is their gender? What kinds of hobbies do they have? 

Once you know whom you’re trying to reach with your business, you can start making plans to create an app — or update an existing one — so that it best serves them. For example, you’ll need to think about their preferences and what kinds of features or design elements appeal to them.

You’ll also need to consider what qualities they’re not getting from other apps and businesses that they could get from yours. In other words, what problems and frustrations can you resolve with your app?

Evaluate Current Competitors

One of the best ways to learn about your audience and their potential problems or pain points is to evaluate your competitors. Take a look at other businesses that are currently doing what you want to do. This might include researching other rental property managers or others working in the hospitality industry.

Remember, the goal here is not to copy anyone else. However, competitor research does help you to see what’s working and what isn’t for other businesses in your field. You can then use this information to improve your own offerings and create a better experience for your customers.

Even if you don’t have access to the Airbnb API right away, you should still be doing whatever you can to improve the user experience. Keep in mind, too, that if you’re known for providing a great experience, this may help you to curry Airbnb’s favor and increase your chances of being approved to use the API.

Consider Distribution Channel Options

In general, the more ways people have to access your app and work with your business, the more likely they are to actually follow through and partner with you. In addition to launching an app on the iOS and Google Play stores, you may also want to provide access through your website or via social media.

Make sure you consider all potential distribution options, then go back to the research you did on your target audience. Pick the options that are most relevant to your target customer to ensure they can find your business and take advantage of your services right away.

Proper distribution is key when you’re launching an app or making changes to your business’s existing app, so it’s crucial that you take this step seriously. Instead of wasting time and resources on platforms that the majority of your audience doesn’t use, do your research and focus on those that are most likely to generate a high response rate.

Consider Cost Structure and Budget

The cost of hiring developers to create or update an app is just part of the process of building a successful business. The following are some other costs you’ll want to keep in mind when putting together your budget:

  • Website and app maintenance
  • Employee salaries and benefits
  • Online payment platform fees (MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, etc.)
  • Marketing and promotional costs
  • Insurance premiums

Factor all of these costs in when making plans for your business and budgeting for the future.

It can be expensive to make updates to your app and finetune your business — even though these improvements often save you money and help you to be more profitable in the long run. The more preparation you do now, the better off you and your team will be later on.

Evaluate Essential Features

If you want to build a business that’s on par with Airbnb, you need to make sure your app provides the kinds of features that your target customers want and need.

Now is a great time to evaluate your app’s features and consider what kinds of additions or adjustments you might need to invest in. Here are some essential ones you might want to include:

  • A simple login or signup process
  • An easy-to-use account management system (to update birthday, email address, phone number, gender, etc.)
  • Push and chat notifications
  • Simple host messaging and interaction options
  • A secure payment method
  • Coupon and referral code options
  • An FAQ section
  • Easy and convenient rate and review options
  • Social sharing features
  • Listing and booking management
  • An admin dashboard
  • Access to booking history and other relevant customer data
  • An easy way to review feedback and complaints

It’s also useful if an app provides account insights to help users evaluate data and make informed decisions for the future.

Work with a Professional Developer

Whether you’re planning on using the Airbnb API or you just want to create an app like the Airbnb app for your business, a professional developer or development team is a must.

Unless you have extensive coding and app development knowledge, you’re going to need some experts on your side who can help you create an impressive app, integrate your existing app with the Airbnb API, and keep things running smoothly in the future.

Here are a few tips that will help you find a professional developer as quickly as possible

  • Ask about experience and find out if they have worked on apps like Airbnb in the past — as well as if they are familiar with the Airbnb API or have worked with it before
  • Check out their portfolio and look at their previous work to see if it looks good, works well, and aligns with your business’s needs and goals
  • Read reviews from past customers to learn about their experience with a particular developer
  • Ask about the project timeline and find out how long it will take to make updates to your existing app or get a new app up and running

Finally, get a quote to see if the developer’s prices fit into your company’s budget.

Remember, too, that cheaper is not always better, especially when it comes to developing a new app or improving an existing one. In business, it’s often worth it to spend a bit more money upfront to get a higher-quality, higher-performing finished product later. 

Take Advantage of the Airbnb API Today

Are you interested in getting your hands on and using the Airbnb API to enhance your business? If so, start by following the steps outlined in this guide.

Even if you don’t get approved to use the Airbnb API right away (don’t worry, this happens to lots of businesses), you’ll at least know what to do to apply so you can set your app and business up for long-term success.

As we have mentioned, a skilled development team is a must to help you integrate the Airbnb API into your app and keep your business running as smoothly as possible.

Are you currently working with any app developers? Do you need extra help using the Airbnb API or creating any other kind of app or website?

If so, contact us at Digital Engage. We can’t wait to hear from you — reach out and  get a free quote today!

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