How to Make a Website Like AirBnB

Ben Sibley

“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”

Ready to launch the next AirBnB?

As popular as AirBnB has become so quickly, there is plenty of space for competition. Especially if you have an idea for a unique twist on the concept.

All you need to do is target a more specific niche that could use a service like AirBnB and thanks to their scale, people will already be familiar with the model.

How to make a site like AirBnB

With the modern tools that are now at your fingertips, it no longer takes an army of expert coders, months of work and re-work, or thousands of your hard-earned dollars to make a project like this happen.

You can get a site like AirBnB online in a matter of days and you can do it all for less than $200.

If you follow the steps provided below, with a little computer-savvy and elbow grease, you can be up-and-running with your new site in no time at all.

Here’s a sneak peek at the site you’ll create:

WP Rentals
This is a popular design, but other layouts are available

The first thing you’ll need is a basic WordPress site that will load at the domain of your choosing.

1. Purchase a domain

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a domain name is the name you enter into your browser’s address bar to visit a site. For instance, this site’s domain name is

find a domain name

Choosing the right name is important for the sake of the people who will be typing it in, and for marketing and branding. A short, memorable name that reinforces your brand will be best.

The less confusion for potential customers, the better. If you’ve already named your business and the name isn’t available, search for the closest and simplest alternative, including easy-to-remember acronyms.

But don’t buy your domain name just yet because there’s a way you can get it for free.

2. Find hosting

The next thing to do is find a reputable hosting company.

A web host will store your website on their servers, so it can be accessed 24/7 with minimal downtime. Look for a company that provides support when there are issues, has ample server space, and a good reputation.

While you’re free to select whichever host you’d like, my recommendation is to use Bluehost.

I hosted my first WordPress site with Bluehost 8 years ago and they still remain reliable and affordable for new webmasters.

3. Create a basic WordPress website

WordPress is simple and free to use, and as an open-source project, it will always remain free.

Installing WordPress is a little bit technical, but not that hard for a non-tech savvy user. However, most web hosts have an auto-installer that will handle the whole process for you. Bluehost takes things a step further.

When you signup with Bluehost, they’ll automatically create a WordPress site for you at the domain of your choosing. By the time you’re finished signing up, you’ll have a brand new WP site ready to go.

We have a complete WordPress setup guide you can follow to ensure you complete all the steps necessary.

Create WordPress Site
Follow the step-by-step instructions to create your first WP site.

Once you have this done, you’ll be able to login to your site anytime at

4. Get the right WordPress theme

To get your simple website to look like AirBnB, the next step is to get a theme tailored for this use.

A theme is a pre-built template that has everything you need already coded and ready to go. You’ll also have the option to install additional “plugins” which are small pieces of software which add more functionality to WordPress sites (eg. improved SEO, additional languages, social media sharing, and much more.)

Making a site like AirBnB requires a ton of functionality including two different membership options for the property owners and the renters. Out of all the themes available, WP Rentals stands out as the best choice.

WP Rentals
This is one of many designs available in the WP Rentals theme

WP Rentals is a professionally designed theme made specifically for listing and booking unique spaces across the globe. With functionalities like setting custom pricing for each period, room discounts, calendar management, and handling multiple currencies, you won’t find a more robust WordPress theme out there for this specific purpose.

WP Rentals Features

If this is your first website, the customer support might stand out as a major concern for you, so lets start there.

Customer support

This theme comes highly regarded, with a 4.7 rating based on over 250 reviews. It has been developed and updated since 2015 and continues to improve with new design features and options. You’ll also appreciate the well-documented support website that will likely answer all of your questions.

Topics discussed include full user manuals, installation tutorials, and the ability to submit a support ticket which the team will respond to, usually within 24 hours. Support also sends out a newsletter to let you know everything that’s going on right as it’s happening.

You can also join their Facebook page to connect with other theme users, share ideas and ask questions. The page provides various guides on topics such as ways to monetize a real estate site, create effective landing pages, and sync bookings with iCalendar.


If you prefer getting instant answers rather than waiting for a reply from support, you may enjoy the many video tutorials the developers have created for WP Rentals users.

Topics currently covered include Google Maps help, PayPal setup, creating separate users on registration, using private messages to contact property owners, and more.

Quick setup

When you view the WP Rentals page, you’ll quickly notice that there are a handful of demo sites available (not pictured here). You can use the demo importer included in WP Rentals to instantly setup your site just like any of these demo sites.

This is a great way to get a quick start on your site. Not to mention, customizing the site will be easier when starting from a demo installation rather than from scratch.

The developers also continue to add new demos as well, so you can find something that suits your needs.

The features

There’s honestly a huge amount of functionality in this theme, but this curated list will give you a pretty idea of that you can do with WP Rentals.

  • List, search for, and book rooms, houses, and other rental properties
  • Set custom prices any time you need, including special discounts, weekend prices, discounts for extended stays, security deposit, taxes, and whatever you require
  • Set a minimum stay and extra fee per additional guests
  • Set fees for cleaning, city, and anything you want
  • Google map implementation to clearly show your location(s) with custom pins
  • Options provided for users looking to list properties (registration, submit rentals, manage reservation from their own accounts)
  • Package includes Visual Composer and Slider Revolution
  • Earn money with your new platform – a percentage of bookings, memberships, etc. using stripe or PayPal
  • Don’t forget that attractive responsive theme! Show off a great looking site on any and every device.
  • Newest Update: two new demos, send messages without logging in, featured property, and more

Alternative Themes

If you’d like to explore other options and compare different themes, here are a few suggested alternatives that might suit your taste and target audience better.


Listable is a good theme for making a rental directory site and will help you to manage a local or global directory. Monetize easily with WooCommerce support and various extension integrations. Sell listing packages, subscription packages, and whatever you can come up with.


Use the listing cards for a variety of things from places, events, to activities. It also keeps things simple so you’re not overwhelmed with lots of features that you won’t use. But for extra functionality, they provide free plugins that are easily installed.

The great support team has done a number of usability studies to gain customer feedback and continue improving their offerings.


ListingPro is a WordPress directory theme with extensive documentation, support, and video tutorials to get you started as quickly and painlessly as possible. The team continues to introduce new features and keeps the design current and trendy.


This theme has been awarded as the number one Best Seller in directory and listings in 2017 and was given a five-star award for customer service based on over 150 reviews. There are many niche demos provided so you can get your business started in as little time as possible.

Features include Google Map integration, customized pins, user-friendly dashboard full of useful tools, and an intelligent search feature that provides users suggestions as they type. While used for Yelp-style websites, this theme can be used for an AirBnB-type service.

Launch Time

After successfully completing the steps indicated above, you should be ready to launch your new AirBnB-like website! Just imagine doing that a few years ago… What you can accomplish now wouldn’t have been possible so quickly or with so little budget.

Let’s go over the steps one last time:

  1. Get a good domain name
  2. Create an account with Bluehost
  3. Install WordPress on your site
  4. Get a theme (I recommend WP Rentals)
  5. Launch your site!

It will take some time to get used to using WordPress and learn how to use the featured that come included in the theme you choose, but there won’t be any technical roadblocks. Everything can be done from consumer-friendly interfaces without writing a single line of code.

With some ambition and hard work, there’s not much standing in the way of creating your own website like AirBnB.

Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley
Ben Sibley is a WordPress theme designer & developer, and founder of Compete Themes.

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