How To Develop A Rental Booking App Like Vrbo

Vacation rental applications have gained popularity due to their convenience for travel enthusiasts. Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owners, is a leading rental marketplace enabling property owners to rent out their spaces to travelers. 

With the tourist business expanding significantly, entrepreneurs are turning to platforms such as Vrbo, resulting in increased competition in vacation rentals. The rental marketplace sector, highlighted by Vrbo, is a fast-growing area of the tourism business with bright future potential.

Several factors are fueling the growth of rental marketplaces like Vrbo, including the increasing population participating in the sharing economy, rising demand for short-term rentals, widespread adoption of mobile applications, and technological advancements.

In this article, understand the development process of an app similar to Vrbo. We will also explore the business benefits and features required for developing such an application.

Online Vacation Rental Market Stats

The vacation rental market presents lucrative opportunities, offering a vast potential for growth and investment. Here are market stats indicating why it is a good time to invest in rental booking app development: 

What Is A Vrbo App?

The Vrbo app, which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner, is a platform designed for vacation rental listings. 

The app allows property owners to list their homes for rent while enabling travelers to book them directly through the app. Vrbo offers a wide range of accommodations, from spacious cabins in the mountains suitable for group ski trips to traditional suburban homes and even unique dwellings like the “Cockpit Cabana” in Costa Rica, where guests sleep inside a remodeled airplane overlooking the ocean.

In 2023, Vrbo collaborated with Expedia and to introduce One Key, a loyalty program that allows members to earn and redeem rewards across all three platforms. This initiative aims to provide loyal travelers with benefits across multiple platforms, something that Airbnb, a larger player in the vacation rental market, lacks due to the absence of a rewards program.

Business Benefits Of Developing A Rental Booking App

A rental booking app offers numerous advantages for businesses, including increased efficiency, broader customer reach, streamlined operations, and enhanced user experience. Harnessing these benefits can drive growth and profitability. Here are the benefits in detail:

1. Extended Market Reach

A rental booking app expands the market reach for businesses beyond traditional marketing channels. With an online platform, businesses can access an international audience of travelers who prefer the convenience and accessibility of booking accommodations online.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Central to the success of a rental booking app is its ability to deliver an outstanding customer experience. By designing an intuitive and user-friendly interface, businesses enable travelers to easily search, compare, and book rental properties based on their preferences and requirements. Providing real-time availability information ensures transparency and reduces the risk of double bookings, enhancing trust and reliability.

3. Streamlined Operations

Automating various aspects of the booking process streamlines operations for both property owners and managers. Through the app, reservations can be managed efficiently, with features for confirming bookings, handling cancellations, and updating availability in real-time. Additionally, integrating secure payment processing simplifies financial transactions, reducing the need for manual invoicing and reconciliation.  

4. Insights from Data Analytics

A rental booking app offers valuable insights through data analytics, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning for businesses. By analyzing booking patterns and user behavior, businesses can gain insights into customer preferences, including preferred locations, amenities, and booking timelines.  

5. Brand Visibility and Recognition

Developing a rental booking app presents branding opportunities for businesses to reinforce their identity and increase brand recognition. Customizing the app with the business logo, colors, and messaging creates a cohesive brand experience for users, enhancing brand recall and loyalty.  

6. Competitive Advantage

In a competitive market landscape, a rental booking app can provide a significant competitive advantage for businesses. Leveraging technology to offer innovative features and personalized experiences sets the app apart from competitors, attracting users seeking convenience and efficiency.  

Must Have Features In An App Like Vrbo 

Developing an app like Vrbo requires a comprehensive collection of features that provide consumers with a streamlined experience for searching, booking, and managing vacation rentals.  Here are the key features to have in an app like Vrbo

I. For Users Looking For Rental Properties

For travelers seeking ideal vacation rentals, the app offers seamless profile management and advanced search features, ensuring a tailored experience with comprehensive accommodation details for confident booking decisions. Here are features to consider

1. Profile Management

Users can effortlessly create and update their profiles by entering basic information or linking their social media accounts, ensuring a seamless experience. Profiles include photos, preferences, and contact information.

2. Advanced Property Search and Filters

Guests can easily find properties by applying various filters such as location, property ID, check-in and check-out dates, and user reviews for a tailored search experience. Additional filters include property type, amenities, and price range.

3. Comprehensive Accommodation Details

Users can access detailed information about accommodations including room status, image galleries, maps, social media integration, and amenities, fostering trust and confidence in their booking decisions. Additionally, users can view virtual tours and read verified guest reviews.

4. Currency and Language Conversion

A personalized touch allows users to adjust currency and language settings based on their preferences and location, enhancing accessibility and user experience. Users can also view prices in multiple currencies and access multilingual customer support.

5. Trip Boards and Saved Properties

Users can create trip boards to organize and save their favorite destinations and properties, and even invite others to collaborate, facilitating efficient trip planning. Additionally, users can share their trip boards with friends and family via social media.

6. Hotel Information

Detailed insights into hotels including room availability, pricing, discounts, and amenities empower users to customize their stays and make informed decisions. Users can also view hotel policies, check-in/check-out times, and nearby attractions.

7. Influencer Recommendations

Influencers and celebrities can recommend properties based on their experiences, providing valuable insights for users during their decision-making process. Users can also follow influencers and receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences.

8. Property Listing

Property owners can easily list their properties on the app and estimate potential earnings, streamlining the process of renting out their homes. Listings include detailed descriptions, high-quality photos, and flexible pricing options.

9. Review Submission

Users can submit three types of reviews – property reviews, rental experiences, and property complaints, providing valuable feedback for both property owners and prospective guests. Reviews are moderated for authenticity and reliability.

10. Reservation Cancellation

Users have the flexibility to cancel their bookings with ease, and can also request booking cancellations directly from property owners. Cancellation policies are clearly outlined, and users receive instant refunds for eligible cancellations.

11. Premier Host Program

Premier Hosts are recognized for providing exceptional guest experiences, earning badges through high booking rates, low cancellations, and positive reviews and receive priority support and exclusive promotional opportunities.

12. Estimated Costs and Seasonal Trends

Users are provided with insights into seasonal trends, offers, and discounts, helping them make informed decisions and secure reasonable prices for flights and accommodations. Users can also set price alerts and track price fluctuations over time.

13. Secure Payments

The app facilitates secure in-app purchases using various payment options including debit and credit cards, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free booking process. Payments are processed using 

II. For Owners Looking For Property Listing

Empower property owners with our app designed for effortless property listing management. Streamline profile updates, listing creation, property management, and calendar integration for optimal occupancy and revenue potential with the following features:

1. Profile Management 

Property owners can effortlessly update their profile information, including personal details and contact information, directly within the app interface. This streamlined process ensures that owners can keep their information accurate and up-to-date, enhancing communication with potential renters and facilitating smooth transactions.

2. Listing Creation

Owners have the capability to seamlessly create detailed property listings by incorporating descriptions, high-quality photos, engaging videos, competitive rates, and essential contact details, streamlining the process for potential renters. This feature empowers property owners to showcase their properties effectively, attracting more potential renters and maximizing occupancy rates.

3. Property Management 

Property owners can efficiently manage their listings within the app, enabling them to add or remove properties as needed. Additionally, they have the flexibility to update various elements such as photos, videos, and descriptions to ensure accurate representation and enhanced visibility. This intuitive management system saves owners time and effort, allowing them to focus on providing exceptional hospitality to guests.

4. Calendar Integration 

Through calendar integration functionalities, property owners can establish and synchronize reservation calendars with user calendars, facilitating efficient management of bookings and availability. This feature eliminates the risk of double bookings and ensures that property owners can effectively plan and manage their rental schedules, optimizing occupancy rates and revenue potential.

5. Reservation Management 

Property owners can effortlessly oversee all reservations, including the management of instant bookings and the ability to make modifications directly from their inbox, ensuring a seamless booking experience for both hosts and guests. This streamlined reservation management process enhances operational efficiency and minimizes the risk of booking errors, providing a positive experience for all parties involved.

6. Review Monitoring 

Property owners gain access to a comprehensive review system, enabling them to monitor and respond to guest feedback effectively. This feature empowers owners to engage with positive reviews and address concerns raised in negative feedback, fostering improved guest satisfaction and retention. By actively managing reviews, property owners can enhance their reputation and attract more guests to their properties, driving business growth and success.

How To Develop A Rental Booking App Like Vrbo?

Developing a rental booking app like Vrbo involves understanding user needs, researching market trends, and implementing key features for seamless property listings, booking management, and secure payment processing. Here is a detailed guide:

1. Market Research and Conceptualization

To begin with, it’s crucial to identify the target market for your rental booking app and thoroughly understand their needs and preferences. This involves conducting comprehensive market research to gain insights into the specific demographics, behaviors, and pain points of your potential users. By doing so, you can tailor your app’s features and functionalities to address their requirements effectively.

 2. Wireframing and Prototyping

With the conceptual foundation in place, the next step is to create wireframes and prototypes that visualize the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of your app. Wireframing involves sketching out the layout and structure of each screen in the app, focusing on the arrangement of elements and navigation flow.

Prototyping, on the other hand, involves creating interactive mockups of the app that simulate user interactions and workflows. These prototypes allow stakeholders and potential users to experience the app’s functionality firsthand and provide feedback for improvements.

 3. Backend Development

Once the UI/UX designs are finalized, the next step is to set up the backend infrastructure for your app. This involves building the underlying systems and architecture that will support the app’s functionality, including servers, databases, and APIs.

Choosing the appropriate technologies and frameworks for backend development is crucial for ensuring scalability, security, and performance. Whether you opt for traditional server-based architectures or modern cloud-based solutions, it’s important to select technologies that align with your app’s requirements and long-term goals.

4. Frontend Development

With the backend infrastructure in place, the frontend development phase involves bringing the UI/UX designs to life. Depending on your app’s requirements and target platforms, you can choose to develop the frontend using technologies such as React Native for cross-platform development or native platforms like iOS and Android.

5. Integration of Payment Gateway

One of the critical components of a rental booking app is the integration of a secure payment gateway to facilitate transactions within the app. Selecting a reliable payment gateway provider based on factors such as transaction fees, supported payment methods, and security features is essential for ensuring smooth and secure payment processing.

6. Booking and Reservation System

Another key feature of a rental booking app is the booking and reservation system, which allows users to search for rental listings, view availability, and make bookings. Developing this functionality involves implementing features such as real-time availability updates, calendar integration, and booking confirmation notifications.

7. User Authentication and Profiles

Ensuring secure user authentication is crucial for protecting user data and maintaining trust in your app. Implementing mechanisms such as email/password login, social media login, or two-factor authentication (2FA) helps in verifying user identities and preventing unauthorized access.

8. Testing and Deployment

Once the development phase is complete, thorough testing of the app is necessary to identify and fix any bugs, usability issues, or performance bottlenecks. This involves conducting various types of testing, including unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT), to ensure that the app meets quality standards and delivers a seamless user experience.

Revenue Models For An App Like VRBO

Monetizing an app like Vrbo demands a well-thought-out strategy that maintains a balance between money development and user value. When developing an app similar to Vrbo to generate revenue, there are various models to consider:

1. Service Fees

Implementing a dynamic fee structure, adjusting charges based on peak seasons or property popularity, enhances revenue flexibility while ensuring fairness to users and encouraging continued engagement with the app.

2. Premium Services

Expand premium offerings to include virtual property tours, personalized listing consultations, and concierge services, catering to hosts seeking comprehensive support and maximizing revenue potential from value-added services.

3. Advertising and Sponsorships

Diversify advertising options to include targeted in-app promotions, sponsored content, and exclusive deals, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses and boosting revenue through innovative advertising solutions.

4. Data Insights 

Enhance data analytics capabilities to provide customized insights tailored to specific user segments, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and offering premium data packages with in-depth market analysis for higher revenue opportunities.

5. Partnerships

Forge strategic alliances with travel influencers, destination marketing organizations, and hospitality brands to offer exclusive perks and discounts, driving user acquisition and revenue growth through collaborative marketing efforts and referral programs.

6. Subscription Model

Introduce premium subscription tiers with advanced features such as instant booking confirmation, priority customer support, and exclusive access to partner discounts, enticing hosts to upgrade and generating recurring revenue streams for sustained profitability. 

Top 5 Vacation Rental Apps Like Vrbo In The Market Right Now

Explore these top five alternatives in the market for inspiration and insights into features, user experience helping businesses to develop a vacation rental app like Vrbo

1. Airbnb


Airbnb stands out as one of the most renowned vacation rental platforms, offering a plethora of “unforgettable experiences” accessible right from your smartphone. With an intuitive interface, users can effortlessly search for listings, book accommodations, and explore local activities. The app simplifies communication between guests and hosts, ensuring a seamless experience throughout.

2. TripAdvisor


As a popular travel and restaurant review platform, TripAdvisor extends its services to a user-friendly app available on both iOS and Android devices. Offering comprehensive reviews of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and more, it assists travelers in making informed decisions on the go. With its convenient interface, users can access valuable information, enhancing their overall travel experience.

3. Couchsurfing


Couchsurfing provides a unique opportunity to connect with locals and experience hospitality firsthand by staying at their homes. While it offers a budget-friendly alternative, it’s important to note the inherent risks involved. Through the app, travelers can engage with hosts, forge new friendships, and gain insights into the local culture. While staying with hosts is typically free, guests are encouraged to show appreciation through gestures like treating their hosts to dinner or drinks.


Established in Amsterdam in 1996, has evolved into a prominent travel app for vacation rentals. Boasting over 28 million listings spread across 141,975 locations in 230 countries and available in over 40 languages, it offers a vast array of options. Known for its competitive pricing, is a go-to choice for travelers seeking affordable yet quality accommodations.

5. Expedia


Expedia Group, a prominent online travel company based in the US, offers a diverse range of vacation rental options, including private homes, lodges, and BnBs. With two distinct payment models – Hotel Collection and Expedia Collect – hosts have flexibility in managing their rentals. While Hotel Collection incurs a 15% commission when guests pay directly to hosts, Expedia Collect involves a 20% commission with payments routed through Expedia.

Cost Affecting Factors To Consider To Develop A Rental Booking App Like Vrbo

Developing a rental booking app similiar to Vrbo demands a thorough consideration of various cost-affecting factors. Understanding these factors ensures efficient planning and budget allocation for successful app development.

1. Features and Functionality

The complexity and range of features you want in your app will significantly impact development costs. Features such as property listings, search filters, booking and payment systems, messaging/chat functionality, user reviews, and host management tools will all contribute to development expenses.

2. Platform Selection

Deciding whether to develop the app for a single platform (iOS or Android) or multiple platforms (cross-platform development) will affect costs. Cross-platform development using frameworks like React Native or Flutter may be more cost-effective than developing separate native apps for each platform.

3. Design and User Experience (UX/UI)

Creating an intuitive and visually appealing user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is crucial for a successful rental booking app. Costs will vary depending on the complexity of design elements, customization, and the need for graphic designers and UX/UI specialists.

4. Integration with Third-Party Services

Integrating your app with third-party services such as payment gateways (e.g., Stripe, PayPal), mapping and geolocation services (e.g., Google Maps API), and communication tools (e.g., Twilio for SMS) can add to development costs. Consideration should be given to subscription fees, API usage charges, and development time for integration.

5. Scalability and Backend Infrastructure

Building a scalable backend infrastructure to handle a growing number of users and property listings is essential. Costs associated with server hosting, database management, and backend development (using technologies like Node.js, Django, or Firebase) should be considered, along with ongoing maintenance expenses.

6. Data Security and Compliance

Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) is crucial for handling user data and payment information securely. Implementing robust security measures and compliance protocols will add to development and ongoing maintenance costs.

7. Testing and Quality Assurance

Thorough testing and quality assurance (QA) processes are necessary to identify and fix bugs, ensure app functionality across different devices and platforms, and provide a smooth user experience. Costs associated with testing tools, QA specialists, and beta testing phases should be budgeted for.

Here’s an estimated cost range for each factors

FactorsEstimated Cost
Features and Functionality$50,000 – $200,000+
Platform Selection$20,000 – $100,000+ per platform
Design and User Experience (UX/UI)$10,000 – $50,000+
Integration with Third-Party Services$10,000 – $50,000+
Scalability and Backend Infrastructure$20,000 – $100,000+
Data Security and Compliance$10,000 – $50,000+
Testing and Quality Assurance$5,000 – $30,000+

Tech Stack To Consider To Develop A Rental Booking App

Developing a rental booking app involves considering various factors such as user experience, scalability, security, and performance. Here’s a tech stack you may want to consider for building a rental booking app:

1. Frontend Development

  • Framework/Library: React.js, Angular, Vue.js
  • Styling: CSS preprocessors like Sass or Less, CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Material UI
  • State Management: Redux, Context API (React), Vuex (Vue.js)

2. Backend Development

  • Programming Language: Node.js (JavaScript), Python (Django/Flask), Ruby (Ruby on Rails), Java (Spring Boot)
  • Database: MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Firebase (for real-time updates)
  • API Development: RESTful APIs or GraphQL

3. Mobile App Development  

  • Native: Swift for iOS, Kotlin for Android
  • Cross-Platform: React Native, Flutter

4. Authentication and Authorization

  • JWT (JSON Web Tokens) for secure authentication
  • OAuth 2.0 for third-party authentication (e.g., Google, Facebook login)

5. Payment Integration

  • Stripe, PayPal, Braintree for payment processing
  • Apple Pay, Google Pay for mobile payments

6. Geolocation Services

  • Google Maps API, Mapbox API for location-based services
  • Geocoding services for address conversion to coordinates and vice versa

7. Notifications

  • Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), or Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) for push notifications

8. Search and Filtering

  • Elasticsearch for advanced search capabilities
  • Algolia for fast and relevant search results

9. Hosting and Deployment

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure for cloud hosting
  • Docker and Kubernetes for containerization and orchestration
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, or GitLab CI

10. Security

  • HTTPS for secure communication
  • SSL/TLS certificates for data encryption
  • OWASP guidelines for web application security

11. Analytics and Monitoring

  • Google Analytics, Mixpanel for user analytics
  • Sentry, Rollbar for error tracking and logging

12. Performance Optimization

  • CDN (Content Delivery Network) for static asset delivery
  • Server-side and client-side caching mechanisms
  • Lazy loading of assets and components

13. Scalability

  • Horizontal scaling with load balancers
  • Database sharding or clustering for handling large datasets

14. Testing

  • Unit testing frameworks like Jest, Mocha, Jasmine
  • End-to-end testing with tools like Selenium, Cypress, Puppeteer

15. Documentation

  • Swagger/OpenAPI for API documentation
  • Markdown for internal and external documentation

14. Version Control

  • Git for version control
  • GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket for repository management and collaboration


Rental booking apps, such as Vrbo, provide enormous opportunities for potential app entrepreneurs. Developing an app like Vrbo gives businesses a platform to capitalize on the growing demand for travel accommodation, allowing them to enter a profitable market.  

To stand out in a competitive field, a powerful rental booking software must be built with extensive market research, creative features, and a flawless user experience. While rental booking apps like Vrbo offer great opportunities for dedicated businesses, they also bring substantial challenges. 

Collaborating with an app development company can assist avoid these problems and maximize the potential of this successful industry, assuring the venture’s success and sustainability.

How Can We Help Developing A Rental Booking App Like Vrbo?

At Idea Usher, we excel in developing rental booking apps inspired by leading platforms like Vrbo. 

Our team specializes in integrating essential features for seamless user experiences, including streamlined property listings, secure payment gateways, interactive maps, and user-friendly interfaces for hosts and guests. 

With a proven track record of serving over 500 clients, ranging from industry giants like Gold’s Gym and Honda to emerging brands, we are committed to driving business growth through custom rental booking apps. 

Contact us today to discover how our expertise in app development can help you in developing your rental booking app.

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Q. How much will it cost to create an app similar to VRBO?

A: The development cost for travel apps like VRBO can vary widely based on factors like features, platforms, and complexity. For an accurate estimate, consulting with an experienced mobile app development company is recommended.

Q. How long does it typically take to develop an app like VRBO?

A. Developing an app like VRBO usually takes between 4 to 12 months. The timeline can fluctuate depending on factors such as complexity, features, team size, and available resources. Effective planning and a proficient development team can streamline the process, leading to a quicker time-to-market.

Q. What is the cost of maintaining a mobile app?

A.  Mobile app maintenance costs vary depending on factors like complexity, updates, and bug fixes. Generally, it accounts for around 15% to 20% of the app development cost annually.

Q. Is it essential to have a web version of the app alongside the mobile version?

A. Having a web version can offer additional accessibility and convenience for users who prefer desktop or laptop usage. It can also serve as a marketing tool and contribute to search engine visibility. Engaging the services of web and mobile app maintenance providers proactively is advisable to ensure both platforms stay updated.

Q. What are the advantages of developing an app like VRBO?

A.  Building an app like VRBO comes with numerous benefits worth exploring. These include tapping into a lucrative vacation rental market, generating revenue from property listings, providing enhanced travel experiences, and establishing trust among users through reputable platforms. 

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