Airbnb is a highly successful vacation rental platform, and as a result, many developers are clamoring for access to the Airbnb API. APIs play a vital role in modern app development. Many of the features users love in mobile and web apps are made possible through the power of API connection.
API-connected software is a big part of app innovation. Instead of spending precious time writing code for existing features and services, developers can use their time to combine services and features in unique ways to create tools, new apps, and services that best serve modern users. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Airbnb API is in high demand.
App developers are eager to access Airbnb’s large user base and platform to create better digital products and experiences. Let’s take a closer look at the history of Airbnb’s API, explain how you can gain access to the API, and explore a few practical ways integration with the API from Airbnb can be put to good use in your mobile app.
The History of the Airbnb API
Airbnb started back in 2008 as a platform that allowed people to rent out their extra rooms or homes to travelers. The company quickly became one of the most popular rental apps and websites globally. Today, you can find Airbnb listings for anywhere you want to travel.
Airbnb’s popularity made it possible for people to start their own real-estate businesses by simply uploading their properties to the platform. The popularity of the Airbnb platform also opened other possibilities for local businesses and tech companies that wanted to operate within the Airbnb ecosystem. However, Airbnb would not publicly release its API to external developers.
At the time, motivated developers who wanted access to the Airbnb platform would have to seek alternative methods of integrating with Airbnb without an official API connection. Some developers would use proxies or scraping methods to get the integrations they needed, while other less scrupulous developers would turn to black-hat programming methods.
Finally, Airbnb released its official API in 2017. The Airbnb API integration tools give web developers in-depth access to an Airbnb dashboard, data, and listings. Official Airbnb API integration now gives developers the ability to design better mobile and web applications. Furthermore, innovative startups and companies can also use the official Airbnb API to create new services that delight travelers and property owners alike.
How to Acquire the Airbnb API
App developers worldwide were excited when Airbnb announced its API back in 2017. After reading briefly about the power of APIs and the size of the Airbnb ecosystem, you are likely ready to learn more about how you can acquire the Airbnb API.
Unfortunately, your business likely won’t be able to use the API created by Airbnb. This is because even after finally releasing an API back in 2017, to this day, Airbnb is very selective about the companies to that it gives access to the API. The Airbnb API is not publicly accessible. Officially, Airbnb only gives API access to prospective partners guaranteed to substantiate the end-user, the Airbnb ecosystem.
After all, renters and hosts alike are the company’s most valuable assets. They have decided they will not turn over access to these existing Airbnb accounts to just any company or startup idea. The company will not do anything to potentially harm the Airbnb User Experience that they have worked so hard to develop.
To obtain the Airbnb API, you must first become an Airbnb partner. Unfortunately, app developers are at a disadvantage because Airbnb does not officially accept new access requests for partnerships or access to their API. Rather, an Airbnb partner manager reaches out to prospective external partners and invites them to join.
Airbnb evaluates three key points when determining if they will grant a business access to their API documentation, including:
- The business’s profitability, or potential for profitability in an idea, proposal, etc.
- The technical strength of the business
- The business’s ability to support shared customers
Airbnb gives startups and app developers very little opportunity to access their APIs and central hub. If you don’t want to wait around and see if Airbnb will invite you to be a partner, you could try reaching out to their global team of support specialists. However, you shouldn’t get your hopes up because this will likely not result in your business obtaining the Airbnb API, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Integrating the Airbnb API into Your Business
Development teams will also need to be well-versed in mobile app development languages if they plan on using the official API in a mobile app. Successful Airbnb API integration can help expose your properties to millions of new users and lead to more reservations than ever before. However, without the proper development process, integration can act as a roadblock that prevents your business from achieving its goals.
Use Cases for the Airbnb API
The clearest value the Airbnb API provides businesses is more convenient property management. Developers can use the Airbnb API to create apps and software tools that allow users to manage multiple Airbnb listings in one place. For example, if you have multiple properties that have the same information, like a house with multiple rooms you are renting, updating each individual listing can be time-consuming. However, thanks to tools using the Airbnb API, users can now update Airbnb listing info, price, etc., message guests for multiple listings at one time, and improve existing email flows.
The API is also great for businesses that are managing multiple reservations, scheduling maintenance and cleaning services around their Airbnb guests, and everything else that comes with property management.
Additional use cases for the Airbnb API include sharing the user ratings of your listings and their availability on your website, SaaS, or other digital assets. This gives your users a chance to see what properties you have available and what other visitors think about them without having to browse through listings on Airbnb.
If your business is lucky enough to be selected as an Airbnb partner, Airbnb will also provide you with API-connected software to create custom workflows and import listings. The two most valuable software products provided by Airbnb are a property management system (PMS) and a channel manager (CM). These software products help your business sync property listings and dates between the Airbnb platform and your other channels.
It might be difficult to gain access to the Airbnb partner program, but once your company is accepted, Airbnb simplifies operations considerably. If your business is unable to gain access to the partner program offered by Airbnb, work on your offerings and build your brand value. If you enhance the value of your brand and business, you will have a better chance of being accepted by Airbnb’s partner program.
The Airbnb API offers exciting capabilities to the companies that are able to gain access to it. If you’ve recently gained access to their API, reach out to a skilled app development partner to help your business efficiently import listings and integrate it into your processes. Count on the technical support, expertise, and industry experience of a skilled development partner to help your business get the most out of the API offered by Airbnb.
For those unable to gain access to this API, an app development partner can also help you develop a software solution to message guests and provide similar functionality to the API offered by Airbnb. Learn more about how a skilled app developer can help your business work around the Airbnb API.