What you should know about the Airbnb API and free alternatives

Find out what you need to know about the Airbnb API, how to get access, and what free alternatives are available.


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I thought of a way to make a few bucks—turning our place into "designers bed and breakfast"—offering young designers who come into town a place to crash during the 4 day event, complete with wireless internet, a small desk space, sleeping mat, and breakfast each morning.

— Airbnb Co-founder, Joe Gebbia, to CEO, Brian Chesky

Does anyone even remember CouchSurfing? In case you haven’t heard of it, that’s when people let travelers crash on their couch or spare room for free. In return, they would extend the same hospitality should the host one day choose to visit their town or city. It started around 2004 and reached its heyday in the late 2000s. CouchSurfing is still around, but its brief heyday ended after 2008 when Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, took the idea and turned it into a $30 billion dollar business.

The email that started Airbnb

Airbnb’s success led to demand for an Airbnb API. APIs are extremely useful features of mobile and web applications. People use them to integrate services and features with web apps to create new tools. They keep the tourism industry moving. Data research, price comparisons, or booking listings would be significantly harder without them. APIs help you manage large amounts of data, increase revenue and stay ahead of trends. So, naturally, Airbnb’s business model and rapid success generated enormous interest in the creation of an Airbnb API.

Does Airbnb have an API?

The Airbnb API was launched in 2017, and it has been going strong ever since. But before you get too excited, get ready to dial down your expectations to an acceptable level of disappointment. The chances are, you’ll never get to use it. The reason is that Airbnb is extremely selective about who gets access to it. You can send a request for access, but - as the Airbnb API partner page makes clear - whether they will approve access depends primarily on three things:

  1. The profitability of your business or its potential for profit.
  2. The technical strength of your business.
  3. Your ability to support shared customers.
How can I get access to Airbnb's API?

How do I become an Airbnb partner?

If you want to become an Airbnb partner, there is a simple four-step process:

  1. Get in touch and request access.
    Airbnb’s team of partnership managers will get back to you.
  2. Access the API.
    If you’re approved, you’ll receive access to the API documentation.
  3. Build, test, and launch.
    Complete development and launch your app.
  4. Onboard your inventory.
    Now you can begin onboarding your inventory via the API connection.

Airbnb also has a Preferred Software Partner Program. To qualify for the program, you must already be integrated with Airbnb and meet specific technical and business requirements.

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How do I use the Airbnb API?

Developers use the Airbnb API to create apps and software tools that help businesses manage multiple Airbnb listings in one place. If you’re one of the lucky people to get access to the Airbnb API, you’ll be able to integrate it with your business. Airbnb API integration helps you get more customers and reservations. If you’re a property owner with Airbnb, you can use the API to:

  1. Connect and import listings.
  2. Manage pricing and availability.
  3. Message guests seamlessly.
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Can I get data from Airbnb without the API?

What if you’re one of the many unfortunates who can’t get access to the Airbnb API? Can you get Airbnb data? Yes, you can! Even if you’re a small fish in a big pond - a tiny operation, a new startup, or a freelance developer - there is an excellent alternative to the Airbnb API ⬇️

Airbnb Scraper: an unofficial Airbnb API

If the chances of Airbnb accepting you as a partner are thin, do not despair. There’s a free alternative, and it’s not at all exclusive. Airbnb Scraper is an unofficial API that gives you the same access to Airbnb’s data for home listings, including reviews, prices, and host/guest details.

Airbnb only gives you the first 300 results when you search. Apify’s unofficial Airbnb API can give you unlimited access to thousands of results.

You can also integrate the data obtained from Airbnb Scraper into your websites or mobile apps by ‘calling the actor’ via API. You can find instructions about how to do that in the actor’s ‘API’ tab ⬇️

Airbnb Scraper - the unofficial Airbnb API - on Apify Store

Once you’ve used the scraper, you can then use the data you’ve collected for a wide range of purposes. For some ideas, check out our travel, tourism, and logistics industries page.

If you still need a little inspiration, here are some ways you can use the data extracted with Airbnb Scraper for data analysis ⬇️

How to use Airbnb data for data analysis

➡️ Monitor the number of Airbnb listings in a chosen location and get the latest price updates

➡️ Forecast prices in a specific location for the upcoming tourist season

➡️ Identify emerging trends within the travel industry and adapt your product or services accordingly

➡️ Analyze reviews using sentiment analysis to identify the most successful locations in town

➡️ Focus on emerging popular locations to target them with new offers

➡️ Support your decisions with intelligent data when deciding when to open or visit a new spot away from popular destinations 

With so many reasons to extract and analyze data from the Airbnb website, and with the official Airbnb API being so exclusive and restricted, your best bet for collecting that data is Airbnb Scraper. Like all of Apify’s web scraping tools, it’s free to try and easy to use. You can extract the data you’re looking for in a matter of minutes simply by typing in the input field the listings for which you want to collect data.

For some more detailed and solid guidance on how to use this powerful Airbnb scraper, we have a step-by-step guide that will show you exactly what to do. So why not get started on your first Airbnb web scraping task right now? ⬇️

Theo Vasilis
Theo Vasilis
Writer, Python dabbler, and crafter of web scraping tutorials. Loves to inform, inspire, and illuminate. Interested in human and machine learning alike.

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