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About charging more for guests over X number

So I have a question about charging more for more guests. I have a property that sleeps 10 . I have a multiplier that charges $10 a night for each guest after 6 guests. I’ve noticed that two guests to date have put their listing at 6 people. However, our property is in a community that requires identification of all guests for entry - so when it comes time to providing names - it becomes really obvious.

If the difference is 1 person - or 1 kid - I haven’t made a big stink about it. We also have a camera at the door so we can see who comes in and out.

I would hate for this policy to be a point of contention with guests. Most of them have booked appropriately - but I wonder if anyone else has just considered adjusting their price instead of using this policy. It’s for the entire house anyway…

I charge 50 per night over 2 people, up to 4. I really prefer 2 people.
Decide the optimal amount of people you prefer, charge for that much, add enough extra per night per person so that you don’t often have to deal with those extras, and if you do, you will be well paid for it. Most guests will be honest about extras ( their friends or family should know that they should chip in a reasonable amount, like 1/4 to 1/2 of a night, per night) and the ones that are not will not be such a big deal because you got the extra last time.

I do not consider adjusting my prices to include extra guests, but it might be the correct thing for you<><>

Try doing a search on this forum for “extra guest fee” or “additional guest fee”, but be prepared to be overwhelmed with information and opinions.

I think these are the main points

  1. An extra guest fee allows a listing to have a lower base base price for competitiveness.
  2. An extra guest fee encourages smaller groups (and discourage larger groups).
  3. Guests routinely try to sneak in extra guests without paying for them, and hosts have to deal with it. Sometimes, enforcement will will lead to a bad review from the guest in retaliation.
  4. An extra guest fee doesn’t necessarily ensure a host will be compensated for the additional use of the host’s resources. For example, a host might think that having an extra guest fee will cover extra laundry, but in reality, 1 guest could decide to sleep in every bed in a listing and use every towel provided. Note that locking doors to extra bedrooms/bathrooms or not making beds has other problems for a host.
  5. Eliminating the extra guest fee will likely require hosts to adjust pricing, but it eliminates most of the extra guest problems. I say most because there will still be guests that try to sneak in additional guests that go above your maximum guest count.
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That’s a great executive summary @Brian_R170.

I prefer groups of 4 but with a whole house rental people always want to bring more. I was priced at 4, with $30/night for extra guests. People were always trying to sneak people in without paying. It became such a hassle I went to a 6 person (my max) price.

I’ve had 3 people try to go over my limit since that time. In reality, I can sleep 8-10 but it’s not a comfortable fit and I’m not looking for penny pinchers. Some hosts go by the “heads in beds” motto, but I’m more about quality over quantity.

I have found that the higher price has brought me less trouble, but I still get a few jokers. I will say, they have asked about going over vs. sneaking, so I guess that’s an improvement.

Some hosts look the other way at sneaking extras in but I consider it stealing/dishonesty and I don’t overlook it.

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Well done. I 2nd the “great summary” post.
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We do charge a base for 1 person and more for each person over that, up to max of 3. For us this makes sense. We get mostly single business travelers and couples. We also get two family members and the 2nd bed gets used.
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IMO, at only $10 pp, it’s not enough. A base rate for 4 or 6 seems to make sense, with min $20 pp over that. And so that is part of the post-booking validation that most of us do (or should be).

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@Brian_R170 summed it up splendidly, especially the tip to look at other threads here.

You’ll see many, many posts from hosts who are spending hours and hours monitoring guests to make sure there are no unpaid extras, contacting Airbnb about it, asking for extra guest fees, not receiving those extra guest fees, fearing ‘retaliation’ bad reviews because they asked for extra guest fees. writing reviews about guests who bring extra people … the list goes on.

And as you can see from the answers here so far, hosts have very different views.

I don’t have extra guest fees because both rentals are one bedroom - one queen bed so not comfortable for the person sleeping on the sofa. (Note that I leave all guests the same number of towels etc. and that extra guests don’t really cost me anything extra.)

Bear in mind too Brian’s point number 1. Yes, the base price will seem cheaper in a list, although many other people in your area could be doing the same. But guests have mentioned to me that they see the extra guests fee as being a bit sneaky - rather like the highly contentious resort fee that some hotels in the US charge.

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We’ve been hosting for a little over a year now with two properties.

We’ve come to learn that any more than 6 guests typically means trouble. (We used to allow 8)

We limit it to 6 guests -no exceptions - and we do not want to add any “extra guest fee” as we don’t want to encourage any more.

We request all names upon booking.

We have cameras and state this throughout our listings.

If we see extra guests arrive – we immediately contact the booker and reiterate the agreed to rules and tell them the extra guests must leave.

We are also considering adding into our rules a “penalty fee” of $200 per violation of extra guests/night if we are unaware and find out — but the guests must still leave once we are aware. It’s not about the money – it’s about the principle.

I might suggest just putting somewhere in your listing that there will be a charge of xx for any unregistered guests – then you have the right to send them a request for funds for the amount.

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@CAL214 Our process is identical (except we have just 1 listing). I was just considering increasing my max by 1 person but I think you’re right. It’ll just attract the new max + 1 violators.

People seem to look at your setup and decide they can fit in more and that it’s ok, regardless of your rules and fees.

How many times have you had to call someone on it after checkin and how did you resolve the matter(s). Bad reviews and nonpayment by the guest are always a potential issue.

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It’s a good idea for hosts to ask themselves why they don’t allow extra guests.

As I said above, extra guests don’t (really) add to my annual expenses so I turn a blind eye when it happens - which isn’t very often.

But if a host explains to the guest exactly why they need accurate numbers, this can help. It may be that your business license or your STR insurance limits the number of guests you are allowed. Guests will understand this.

You don’t need to put it in your rules.

You can just put it in the pricing section under “extra guest fee”. If your max is 6 guests then put $50/night for each guest over 6. I think it’s a good idea for every host to have an extra guest fee listed for any guest over their max number of guests, regardless of whether or not they charge per guest up to their max.

We have always (4 years now) charged per guest. The base price is for one and then each additional guest has an additional fee. In a community like Airbnb (or at least the community it strives to be), I think it’s the only fair way to price.

For me, it’s not about cost. I give my guests as many towels as they want (and anything else really), I offer them fresh towels every few days anyway. It is about accommodating the most guests, especially solo travelers, because I’ve always been an avid solo traveler. Hosts like to say that it “costs the same” but that’s only for the host, it doesn’t cost the same for a single traveler because they aren’t splitting the price with anyone.

Some hosts will say that it shouldn’t cost more for 2 guests than for 1 if there’s a queen bed (or a 2nd bedroom) but I say that it shouldn’t cost the same. The argument seems to veer to why someone would charge more for the second person, but I want to know why one person should pay the price for two. It leans toward discriminatory. I’m not the only one thinking this way, because a major hotel chain in our city has started giving a lower price for a single guest vs two guests for their rooms regardless the size.

We’ve never had an issue or anyone who was upset by our pricing structure. I tell them the truth, that one person traveling alone gets a discount and two people traveling instead of 3 people, get a discount and so on. People like the idea.

The only thing that comes up is that if someone books for only 1 and doesn’t say, “it’s only me”, then you need to ask them if it’s only them and then go from there (explain your pricing structure and send them a reservation change request). But, from what I understand, hosts who have insurance also have to verify the number of guests anyway.

The only time that we’ve ever had to charge an extra guest fee that was not included in the original booking is when this guy had a baby shower for a small group in one of our apartments. I was a new host and accordingly a little uptight so it really bothered me. I called Airbnb and they said that I could either have the guests leave without a refund or just charge them the extra guest fee that I already had in my price structure. Interesting note, the extra guest fee is charged per check-in day (not night), i.e. the baby shower guests arrived around 1 pm and left around 4 pm. We had a 3 pm check-in time so Airbnb charged them for extra guests for two days since they were there before and after a check-in time. It all worked out, the guy paid and apologized and left a 5-star review, but I am more relaxed now and probably wouldn’t say anything (because he was a decent person, not because he was a guest).

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Whether you charge or not depends on a lot of factors - your competition, the size of your home, your prices, the types of guests you get.

I go back and forth between charging for extra people and not charging. We have a large three-bedroom house that can sleep eight in the Caribbean (St Lucia) that gets lots and lots of honeymooners. For a good part of the year we get mostly larger groups, but in the low season (late summer/fall) there isn’t a lot of demand and it’s mostly a single couple - if we get anyone at all. So I really want to discount for smaller groups so I’m competitive in the low season for honeymooners.

But I could not find an extra-person fee I am comfortable with. $20 or $30 a night per person seemed to be “nickel-and-diming” in the high season when the base rate is over $700 a night, but $100 a night per person made the low season for two way too low - or made us completely uncompetitive for the few larger groups that travel then.

Another problem is that neither AirBnB nor Vrbo allows different extra-person fees for different times of the year. Ideally, I’d set a flat rate for the high season, and discount from that only in the low season. I started to set up different listings for different group sizes, but realized it would dilute the number of reviews we got and make it even more likely people would book the “smaller” property and bring extra guests.

And, I spent a lot of time going back and forth with guests on getting extra person fees or refunding. It’s not as much that they try to cheat, but it’s common with larger groups to have some there all the time, but some there only part of the time.

So, right now, I’m at the “no extra person fee” position. If I go back to doing it, I’ll start at four people (only about 20% of our guests have more than 4 in their group) and set it at a high-enough price to make it worth messing with.

@JJD Yes… but if we put it in the pricing section then that sends a message to say we allow it. We don’t allow it at all! We want to discourage it at all costs.

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@aelilya Exactly! We could see on the camera they were arriving with air mattresses, pillows, blankets!

We have only had to call on Guests 2 or 3 times since we started 1 1/2 yrs ago. Most Guests will inquire on EXTRA GUESTS prior to or when they book (sometimes we allow depending on the circumstance — but ONLY if they ask beforehand). It’s those guests (typically with no reviews or new to ABB) that try to sneak them in – just not considerate or respectful IMOO.

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Absolutely true. If it’s in your listing that your rental sleeps 6 and you have an extra guest fee after six people, you are saying to anyone who reads it that you’re willing to break your own rules. That’s not a good message for guests to read.

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I agree - so we sleep 10, but charge more for 6+ people. I’m still on the fence about this. I’m already around the upper end for what comparable properties charge by night - although there’s room to go up. I may just wait till we have more reviews and then once more established just up it a bit and not display the extra people fee. I do appreciate everyone’s insights.

I have an extra guest fee of $100/day but it’s a penalty fee for overcrowding (along w/ cancellation of the stay) and is stated that way in my rules & under “About This Space”.

My question: It is also in the Fee section of my listing but I cannot see where it shows up in the published listing for a guest to see. I put it there for CS in case I have an issue. Since my max is set to 6 the site won’t allow a guest to add anymore persons so they don’t see that fee. Did I miss it being published somewhere?

I explain in the “About This Space” and in the Rules and in the House Manual (ours is on-site septic related). And I still get people who justify their overcrowding saying they’ve had septic (but have you had an STR on septic? Do you know my usage before and after your stay?). My biggest nightmare is backed-up septic during a stay. Like in Meet the Parents: “That smell, Focker, is our :poop:!” (so their’s was a running toilet, but you get the point :sweat_smile:)

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As others have said, that seems to me like it would lead guests to think they could go over-capacity as long as they pay. I think it’s important to charge them, but I would call it something other than “extra guest fee”. Perhaps “Over-capacity penalty fee”.

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I tried to update our listings yesterday and see that it did the same thing? Maybe Airbnb system has a glitch?

I actually don’t see it as a glitch. I like it this way :slight_smile:. I don’t want people to be able to book for more than my max but I do want Air to know what I charge if they overcrowd. That’s why I have the penalty fee everywhere I can put it. On the rare occasion, I will allow 7 but I charge $30/night, and it’s dependent upon how much activity we’ve had before/have scheduled after and the guest (reviews, did they ask before booking, etc.).

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That’s not true, sorry. If you have a max of 6 guests and the extra guest fee doesn’t apply until the 7th guest then the guest will never ever see your extra guest fee. A guest cannot enter more guests than what your max is. They can only enter 6 guests, not 7, so they wouldn’t see the extra guest fee. It doesn’t show anywhere if it’s only for guests beyond your maximum. But Airbnb can see it when you call in and want to charge for extra guests. That is the important part.

It is Airbnb policy to only charge for extra guests if the host has an extra guest fee in their pricing. And that makes sense if you think about it. You either charge for extra guests or you don’t. If you do charge for extra guests then it should be in your pricing structure. If it’s not in your pricing then you can’t suddenly decide to charge for extra guests when someone shows up with more people.

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