How Would You Coach Me for Varying Overnight Guests within Stay?

For background we charge an extra $30 per guest in excess of two. This is a three bedroom home where the daily nightly rate varies from $150 -$250. Max occupancy is six, which we enforce whether overnight or not. (I notice that one of my VRBO competitors does not do this and invites guests to bring up to 20.)

Although many hosts might say/argue that the additional guest fee is needed to cover the costs of additional guests (e’g, for use of amenities) my primary motivation for the additional guest fee is to capture the value provided, and secondarily to receive some compensation for wear/tear and liability risk (I have commercial insurance but the more people on the property the greater chance of an accident, especially a trip/fall (80% of all claims) and would expect premium increase if claim made, even if I’m successful).

Most guests, I believe, understand the value of an overnight guest. But most don’t feel charging an additional guest fee for a visitor (really just an unregistered guest) who does not stay overnight is fair.

I believe my real costs for such unregistered guests depends how long they stay. Is it a few hours or all day long? It’s invasive and impractical to monitor or charge based on that. My real costs are wear and tear as my sense is that these unregistered guests will not have read house rules or feel an attachment to property. If it really is two extra people for 2-5 hours I don’t feel my costs are all that much and am willing to let it go,

Scenario 1

Guest books for, say four, and has day guests (2). We do not charge or make issue.

Scenario 2

Guest books for four for five day stay. Has two additional guests for two nights. We charge an extra $30 x 2 x 2.

Usually guest tells us. If guest does not I ask if they’d like to update the reservation with the number of guests. Surprisingly several guests have said ‘no’ when I know they’ve had extra guests. I then ask again. They say ‘no’ again. I let it go, note in review but don’t try to get the money.

Scenario 3

Guest books for six for five day stay. Tells me that they will actually have six for three nights and four for two nights. At end of stay I confirm count and refund $30 x 2 x 2.

I have the same issue. Three-bedroom house in an area thick with honeymooners, so larger groups are not as common, especially in the low season. I used to charge extra for extra guests over 2, and found myself refunding and charging, sometimes multiple times for the same stay. At a base rate of $500 and an extra-person rate of $30-$50, I finally decided it was not worth it.

So I set my base rate a little higher (around what it would be for five people), then created a second listing for just two people and only have it available in the low season. The two-person listing has a house rule that any additional people, even for one night, will incur a flat $200US per night of the stay. The $200 extra makes the rate higher than booking the larger property.

Frankly, we’ve been busy enough with just the flat-rate listing that I haven’t pushed the two-person listing much, and we haven’t gotten any bookings from it yet.

Non-overnight guests are only allowed with my permission, and I may charge a “day pass” rate if I suspect they are going to bring a lot of extra people to the villa.

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