I am making some initial plans to add a second ABB by turning my LTR into a STR. It is a split-level home that will very comfortably house six. However, I could easily turn the basement space into an additional bedroom that sleeps another two. Can you help me think this through? I am concerned this could become a party house (on a pond, with a fire pit and hot tub, great patio and deck) and would love input as to whether it pays to move from hosting six to eight. There’s lots of experience and wisdom in this group, so please share your thoughts.
When I first started my Airbnb, it slept eight. As soon as the season was over, I took out the two twin beds so that the home would sleep only six. It’s been now 4 years and I don’t regret it.
When hosting eight all I had was headaches and extra work. It seems that accommodating 8 was asking for parties. Now I attract mostly families, usually four or five guests. It’s also been less wear and tear and fewer damages to the property.
Instead of converting your basement to another bedroom, make it a game room with ping pong table and table for board games or a TV room with a big screen TV, a sectional and a popcorn machine.
There is no real advantage in hosting additional people, is there? Airbnb is no longer a place to get cheap accommodation and cramming people in, as @Ritz says, asking for trouble with partiers.
Love the idea of a game room though.
How many bathrooms?
Does the basement have an egress window?
Two full bathrooms. The basement bedroom would have its own private bath. The space egresses out to the patio with double glass doors, so that’s not an issue. It would make a lovely bedroom and two twins would fit very well without crowding.
I will offer a different perspective due to my own experience. I also think it makes a big difference if you are on site or nearby and you or a co-host can have personal interaction with the guests. I have a very large place which sleeps up to 20 (I’ve cut it back to 16, lately). My goal is to offer an affordable, pleasant, kid/pet friendly retreat for families and larger groups that offers a home away from home atmosphere. Soon it will be wheelchair accessible, a dream come true for me! It is nigh unto impossible to find affordable accessible facilities where a larger family can gather. In the 4 years we have been operational we’ve only had one guest cross the line (a group of middle aged women invited all their friends). This is mainly because we are on-site, but also because we get a few key pieces of background information before we book. So, I’m saying it is possible to have larger numbers without attracting partiers. The families have been so, so appreciative of the fact that they were able to be together. So very grateful. That is huge, for me, and some are not of the same mind and that’s o.k. All of those factors will help you make your decision.
I appreciate the different perspective. Hosting families is very important to me as well (as you can see from my other ABB) and we are near an attraction that draws families. However, there is only one thing as a host that gives me a knot in my stomach and that is when I suspect a guest is going to throw a party. It’s only happened twice and I hated it both times.
My heart would love to host eight. My nerves say stick with six.
We are nearby (about ten minute drive) and typically do not have in person interactions with our guests. I agree that alone may be a game changer.
What is it that you get and how do you approach getting it?
Follow your gut. You can always increase the number later
How many bedrooms without the basement bedroom? If only two, add the basement bedroom and advertise for six people. Then if you get someone asking if they can bring eight, you can discuss it with them and charge more money.
We have three bedrooms and four queen beds, but advertise the max as six. About twice a year I get people asking if they can bring more than six and I charge them more if mutually we agree it’s OK.
We have exterior cameras and on-site staff that meet the guests so we almost never have guests that bring extra people.
Have you considered making the other level a separate Airbnb?
Food for thought: when you have max guests of 6, they will bring 8, max. 4 they will bring 6.
I’m a fan of less is more. There is a point additional guests mean too much extra work & maintenance thus not worth getting the additional $$$/night you can charge. The trick is to find that sweet spot. Like @Christine_Shirtcliff mentioned, whatever guest number you choose, you can change later.
Also you may wish to consider, can you seat 8 at one time for dining or watching a movie or enjoying the fire pit?
@Militaryhorsegal We verify 1) age, (registering guest must be at least 21, and at least one member of party must be over 25. This is not discrimination in that we simply say that if these individuals do not meet these requirements we will be happy to work with them but we need more information, prior reviews, or references. In the case of large groups of teenagers, or young service members from nearby military bases, who almost always initially state that they do not intend to drink and only want to bond with each other at the beach for one last time, though I am totally willing to work with them, alas, we never hear back. 2) location (where they are coming from, because although we have had good experiences with a few locals, it is the locals that have the parties. 3) that they have read the House Rules, where we require a signed Rental Agreement and government ID (which discourages partiers, we think), 4) and that they know we are on-site.
Here is the language we use in a reply message to all inquiries, even requests to book (if the initial message is informative, I don’t need to send this; even though we are in what is considered a “resort” type area, I cannot assume that is why people are visiting. Most people actually come for other reasons.):
“We have a few statements that we make, up front, in order to make sure that our property is a good fit prior to accepting your request, and save some time for both of us if it is not. What brings you to the Tidewater area? As your profile is a little sparse, prior to submitting a reservation request, please gives us a bit of information about yourself or about your visit in a message. To be frank, we try to avoid teenagers that want to engage in underage drinking on the beach, so we have to ask these questions. It is important for us to get to know a little bit about the people that we welcome onto our property.” [This message is tweaked depending on their initial message]. The message continues with the questions about having read the House Rules and the fact that we are on site.
This usually prompts our future guests to share heartwarming stories about their visit and how much they are looking forward to a rare vacation as a family. Many joke about the teenage comment. No one has ever objected to the questions. We have had quite a few large groups of young adults, I might add, who are not hard partiers and who have been very responsible. We have managed to avoid the prom all nighters and the homecoming celebrations, thank goodness.
That’s an interesting thought, but then I would have egress issues.
Agreed. I let out a whole house on the coast here in Australia. The house is 2 storey and has a large games room along with an ensuite bedroom, a laundry and the garage downstairs.
The games room is 11 meters long and currently contains a library, some chairs, a large screen TV and a ping pong table, plus storage for beach gear and games for the kids.
I was considering converting the room to a bedrrom and rumpus/lounge room. So the house would be 4 bedroom and so sleep 8.
My agent was keen for me to go ahead, obviously as it would increse the headcount.
But after issues with parties and large groups I had second thoughts. So I conducted a survey.
Overwhelmingly guests said “Dont get rid of the ping pong table! We enjoy it on days when we cant go to the beach” It turns out families loved the games room as parents can spend time on bad days, reading or just chilling while the kids are kept busy playing ping pong or any of the other games we provide.
And, as you say, we dont get as many large groups or parties.
I also would like to know what information you gather about prospective guests and how do you get that information? I am hosting through VRBO and through Airbnb so if there is specific information for each of these two sites, that would be great.
Once a guest books, I can see their full name and city. I snope on social media to get an idea if they’re partiers. I once cancelled a booking because when I saw the guest’s social media, I realized they were high school kids and my house was going to be their senior trip. You can also google them. It’s amazing the information available online.
You mention doors to the patio, but does the bedroom itself have a proper egress window? Usually a legal bedroom requires two modes of egress in case of a fire. And the window must be the proper size and height from the floor.
Thanks for raising this issue because it’s actually something I’m struggling with at my other AirBnb. For this one, though, the set-up is a typical split level with an exit to the patio and an exit to the garage and/or upstairs front entrance. This would only become an issue if I tried to make the basement a separate ABB since it would involve moving a doorway. That’s not something I’m interested in.