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Your thoughts on additional guest fee and lower base rate

Hey everyone.

What are your thoughts and experiences regarding charging additional fee for guests while maintaining a lower base rate as opposed to having a higher flat base rate with no additional guest fee/charge?

Opinions vary quite a bit. Some hosts think it gives them a competitive edge, but there will always be problems with enforcement and of course it will show up in reviews. Something else to consider is that a lot of hosts think a low price attracts low-quality guests, so while you might think you have a competitive edge, it might cost you a lot more in other ways.

I’d suggest searching this forum for “additional guest fee” or “extra guest fee”. There’s a lot of good info here.

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flat rate is king, other is not worth the hassle

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It depends on your listing. For a whole house I’d go with a flat fee with no guest count. For my small room with a max of 2 people I have a small ($5) 2nd guest charge. I’ve done that for 7 years and it’s what I prefer. I like to “reward” single travelers as I am often a single traveler myself. They are also much quieter and cleaner in my experience.

Anyone who has any hard and fast rule should probably be asked what kind of listing they have and what kind of guest they are targeting.

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I do not want to chase people for fees. I price it based on max guest count for my listings. I hate the resolution center! I stopped asking for pet fees through the RC because I constantly had to remind guests. Now when they tell me they are bringing a pet I say that’s fine we can settle up on the pet fee when you arrive. I leave a note asking for cash or Venmo and I have never been stiffed.

RR

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I think it can depend on your set up as well. My place is really a couples retreat, although it can sleep 4 if the sleeper sofa is utilized. I am going with a flat fee for up to 2 guests. I don’t anticipate many single travelers to my area. However, there are occasionally a group thing where a few people are attending a wedding or something nearby and will want a convenient spot to stay, but not necessarily hang out. In that case, I will add a fee to allow for setting up the sleeper and the extra laundry. I’m thinking around $10 per person. Not a huge amount but it will help.

I’m with the flat fee camp. I have been told by quite a few guests that they see the extra person fee as being somewhat dishonest . They see a place advertised for $50 a night say, then they realise that there’s an extra $50 for additional guests. For some guests, when they are browsing, they want to compare like for like.

Like other hosts, I don’t want the hassle of chasing it.

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When you search on Airbnb with proper dates and number of people it quotes the total price right up front. Yes, it’s smaller font and lighter color but it’s not hidden and it’s not dishonest. Maybe such guests are referring to back in the day when Airbnb wasn’t as clear about total price.

Here’s a screenshot of my listing with my fees added. I notice the place just under me has a much bigger gap between upfront price ($55 v $80) and total with fees ($74 v $148). I can see where someone would be annoyed if at first glance they think they can get a whole 2 br bungalow for $80 a night but it’s 80% higher with fees.

So just to be clear for the OP who is relatively new, if the guest puts in the correct number of guests, there’s no chasing, it’s built in. For dishonest or careless guests it can mean an extra step. When someone here books for one but says “we” in their message I submit a change request with a message that says something like “you inadvertently reserved for only one, I’ve submitted the change request for you, once you accept it your reservation is all set.”

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At a rough guess. I’d say that one of the most common complaints here from hosts is that guests ‘sneaked in’ an extra person (or two or three) and that they are not getting satisfaction in getting the extra fees that the guest owes.

I’ve read these complaints so many times and it seems to me that the hosts who have this problem spent an inordinate amount of time trying to resolve the issue. They call Airbnb, they email, they tweet Airbnbhelp, they post here at length…

Some also have spent a long time monitoring outdoor cameras to catch the extra guests coming and going and honestly, I just don’t have the time for all that.

Not every circumstance is ever going to suit all hosts but I prefer to use that time more productively and having no extra person fee is a good way to do it for me.

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Makes sense. That’s my dilemma. I Hve a 4 bedroom and 3 full baths. Fully equipped. I want guests to enjoy their stay but at the same time keep a reasonable and affordable fee. 2nd guest attracts no extra fees but any low than that costs more. I am torn between changing 1-2 guests more than the base fee. I have also experienced a potential send me a message, threatening to report me because I fraudulent by charging extra fees. Of course I encouraged her to try the next door if my listing doesn’t work for her. But that got me thinking what might be the best action to take regarding my fees set up.

Everyone is different and you’ll have to decide using your own feelings combined with the posts here. But I think I said in an earlier post that guests have mentioned to me in the past that they see the extra guest fee as being really sneaky.

With a house the size of yours, I’d not be worried about being too affordable as that can lead to parties. It’s something else we’ve debated here many times and some of us (not all) believe that low prices are likely to attract less-than-perfect guests.

Of course, you can change your listing at any time so you might want to experiment to see which way works best for you.

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Thanks Jaquo! For your input. I appreciate it.

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They’ll just sneak in guests. It’s going to be a pain in the neck to monitor them and then try to colllect the extra fee. Just increase your rate and skip the extra guest fee.

With my experience was a previous guest who basically abused my home, I put a lock in all the doors except the masters bedroom. That way, I am able to lock the doors depending on how many guests are listed in the booking. I hope this helps.

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Honestly, if you have a 4 bedroom house, why care about attracting 2 guests? I think some hosts try to haul in too many different demographics. It’s better to decide on your target market and set up your hosting model accordingly. Seems much simpler, less time consuming, less hassle dealing with them trying to sneak in extra guests or assuming that if the max count is 8, they can just show up with 8.

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Most of my guests so far has a been a max of 4. I currently have a lady and her 9 year old daughter staying for 28 days. I do not want to limit my listongnto potentially great guests. I have never reached my maximum of 8. I have tailored my requirements so far based on the need of my location. I will consider your option when things improve. I got started with Airbnb last year in the heat of COVID so that probably hasn’t helped much. Things seem to be improving so let’s see.

??? What does that mean? You want it to attract potentially bad guests?

Even though I have a 4 bedroom house, I have had great guest that ranges from 1-4 in most occasions. And I haven’t ever reached my capacity of 8.

Ah, so you meant you don’t want to limit your listing to exclude potentially great guests. Got it.

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In your case it makes PERFECT SENSE to have a base rate for 1-2 people, plus add-ons per person after. And smart of you to lock BR that are not to be used. Guaranteed that people will check out anything that isn’t locked :slight_smile:
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The value of renting 2, 3, or 4 BR is vastly different from 1 BR only. Clearly, there is a lot more laundry needed with 3-4 BR.
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Our situation is similar, just smaller. it makes sense for us to have flexible rates. We charge one rate for single, then add-ons for 2nd and 3rd person. It works well. Sometimes we get solo business travelers. Mostly often couples. Less common is a kid or extra friend.

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