Extra Airbnb guests are individuals who come to a property beyond the number of guests listed in the booking. These extra guests can be agreed upon between you and the person making the booking. Often, this is not the case, and extra guests may come unauthorized without any prior announcement. This isn’t necessarily because guests may organize a party or hide activity from you. Sometimes guests just want to avoid the maximum occupancy limit or skip the extra person fees. Sometimes the person making the booking may be unaware of the extra guest policies you may have, so it could be an honest mistake.
Airbnb—and you as a property owner—can take several approaches to manage extra guests depending on whether the presence of additional people is acceptable or not. As a host, you want to maximize your profits and protect your property, which is why it’s important to minimize abusive behaviors like guests bringing more people.
Risks of hosting extra guests in a rental property
- Noise: Too many guests can be noisy and bothersome to others, which can harm your relationship with your neighbors or even result in noise complaints.
- Extra liability: Whether they’re supposed to be there or not, guests on the property may sue you for lost property or injury should anything go awry.
- Increased utility and maintenance costs: The more people who are staying in a property, the higher the costs associated with the amenities you provide—utilities, linens, and so on. Your maintenance costs, therefore, increase without them paying for their fair share.
- Citations: Your city could have rules on how many guests are allowed to stay on a property. Failing to respect regulations could result in a citation and fines.
With these kinds of potential risks, it would serve you well to make guests aware of your policies to prevent uncomfortable situations from happening.
Platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com allow you as a host to list rental properties based on certain criteria that you decide, including the number of guests you’re willing to or are legally allowed to host. The Airbnb extra guest fee is the simplest way of resolving the issue of extra guests in your property.
So, what is the Airbnb extra guest fee? When guests make a booking, they specify the number of people who will stay in the property. If they’d like to include additional guests, for example, for one or two nights of their stay, they can pay an extra guest fee for the people who aren’t part of the main booking party.
As the host or manager, you get to decide what this fee is. The bad news is that it needs to be applied at the time of booking. So there’s always a risk of losing the reservation if the fee is too high.
How to add the extra guest fee in Airbnb
Charging more for extra guests is straightforward on the Airbnb platform:
- Step 1: Log in to your Airbnb account, click the “Host” tab, and then “Listing.” Find the listing you want to add the extra guest fee to.
- Step 2: Click the “Pricing” tab on your listing. This is where all your fees are stipulated.
- Step 3: Scroll down and find the “Extra charges” section. Here you will see the extra guest fees in addition to others such as cleaning fees, weekend pricing, etc.
- Step 4: In this “extra charges” section, you can add or change your Airbnb extra guest fees and for how many guests the charges will be applied for. Click Save.
If you suspect that your Airbnb guests have brought additional people to your property, you’ve got a couple of options.
- Start by asking: For a friendly approach, reach out to your guests and simply ask if they have invited more people over. Typically, guests will respond more positively if you give them the benefit of the doubt. Something like, “I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but you seem to have more people staying than the booking allows.” Then you can notify them of the extra fee, and once agreed upon, file a change request with Airbnb. Reaching out and offering a simple solution can help ensure your guests have a positive experience renting with you, especially if they are unaware of this policy. Alternatively, if you can not accommodate them due to legal reasons or others, then let them know. If things get messy from here and the guests are being difficult, the next option may suit you best.
- Contact Airbnb: If you’ve tried playing nice and your Airbnb guests are unwilling to cooperate, the next step is to contact Airbnb. Since this option means Airbnb has to intervene, it’s likely to add time and won’t be resolved in time. It could also lead to a negative review by the guest. So the best way to save yourself the headache is to prevent the extra guests in the first place.
How to prevent extra guests
Fortunately, there are several concrete steps you can take to mitigate the temptation for guests to sneak extra people into your rental.
- Establish clear house rules: Your house rules outline your expectations for Airbnb guests, and they should include a clear description of the maximum number of guests your property can accommodate. You can even beef up your house rules by including a rental agreement specifying the number of people who can stay and forbidding extra guests from coming onto the property.
- Modify your listing: Adding sentences such as “we will greet you upon check-in” or “we will charge an additional x amount of dollars per additional guest per night” or even “unregistered guests are not allowed on the property” is likely to discourage people from disrespecting your property.
- Request a security deposit: A security deposit at the time of booking will also prevent people from breaking any of your house rules, including bringing undeclared guests. You decide the security deposit amount, and this will be charged to the credit card used to pay for the booking and refunded at the end of the stay. As with the extra guest fee, to avoid surprising guests, it’s a good idea to forewarn them in your house rules that a security deposit is needed.
- Build it into your check-in flow: Send an automated message to your guests once they’ve booked. Add in a sentence in your flow such as “What time will you be arriving? And how many guests should I prepare the unit for?”
How will you know if there are extra people in your rental?
There are a few telltale signs that guests have brought more people than they should have into your property. One easy way to tell is by the amount of mess they’ve left behind—did they use more sheets than necessary? Have they left behind trash for twice the number of people that should have been staying?
To eliminate the guesswork, though, you can also use tools like NoiseAware, which is conveniently integrated with Hostfully’s Property Management Platform. NoiseAware tracks the amount of noise being created in a property through sensor technology, which can clue you into excessive noise being made by extra guests or other inappropriate activities like parties.
You can also install security cameras monitoring the entrances to the property, although there are laws preventing the installation of these devices inside properties. Plus, Airbnb is very strict on this and will straight up ban you if you get caught. If you do install them outside or at the entrances, document these devices in the “Things to Know” section under “Health & Safety” in your Airbnb listing description. This way, the guest will be aware, and if they still break the rules, you can present the proof to Airbnb without any privacy issues being brought up.
Before you install any of these, it’s always best to check Airbnbs rules about security cameras and other recording devices in listings and go from there.
What if your Airbnb guests bring pets?
Pets are technically extra guests, right? So yes, the same concept applies to pets. You can choose to make your vacation rental pet-friendly and go ahead and charge a pet fee for those that want to bring along their furry friends. Most travelers would be okay with paying this to accommodate their cuddly buddies, but of course, there will be one or two that would still try to sneak their pet in.
In conclusion, prevention is key
It’s easier to deter guests from bringing additional people (or pets) to your property than it is to try to resolve problems after they’ve arisen. When you factor in the risk of a bad review if there’s intervention, prevention looks a lot cheaper.
Establishing clear rules and offering the option to add extra guests through the Airbnb extra guest fee can help to avoid uncomfortable confrontations later on. Hosting really does not need to be difficult and will not be if you use all the tools at your disposal. Happy hosting!