Responsible vacation rental owners and managers follow local regulations for occupancy but when not defined we always recommend going with the rule of 2+2, which if you’re not familiar with, says that any property should be able to house a maximum of 2 people per bedroom plus 2 people. So if you have a property with 2 bedrooms you should allow a maximum of 6 occupants. That’s 4 people between the two bedrooms and an additional 2 people who would sleep on a sofa sleeper. Those extra 2 guests can help raise your average rate and make travel more affordable to many groups looking to visit your city and willing to sleep on a sofa bed. 

But what’s the best way for vacation rental managers and hosts to handle these extra guests?  Should they stay as a part of your nightly rate or should you use platform’s options to charge extra per guest fees. Many hosts see the extra per guest fees as nickel and diming guests but we see it as exactly the opposite.

The majority of thousands of groups we’ve hosted rent our property for just enough guests to use the bedrooms and regardless of who your guest is, affordability is always a consideration. Guests look for value in the property they rent and as vacation rental managers and hosts we always seek to provide it.  But there are real costs associated with hosting more guests and they’re costs I see many hosts overlook:

  • Linens. Additional guests can mean the need for use of additional linens but even if additional guests share a bed they’re still adding use to the same linens and more use means they’ll be replaced more often.
  • Towels. More guests means more towels and more towel usage. Towels aren’t cheap and they’re yet another item that you’ll have to replace more often with more guests.
  • Laundry. It’s just a fact that with more guests and more linens and towels you’ll end up doing more and larger loads of laundry which will add to your costs of hosting.
  • Water. Everyone has to take a shower and use the restroom and that means using water, a lot of it.  
  • Electricity. Even if you don’t expect additional guests to use the lights or TV more, if you have air conditioning, your AC unit will need to work even harder to keep temperatures cool with additional bodies in the unit.  
  • Work. More guests generally just means more work for you as a host. They ask more questions and have more issues that their host needs to address.
  • Amenities. We provide bottled water for each guest and when there are extra guests we’ll provide extra water.

All of these are costs that property managers and owners incur and they will add up. So if we incorporate those costs into our average nightly rate then we’ll be less competitive in the rental market and we’ll be forcing smaller groups to cover the costs of larger ones. To add on to all of this, we’ve never had a guest complain or leave a negative review about extra guest charges.  So not only do we think that extra guest fees aren’t gouging guests, but we always recommend hosts use them.