We've officially listed our first property on AirBnB, and we have began to receive our first reservations. What seems to be a common thing already is guests inquiring about the number of people the house can hold. It is a 3BR, 2BA house, so it is not a large house by any means. We have it listed as sleeping 6, but I'm sure an air mattress for an extra 1-2 people would not be a big deal.
So far, we've had one inquire for 9 (4 adults, 3 kids, and 2 toddlers) and another for 12 (6 adults and 6 kids... which sounds crazy to me).
We've taken the approach to respond and kindly let them know we believe it will feel like a crammed house, and reiterated our sleeping arrangements. The responses we get to those messages almost sound like they are trying to reason with themselves on how they can make it work.
As new hosts we don't want to put a bad taste in anyone's mouth, but also don't want to jam a ton of people in here. For multiple reasons.
Does it sound like we're handling this correct, or is there a better suggestion? Is this common?? Do you use the feature to tack on cost for extra guests, or does that deter people who may have only one over the limit?
I would sleep 8 max in that house. You’ll get several answers different than mine.
Best piece of advice...... ALWAYS stick to your policy. If you give them an inch they’ll beat you to death.
I charge a flat rate for each house based upon the size and amenities. People can cram as many as they want to in there. They aren't going to cheat me because I don't charge by the head. If I did try to enforce it by head count, I would have to go by every place first thing in the morning and late at night to do a head count. Even then, they could say that they are just visiting before going back to a motel. I'm not going to go to 23 places twice a day to count people. I just go to 23 places once a week to collect paper. But my tenants are refinery ruffians, not people on a vacation.
Since you post how many it sleeps, they know what they're getting themselves into. I don't mind bending the rules a bit when people ask and I know that a lot of groups just do it and don't tell you. These groups could definitely do the same but they're doing the courtesy of asking.
I typically respond with something like "Well, the house sleeps 6 but if you want to cram in 8 then those extra two people won't have a nice comfy bed. If you're ok with being crammed in there, I'm happy to bend the rules a bit. I just want you to have a good experience and not be upset for it being such close quarters." I've never had a bad review come from it, never had damages to speak of and won a few bookings by being flexible.
You know your market and house and if it's party seekers or whatever. But by the sounds of it, it could just be kids sleeping in the bed with parents or on a couch.
There is more to an STR than heads in beds. Do you have enough places for people to sit and watch TV? Eat at the dinner table? What about plates/bowls/mugs/etc.? Parking spaces? 2 toddlers might mean 2 high chairs and 2 pack-n-plays, do you have room for that?
Decide for yourself the maximum number of people you will support, set a hard limit and politely reject any request to go over. This includes number of cars. There's a big difference between 2 families of 4 each showing up in 2 cars vs. 8 single adults showing up in 8 cars.
Nobody will be happy in a cramped house no matter what they say. They will leave you bad reviews for all the problems they encounter. The bottom line is they can't afford the home they really need to rent for their group size and are looking for you to fix their problem when what they need is to rent the proper size home.
That is not an uncommon problem with Airbnb, people are trying to get the most bang for their buck. I would recommend charging for extra people. That will deter people from doing it and compensating you for the cleaning and ware & tare. Look at other listings in your area to see what other people are charging.
Vrbo and airbnb allows you to list the max. You can also set an extra fee per head above x amount of people.
Thanks for all the input. We've decided to stick with a hard stop of 8 at the moment. First time hosting so we're leaning conservative. Our outdoor space and pool is what seems to be attracting the larger groups but not necessarily "partiers." If they find another location to sleep some of the people do you allow them all to use the outdoor area and pool during the day? Or is that another hard stop of guests only?
@Luke Carl I remember you talking about a "happy number" for each house, and I agree - 8 is about it.
@Joe C. Great input. We've thought of all the indoor aspects (beds, seating, kitchenware, etc.) but parking is one that was not at the top of my mind.
@Brad Hammond we're going to do that as well. I realize now that AirBnB lets us add the cost after 8 rather than our listing number of 6. Maybe that will lessen the inquires for the larger numbers.
I advertise a set rate for the "ideal" number of guests, then I charge an extra $75 per night for each additional guest with a hard limit of 12 people. If they want to cram in and sleep on the couch, floor, or air mattresses is their business. I'm charging extra for the additional utility use, wear-and-tear on plumbing, etc.
Our home is a 3/3 with a kids bunkroom that sleep 4. Our home sleeps an advertised total of 10. We have allowed more depending on the instance.
The last one was a large family, 6 adults and 6 kids. 1 was an infant. No problems and we didn't charge extra. There is a futon in the master and we have a Pack N Play available for the little ones.
It pays to be accommodating IMHO. We also have a NovaForm memory foam floor pad that someone can use as well.
@Derek Miller you’re taking the right approach. The reality is that people want to save by having more people stay in the same place but if they are uncomfortable or don’t have enough plates, you will likely see that in your reviews.
I don’t allow additional people but in my case it’s also to stay compliant with my city’s regulations which caps us at 8 guests per house.