Number of Guests Booking: Suggestion for Airbnb

Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Number of Guests Booking: Suggestion for Airbnb

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I have seen a common issue posted on the Community Center which happens with several hosts on Airbnb and that is with the number of guests people book for and the number of guests who show up at the door.  This is often a result of 1) a guest trying to "sneak" in extra guests because the host charges extra per person over "X" amount or 2) some guests feel that children should or are not considered people/guests.


Airbnb states that, ""You need to disclose the total number of guests accurately when making reservation requests, including infants and children (Travelling with children)." Now most people would not even know where to find this and it is not on the booking page when you choose the number of guests.  


Airbnb needs to change the way guests book when it comes to inputing the number of guests.  By guests showing up at a host's listing with more people than the host is expecting puts the guest and the host in a difficult position.  It is essentially starting the Airbnb experience out as a negative experience.  Any number of things could happen including 1) the host turning the guest away or only allowing the number of guests in that were booked or 2) putting the burden onto the host by now having to charge for extra guests.  This is not good for the Airbnb brand and you can bet the host will not be getting a favourable review even though the situation was not their fault.


I would like to see Airbnb add a box for the number of children that will be staying just like the airlines and hotels have on their sites.  This would also help out for those hosts who have not checked off "Family Friendly" as the search would not even show their listing if the children box is filled out.


What are your thoughts and experiences of extra guests showing up at your doorstep?  Should this be something that Airbnb should implement or leave it as it is?  


Please share your thoughts below AND complete this quick 2 question survey: (Results of the poll are here:


Here are a couple of examples of what Airbnb could include:









Superhost Ambassador ~ Host Club Community Leader ~ Community Expert ~ Experienced Co-Host

156 Replies 156
Level 3
Sunshine Coast, Australia

How do you Hosts and Airbnb feel about the idea of making it a condition of booking with Airbnb that when the Credit Card details are supplied, a further amount is charged to the card per 'confirmed' extra person staying over and above the booking?  It would be like the insurance Airbnb use to cover their Hosts for damages.  It is an insurance matter for the Host if anything goes wrong.  Airbnb have all the details of the person staying, ie credit card, licence/passport as verified identification.  We should be able to tap into the 'laws and regulations' of a motel IF our business is registered as a 'business'.

Level 1
Provincetown, MA

Dave & Deb,


Unfortunately, Airbnb does not care about problems such as this, as well as many others. The "extra guests" problem is Airbnb's fault, 100%. Being that I had a problem with a client who sneaked in an extra guest, I know all about this and how Airbnb refuses to take action. When signing up to list your property for rent, the owner is asked, "Is there a charge for extra guests?" Only Yes or No is offered (intensionally). Answer No, and it gives the appearance to travelers that you accept extra persons... and at no charge. An answer Yes and that cnfirms you do and you can state a fee for doing so. The problem is, if you have a guest maximum like I do (4 guests), a choice for the property owner should be, "I do not allow extra guests." But, Airbnb is more concerned with your place renting so they make more money, rather than protecting their homeowner clients. This is why I state right in my listing that I have a Maximum guest limit of 4 persons. I will not argue or be short-changed by Airbnb, should a fifth person arrive at my door ever again. I'll simply turn the entire party away, if said party refuses to conform to the rules.

@Robert0 There is a way around that. If your maximum is 4 people, do not let the software state that extra people are free. Instead, write in an extra charge of $100 or whatever, for each additional guest after 4 people. Your listing will then no longer show that extra guests are no charge. That field will be blank.

Great idea for everyone. We just had to decline a request because the guests were not including 2 children in the guest count.  We are fortunate to have asked who would be traveling.  Our max. number is 4 guests. They had 4 adults and 2 kids.  I am sure they thought it would be fine for the kids to sleep in the same room as the parents.  But its still 6 people. 


This would save guests and hosts from having to deal with a bad situation. 


Level 3
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Thanks! I have mentioned in my info that my guest room 'sleeps 2'. I've not gone into details about babies, toddler etc but I ask sometimes 'with who will you be travelling'. Mayby not good English, but my guest get it and answer.


Level 3
Jersey City, NJ

Thanks Dave and Deb for highlighting this issue, and coming up with a solid solution. I strongly urge Air BnB to implement the listing of all guests in the various age categories immediately.


It was very, very embarrassing to experience this situation. My guest booked for 2 people (my lisitng charges additional $25 per night per guest after the first 2 guests). She came to check in by herself and I asked if she would need just one bedroom or if the other guest would need his/her separate bedroom (the apt is listed as a 3 bedroom). Her answer was that she was visiting with the babysitter and 2 kids. Thank God for Dave and Deb - I had read your piece and the other contributory writings and was a littel prepared for the situation. I informed her that we needed to contact AirBnB and amend the booking to include all 4 guests for insurance reasons etc. She said she had to rush for lunch. So I said that we would do it when she returned; never saw her the rest of the day.  Late in the evening I changed the booking on AirBnB to include all four guests. She refused to accept the change, and called me very angry. I tried to make peace, and insisted on the change at only half the additional cost. She wouldn't bulge and talked and talked and talked. It was very embarrassing to have a first encounter with a guest under such adversarial circumstances.  


I believe Air BnB can fix this by adding a "list of all guests" line to the booking. Please, AirBnB, implement it immediately before this happens to another host.

Hats off to all who educated me on this before I encountered it!!!!

Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Good afternoon @Lizzie,


This post has been up now for about 2 weeks and in one post you said you would take the feedback to your team:


I think it is time @Lizzie!




We look forward to seeing what comes out of this.







Superhost Ambassador ~ Host Club Community Leader ~ Community Expert ~ Experienced Co-Host

I am new at hosting.. yes.. i have had inquiries where it says one guest but in the course of our communication, i find out they are a family of 9...

Level 3
South Shields, United Kingdom

We've responded. Sadly for those in the industry 'proper' a huge amount of guests don't consider under 2's/3's to be guests but for our commercial insurance purposes they most definitely are. Having to turn away a family with a young child because you'd invalidate your insurance/fire regulations etc. is hard to do but we have to do it. Wish all booking agencies including Air asked for number of adults and number and ages of all under 18's at the time of booking.

Level 1
New Jersey, United States

Thank you but how do we let AirBNB know the guest is cheating? and how do they collect the additional fees?

Level 4
Austin, TX

I completely agree.  I just received a booking inquiry from one person...and he wants to bring four more of his friends, yet the quote is only for one person, which puts me in the awkward position of having to collect money from these four people somehow.



Level 2
Bruton, United Kingdom

I have had a couple turn up with 2 toddlers this week end who were not declared at time of booking.

I do have an extra person charge and say clearly in my house rules that all  guests including children must be included at the time of booking.

When I mentioned it to him he said he didn't realise that children had to be mentioned at time of booking.

PLEASE air BnB implement this additional drop down menu for the guest to fill in. This would save alot of awkwardness for guest and host.

Level 2
Los Angeles, CA

For safety reasons, the correct number of guests should be documented, surely?

Level 5
Orange, CA

I haven't had extra guests show up, but in my house rules I have listed "Please book your reservation for the total number of people coming and provide us with the names of guests. No guests other than the persons registered at booking, except upon prior notification and approval."  After all these are strangers we are letting into our home, so I want to at least know who's under my roof. It's also important for insurance purposes.  When inquiring about insurance coverage from Airbnb about a guest wanting to have an event at my home part of their response was "Only Guests included in the reservation would qualify to cover you with our Host Protection Insurance.' 


It takes a little extra effort, but I follow up each booking with a message to confirm details of the reservation. Included in that I recently started asking the names of guests that will be staying. This way I have it in writing in the message history and if there's any discrepancy I can refer back to their message.  By being very direct ahead of time I'm hoping it will help avoid people trying to work in extra guests. 


I love the idea of the drop down and numbers of people included.  We don't allow children due to safety concerns with having a pool, so having the options for children grayed out would be perfect.  To take it one step further it would be great to have to fill in the guest names. If they have 1 guest then one boxe would have to be filled out, 2 guests two boxes, etc. The more information ahead of time the easier it is to avoid awkward situations of extra guests showing up on your doorstep.

Level 2
Bruton, United Kingdom

Thank you for your response Katie.

Much appreciated.