A host (call him Mark) recently described a problem, that seems to me to be an exceptionally common problem which hosts bring to the host communities to ask about.   Mark said that the guest booked 4 people, but that 6 people actually arrived.  He thought at first that only 4 guests would stay, as this had been the arrangement and what they paid for (and he doesn't allow more than 4 to stay at his home -- which is an entire house listing).  However, the next day when he went by the house to see the guests off and check them out, he saw all 6 people inside, and as they left, he saw that they were all carrying luggage, so it was clear they had all stayed there. 

 

Do you have any advice for Mark?

231 Replies

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Colchester, CT
Level 1

Well, reading this thread gave me major major anxiety about booking through Airbnb. I have never considered how hostile the guest policy makes people, and am confused why it's only really referred to as "sneaking in extra people." I've never considered it that way and am shocked that it seems many hosts restrict ANY kind of access to the property outside of those booking and am looking for clarification.

 

A friend of mine and I are looking to book an entire house for 31 days this summer. When I think about a longer stay like that, in my mind it's almost like I am renting the house. Only my friend and I will be staying in the home for the entirety of the booking, and we do want our own rooms, but I have a sister who wants to come to visit for a weekend, and my friend has a brother that maybe wants to come to visit. I figured that I'm renting the whole place, and only two of us are staying there the entire time (so I would put 2 guests), and our family doesn't yet know if or when they will visit, how do you charge for that? The apartment/house is in another country, so I really am not looking to piss off a host and be stranded in a foreign country with nowhere to go. 

 

The listing has no specification on extra people, and also it seems rather extreme to not allow extra guests to come over at all. Am I supposed to just not have anyone in the house for an entire month even though I booked the whole place? I'm definitely not someone that's into partying or drinking or smoking at all, but I do want to experience this city as if I were living there. I'm sorry if this message comes across as snobby, I'm just really confused and anxious and don't know what to do. Should I be messaging the host and asking if it's okay to have people over, even though I don't know the exact dates? 

 

Also, do hosts have to clean the property? We're gonna be there so long and it seems rather excessive to me and my friend to have someone else clean up after us when we're perfectly capable and willing to do it ourselves (even if they leave the cleaning charge, that's not my concern). I'm sure many people will feel as though I'm completely wrong and that's okay, but I'd rather know now than later because the thought of someone being angry over me having guests I've invited for an afternoon, or weekend in a house that I've booked has not even crossed my mind until tonight.

 

Sorry for my long and potentially incoherent ramble, I can try to clarify what I mean in the replies! I'm a young woman that has never used Airbnb before and this trip has been super stressful to plan on a student's budget (lol). Thanks for any advice!

 

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Lauren553   It's not incoherent at all, and I think it's great that you're asking for clarification. To me, as a host, it's something that would be decided on a case by case basis, although I know a lot of hosts simply don't allow anyone who's not a registered guest to be on the property. The problem is that a lot of guests just aren't responsible people- they may have friends over, the friend damages something in the place and then the booking guest doesn't want to accept responsibility for it. Also, there's a vast difference in what different people consider to be a party. A few friends sitting around sharing a bottle of wine, with some soft music playing in the background, and just having good conversation is way different from 20 drunken revelers disturbing the neighbors and making a huge mess. But guests are strangers to hosts, so we can't know what someone plans to do with their friends, whether they're mature and responsible, etc, whether they're telling the truth or trying to make something sound non-threatening, when in fact it could escalate into a bad scene. Therefore many hosts just err on the side of caution, rather than having a nasty surprise.

 

And it isn't like renting a place on a long term lease- when you actually rent a place, the landlord will normally ask for references- from past landlords, employers, ask for employment history, amybe do a criminal record check. Then they choose a tenant who seems like they'll be a good one. And you often will have a security deposit held by the landlord, perhaps have to pay first and last menth's rent in advance. So it's not at all the same- Airbnb hosts don't have these levels of security.

 

Also, you need to understand that hosts base their prices on a number of factors- most try to make it affordable, and need to factor in all the things they provide. When you have more people staying, obviously they're going to be using toilet paper, taking hot showers,  using the soap and shampoo and creating more laundry as far as bedding and towels go. So that costs the host more- costs that weren't factored into the original reservation.

 

I know that in many countries, hosts are actually required by the government to have valid ID from all people who are going to be in the home, and no one can be in the house that isn't a registered guest. So in those places, it's not even the host's call- it's a requirement they can get shut down over if they don't follow the rules.

 

So as far as any of your family or friends coming to visit or stay in a place you book, the best way to handle it is to just message the host, explain the situation, and see if they'd be amenable to it. Since you're not even sure when and if your family members or friends would show up, the host, if they agree, can amend your booking at the point when your family will be there to include them for those days they'll be there and charge accordingly.

As for cleaning- most hosts expect guests to keep the place basically clean and tidy and to clean up their own messes, but the host deals with heavy duty cleaning. On a long term reservation, there is variation in how hosts handle it- some may want to come in once a week to change out sheets and towels, and do a vacuum and general clean-up, some may just have the guests do themselves. Most hosts seem to prefer to handle the laundry themselves, as guests will just throw something in the washer in hot water that may have something on it that will stain if not pre-treated. It's also important as a guest for you to know that you should always let a host know if something has been damaged, so they have an opportunity to deal with before it's too late. For instance, it's not uncommon for women to get some blood on the sheets when they have their periods. While it may be embarrassing to the guest to mention it, guests should overcome that embarrassment and let the host know ASAP so they can deal with it in whatever way they choose, rather than just letting the blood dry on it so it never comes out, meaning you'll be asked to pay for new sheets, or trying to deal with it yourself in an inappropriate way, like pouring bleach on it, thereby maybe ruining it and getting bleach stains on other stuff in the process. Guests have been charged for damages that simply resulted from them trying to remedy something themselves and making it worse, rather than respectfully notifying the host. Even if you accidentally wreck a towel or something, a host is far more likely to just chalk it up to normal wear and tear if you're forthcoming about it. What makes hosts mad is when guests try to hide the damage, or don't bother to mention it.

 

I will say, as a new, first time Airbnber with no reviews, as well as being young, you may have a difficult time getting a host to agree to having visitors or extra guests, but you can certainly give it a try. Message back and forth with the host before committing to book a place to make sure it will work for both you and them.

But do be honest with the host about everything- you seem like a nice, responsible person and I can certainly sympathize with wanting to live like a local and have a few people over at some point.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
New Orleans, LA
Level 10

A guest did this with me and it worked out fine. She asked very nicely if her daughter (an adult) could spend one night on the sofa as her hotel reservation didn't start until the next day. I corresponded with them about the purpose of the visit (they were attending a cousin's wedding in town) and I let them do it with no extra fee because they sounded like responsible adults who would not take advantage. They left the place as they found it, and I appreciated that they asked instead of sneaking her in.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Palm Springs, CA
Level 2

COMUNICATE with your host, it is the key for all the questions you have!

You two can get in  a agreement on how to handle the situation. If you don't explain who will be staying a few days for during your long term stay, then you look as a bad guests. 

BE HONEST and everything will be okay, but if you are trying to "sneaking" with a bad intention for avoding a extra payment, then you are acting in bad faith.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
San Lucas, Mexico
Level 3

Spell out the need to identify and/or regisyer every guest BEFORE arrival in the information included on  your Airbnb site.  Tell reservation making guests that it has to do with insurance coverage.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 3

I have had this experience many times before in my 8 years of hosting - it’s frustrating and often when I can’t be available to meet personally I am sure that I have not picked upon this. Nowadays I use an app called GuestHug which allows me to charge my guests extra fees if I deem necessary through its in built sales platform. Generally, I think there should be an easy way to charge guests the correct fees if they decide they want to have additional people stay or request add on services. 

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

There is, you just send them an amendment to the correct number. If they don't accept, get Airbnb to cancel their booking.

 

Why not install CCTV and then you can easily pick up if more guests use your place than have booked.

 

How does an app allow you to charge a guest extra fees @Kris76 are you collecting this outside Airbnb contrary to their T&Cs.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 3

Nope, it’s not contrary to any t&c’s - the app is totally seperate to airbnb and just deals with extra serivices such as car parking and late check outs or anything else you decide to offer. There is no impact with the contract you have with your guest through airbnb it simply allows you to earn extra income through up-selling services.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hi @Kris76

 

From your early post I thought you were talking about collecting extra guest fees through the app.

 

As you expressed concern that you thought there wasn't a way of doing this through Airbnb.

 

 

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Londonderry, NH
Level 2

I have the same issue and there is no recourse after people arrive. I have guests presently staying at my cabin. The original booking is for 2 people. I have security cameras in use(out side as stated in listing) and counted at least 8 people and an infant. It is clearly stated in listing that there is a maximum of 6 and not suitable for infants. At this point I obviously cant cancel the reservation nor can I adjust the payment. That means at least 8 showers.. extra electricity etc. and I have no way to compensate. It is also a safety issue. What can Airbnb do to back this host?

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Westcliffe, CO
Level 10

@Greg401, you need to contact the guests asap and calmly explain that per your policies you will have to charge go ahead and collect the fee for the other 6 people at this time. You can send a request for money with the charges and a description of the fees. Do you charge extra for a certain number of guests? I charge $10 extra per night for guests exceeding 2, for example.

 

Alternatively, guests 7 and 8 and the infant are obviously in violation of your rules altogether, so you could within your right go ahead  and contact Airbnb now and ask that the guests be removed, but I would probably attempt to get them to pay extra first, since they are already there and you probably won't have time to get new guests in on short notice. 

 

If they refuse, you need to contact Airbnb CS and explain that you would like the guests to be removed, as they have violated your policies. 

 

In the future (you may already do this), include in your booking message as well as your pre-arrival message a few days before check-in a sentence explaining that for liability issues, the number of booked guests must match the number arriving. Also, when a guest requests to book, within my initial message to them, I also include towards the top of the message, "Thank you for booking with us. I have you down for x guests for x nights. Please confirm this is correct."

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Londonderry, NH
Level 2

After reading many complaints with this issue, I have incorporated into check in instructions that there are surveillance cameras in use and we have a strict guest policy and that booking party will be charged extra. I think Airbnb should also have this policy somewhere ,visible when people book. For the most part, being our firsht year renting, we have had honest guests. But a simple bad review will not deter these type of people and I am sure it would be easy enough for them to set up another profile with different email etc. 

 

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
San Lucas, Mexico
Level 3

This is good advice.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
Saltillo, Mexico
Level 2

Airbnb should make a ticking form for the guests before the reservation is finalized. Like you confirm you are bringing said number of guests and understand you will be charged more if you arrive with more than said number or will be penalized or something. People who are new to airbnb sometimes don't know they have to state how many guests are in their party or don't read the listing carefully.  And it puts hosts in an awkward situation. This is a very common problem and it shouldn't be.

Re: More guests stay than actually booked: guest booked 4 but 6 come

in
San Lucas, Mexico
Level 3

I agree.  I get pretty tedious asking for explicit information about groups: names, composition of group, etc.

 

 

 

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