Winter Park, CO Level 1
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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?
Here are a couple of examples of what Airbnb could include:
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.
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.
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...
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: https://community.airbnb.com/t5/General-Hosting/Number-of-Guests-Booking-Suggestion-for-Airbnb/m-p/2...
I think it is time @Lizzie!
We look forward to seeing what comes out of this.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
I think this is an excellent idea. I have seen this happen many many times where the number of people is totally unproportionate with the number of guests staying in the house. Moreover, more people can arrive as "friends" later on during their stay, and that way it is definitely more than originally booked. Disclosing the number of guests and the number of kids in the party will definitely help in that respect. Charges for extra guets should be imposed as well if it turns out that extra people are staying and more are actually showing up at the front door. I can only suggest charging an extra security deposit outside of the scope of Airbnb proposal where they technically don't charge one unless damages occur. I think a deposit of $250 per reservation is nothing but fair considering anything like that can happen and thus the guests will feel liable paying that fee if more guests actually show up than the booking indicated.
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'.
Airbnb already has a number of guests field to be completed by a booking guest. I see no need for an additional field for children. If more people show up than are accounted for on the booking, the guests can either cancel the booking or amend the booking to properly reflect the number of guests (within the permitted maximum set by the host).
What I believe Airbnb should add is a requirement that each guest have his or her own Airbnb profile attached to any booking that he or she will be a party. If a booking is for two guests, then both guests must attach their profile to the booking. If the booking is for four guests, all four must attach their profiles to the booking. This way, the review left by the host attaches to each profile. For minors, each must have a profile that will only allow them to book on their own once they have attained the age of majority (18 +). This way, until they have reached the legal age, their profile must be attached to any bookings that they will be a party to with a supervising adult. The key here is that the host knows who is to be in attendance and the host review attaches to all guests for a booking upon completion.
Hi Ernie, Thanks for your opinion that there is no need for children to be listed separately when guests apply. However, it is crystal clear by reading reviews or checking polls that nearly all hosts want to know how many guests will be coming - including infants and children. Thus the extra boxes etc are an excellent idea. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the review by the host should be attached to all guest's profiles. This is the first time I've seen that suggestion and it is both excellent and logical.
@Ernie0, In our case, I'd really like to see fields of some kind for children, because we have a cottage with a loft and a ladder that just isn't suitable for young children, and we find that no matter how much we describe the home, or how many pictures of the ladder appear in the listing, it seems that about half of our guests do not take the time to read the description, look at the photos, or ask any questions prior to booking. And like other folks have mentioned, many guests do not consider their children to be people, so they don't mention them or count them in their # of guests total. They arrive and seem totally surprised by the fact that there is a ladder, even mentioning in our reviews that we should make a point to tell people about it. Baffling. It becomes a major hassle to have people want to cancel, demand refunds, etc. If there were a "child guest" field, at least we would know if folks had children and we could initiate a discussion with them about it. Beyond the fact that it is inconvenient, it is a safety issue.
@Kelly, so really this is a problem of willfully ignorant and/or dishonest guests. Airbnb should emphazize that guests ought to read the listings before booking and to be certain to honestly disclose the number of members within a booking party. If they are dishonest and ignorant already, how will this button serve to change that? I think this is not the proper solution.
There is no fool proof way of stopping the dedicated criminal. But givng guests the explicit opportunity to list every guest in their party reduces the opportunity for them to stay silent on who is traveling with them while booking. Then when they arrive it becomes harder for them to cook up excuses; and easier for resolution center to come up with a resolution. Like most things in life every little bit helps.
@Ernie0 It may not stop dishonest folks from misrepresenting the number of guests, but I think a lot of people just don't read descriptions or rules, or pause to think or ask questions. A field that requires an answer, perhaps with a short reminder message that children are indeed considered guests, might help educate or at the very least eliminate the the "we didn't know that children counted as guests" excuse.
I do love your idea about requiring all adult guests to have a profile, and that a review for a particular stay would apply to every guest in the group. I think this would provide some motivation for guests to behave more responsibly- there's likely to be someone in the group that cares about their airbnb profile.
In 4 years of hosoting, I have never had a surprise child show up. Most of my guests these days are in their 50s and 60s and coming for longer stays. That's the way I like it. Their children are always adults and even if they live nearby have no interest in spending too much time with their parents.
@Scott1 Hmmm... Perhaps Bellingham, WA is a family mecca, because we host lots of families with kids. Our listings are also stand-alone places rather than shared, which are probably more attractive to folks with kids? We even stock our homes with toys, games, & puzzles to keep the little ones happy. For us it is a pretty common occurence to have guests leave children out of their count, but maybe it's because we host a larger percentage of families overall.