I see a lot of new hosts make this mistake so I thought I would post some lessons learned. Early in the going, I asked our friend what she would do to furnish our Airbnb. We have a 2 bed 2 bath cottage that is a bit shy of 1500 square feet. She suggested we add bunk beds to each bedroom so that we could easily sleep 8 guests instead of 4. I think a lot of people starting out assume this is the way to go.
Lower guest counts are actually more profitable than higher in many cases? Why? Because of the following:
So what are some capacity rules of thumb?
- One bed to a bedroom. Unless its a bunk bed or a room set up for kids, think hard about putting multiple beds in a bedroom. Who are you targeting for this listing? Couples for a honeymoon? Multi generational families traveling together? Many travelers, myself included, value privacy and are not looking for a space to share a room with another adult other than my partner. Definitely there are exceptions, but think about who you are marketing your space to. Does your ideal guest mind sharing a room with another adult? If you travel with a mate would you want to share a bedroom with a family member?
- Total capacity should be only the people who can sleep comfortably in the actual beds in the space. Do not list futons, air mattresses, cots etc as sleeping spaces but only the permanent beds on your listing.
-Set up other spaces in your house to reflect your total capacity number. If you sleep 6, your dining room table should have 6 chairs max. Don't give the impression that you allow more people with other furnishings in your space.
- Divide when setting prices. Take your nightly price and divide it by the number of guests. So say you sleep 10 and your home is priced at $200 a night. That is only $20 per person. Understand that for $20 a night, your guests may not be respectful of the space. They may think the low price means its not valuable, and treat it that way. It is a truth that the higher your prices the less difficult your guests typically are. Bargain hunters never stop hunting and may want the moon and stars for very little.
Capacity can really impact your experience of hosting. Consider it carefully when you are starting out!
@Laura2592 agree with you. In the beginning, our max capacity was 8 guests in 3 bedrooms + living room. Then we realized bigger groups are like a bunch of kids. you can't get everyone's attention not even for a minute. And we had just a few groups of 8. Now we host max 6.
Groups up to 4 are the best.
True @Brian2036 , we have a studio + 2 bdr apartments and the third listing, to book both of them together.
The studio always had the highest rating, then 2 bdr, and the third listing was always rated the lowest. Same place but a different number of guests.
Thank you for sharing your experience @Laura2592 . I always get a suggestion from airbnb to remove my extra guest fee. I was wondering if this recommendation is random and everyone gets the same or it is based on the market.
For me at least, charging a basic fee for 2 and extra for additional guests helps a lot to encourage smaller groups. Otherwise it would be too expensive for most people.
@Thais66 we have the same thing-- small nightly fee for each additional guest over 2 people. I am sure we have recommendations to remove it, as well as decrease our nightly price, allow long term stays etc. I ignore all of those things 🙂
@Laura2592 @Thais66 we have a 2 bedroom cottage which sleeps 4 also have a fee for each person after first 2. Airbnb often suggest removing extra fee and we will get more bookings. I am happy with my arrangements.
I also have written in listing that if there only 2 guests and only using 1 bedroom will be locked as I don't charge a cleaning fee and I am the cleaner. When showing guest through cottage I ask if they will be using the 1 bedroom. Most say yes , I then explain that it is written in the listing about other bedroom being locked and also leave a copy highlighted in manual when they read as a reminder.
I also explain if anything is placed on beds all the quilts and linen have to be washed. All the guests are happy with this have only had one elderly couple say they snore and sleep in separate rooms. If the guests are staying more than 4 nights I leave room unlocked, when they leave wash quilt covers and if beds look as they have been touched the beds are striped all linen washed, then do the regular Covid clean of the room.
For our Atlanta apartment is studio (queen bed) plus junior bedroom (full bed), and allow only two adults. This space is rented only for long-term, and the guests are usually traveling for work. I allowed a small child once, and there was a big mess and stains left behind. Since the place is close to a wooded area, I don't want a little one roaming off, and encountering a non-friendly critter or fall into the nearby well or creek.
Our St. Lucia apartment has two bedrooms with a king bed in the main bedroom, two twin XL and a trundle bed in the second bedroom, and a play 'n pack crib. We have a max capacity of five people and a baby, allow all ages of children, and charge a small per person fee for the third, fourth and fifth guests (no cost for babies under 3 years of age).
Our private guest room is single occupancy - no babies or pets allowed., just the single guest. When Henry and I were getting the room ready to host we weren't sure what size bed to get - a double or super single. We quickly decided that 4 adults living in our 64sqm apartment would make US feel crowded, plus it would mean the possibility of guests spending time in the shared spaces (living room & kitchen) would be much higher, so we went with the super single bed which left us space for a small desk+chair in the guest room. It was the right decision for us and our listing was perfect for hosting exchange students who ended up being our target guest group 🙂
@Laura2592 Yes! I only host two for that reason. We talked about adding one more bed. After a small unauthorized party and a very upsetting Airbnb SOS customer service call, an additional three bags of trash, and an extra hour of cleaning, we realized that less is more.