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My Airbnb has a self-check-in system that makes both my life and my guests’ lives much simpler. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for them to violate our rental agreement by sneaking in guests that were not originally included when they booked with me.
I started suspecting that guests were bringing extra people into my Airbnb a while back. To confirm my suspicions, I bought a Ring Doorbell Camera. They’re super easy to use and sync up with your smartphone to allow you to have real-time access to your Airbnb’s security footage. Much to my surprise, I was being taken advantage of!
I was forced to start charging for extra guests. This is a built-in feature that Airbnb offers, but it’s still unfortunate that some people choose to be dishonest. They are breaking Airbnb’s agreement by bringing extra guests, so I had to find a way to resolve the issue and provide concrete proof of wrongdoing.
So, what do you do when unexpected guests arrive at your Airbnb and how can you prevent them?
- Set clear house rules and expectations
- Have an extra people charge
- Have exterior cameras
- File a booking change if a guest violates their agreement
- File a resolution request if the guest will not comply
Set Clear House Rules And Expectations
From the get-go, your listing should provide crystal clear expectations and policies so that nobody gets unpleasantly surprised when they arrive. Hosts should clearly state their maximum capacity and explicitly write out that extra guests are not permitted. This might seem redundant, but it’s important to have your bases covered in case someone does end up violating your policies.
Some hosts choose to reinforce the “no extra guests” policy in their house manuals. This way, guests can read them both before booking and once they arrive at the property. If you do opt to begin charging an extra guest fee, I would put the fee in both places as well. The more the rules are stated, the less likely it is that guests can claim they were unaware of them.
Have An Extra People Charge
Charging for extra guests sometimes seems unfair or even rude to some hosts. In reality, it is the fairest thing you can do! It shows that you respect the time and effort that you have put into hosting a great Airbnb.
Not only is it more fair to you, it helps to not reinforce poor guest behavior. If someone stayed at a different Airbnb and was not charged for brining unannounced guests, they believe that it is okay and will continue to do so.
Additionally, making guests pay fairly for their use of your Airbnb helps keep standard rates low. Some hosts that won’t add an extra guest fee end up increasing their regular prices to compensate for guests that abuse the system. These higher prices can be a deterrent for future guests and might lose you bookings.
Charging fairly creates a better Airbnb experience for both sides of the transaction! To add an extra guest fee to your listing, go to the Host menu. Then find Manage Listings and click on the one you would like to edit. Go to Pricing, then Extra Charges, and edit the Extra Guest charge.
The amount that hosts charge can vary widely. Some make it based off of the original listing price. For example, if your Airbnb holds two guests for $60 a night, it can be assumed that each person costs $30. Other hosts make their fee more of a deterrent against bringing more people. In this case, some charge as much as $100!
Have Exterior Cameras
I recommend having security cameras on any Airbnb, regardless of whether or not you suspect your guests have been breaking the terms of your rental agreement. My Ring Doorbell Camera greatly improved my experience as a host and helped put my mind at ease. Guests also appreciate the extra security factor.
If you have an exterior camera, it must be noted to guests. Most states require this by law, but it is also just the best hosting practice. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being watched, and omitting the mention of cameras creates unnecessary tension between you and your guests.
It makes sense to have a camera at every entry point of your Airbnb. Again, their purpose is twofold: protecting your guests from security threats and protecting you from dishonest clients. You will also need solid proof, such as video evidence, if you want to have any hope of mounting a successful case against your guests in case of a dispute.
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File A Booking Change If A Guest Violates Their Agreement
The first step after extra guests are brought in is to make a booking change. This is a direct way of addressing the issue with your guests and is the best way to secure payment if they comply (and that is a big if, more on this below).
Make the booking change as soon as you know that more guests have stayed at your Airbnb than you originally accepted. People just coming and going are generally not in this category, they would need to stay long enough to be considered a guest (usually overnight). Add on the amount that you charge for extra guests and submit the request.
The caveat is that this is not possible to do if your Airbnb was already at capacity with the original booking. Say that you planned on four guests and that is what your rental can accommodate. If six people show up and you try to charge for two extras, the system won’t let you because you’d be going beyond capacity.
In this case, or if the guest does not accept the new charges, move on to the next step.
File A Resolution Request If The Guest Will Not Comply
Lastly, if you have exhausted all your other options, you’ll need to file a resolution request with Airbnb. This is never an ideal outcome, but is sometimes the only choice when dealing with a dishonest guest.
Start by going to www.airbnb.com/resolutions and filling out a request. If you and the guest are still unable to reach a solution, you can request that Airbnb make the final decision. Note that this can only be done once the request has been open for at least 72 hours. Go back to www.airbnb.com/resolutions and click the reservation in question. Then, click “Involve Airbnb”.
How many guests can my Airbnb accommodate?
While there are no cut-and-dry rules on Airbnb’s website about what constitutes a bed, use common sense when listing your rental’s capacity. A sofa bed could reasonably sleep two people, but a couch could not.
You should also use discretion when describing a space as a “bedroom”. While it isn’t necessary to stick to the strictly legal definition (a room with a closet and two means of egress), most guests expect a bedroom to be its own private, designated space that can be closed off from the rest of the house.
Keep in mind that, at a bare minimum, it is required to provide one pillow per guest. That being said, I would highly recommend providing at least two pillows per guest.