How many Airbnb guests can I accommodate? What is the maximum number of guests I can host?

How many Airbnb guests can I accommodate? What is the maximum number of guests I can host?

How many Airbnb guests can I accommodate? What is the maximum number of guests I can host?

Listen to the episode here:

How many Airbnb guests can I accommodate? What is the maximum number of guests I can host without sacrificing the quality of my guest experience?

Why the age old wisdom of more beds, more heads, more revenue is actually wrong. How many guests can you host in your airbnb without sacrificing the quality of your guest experience? While Airbnb allows a maximum of 16 guests, even more so with the global party band, your home should not push those limits. Ultimately, better hospitality results from recognizing what your vacation home can comfortably accommodate.

“Be very thoughtful about what your maximum number of guests is going to be, do not just instantly think more beds equals more heads, equals more revenue. I will tell you from experience this equation does not always work.”


  • How Tim’s mistake of thinking more beds, more heads, more revenues held back his potential and how changing that thought process helped him maximize revenue while reducing the risk of wear and tear 
  • Too many guests in too small of a space – the impact on Air Conditioning Units, Pools, and other factors to consider
  • What is the maximum number of guests you can host and still maintain the quality of the guest experience? 
  • How many guests should you host in your airbnb space?
  • The right number of guests may be less than you think – dining table rule, how many guests can you accommodate at your dining room table?
  • Should you charge people for additional guests?

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How many Airbnb guests can I accommodate? What is the maximum number of guests I can host?

Intro (00:01):

Welcome to the Vacation Home Help Podcast. The only podcast dedicated to helping vacation rental owners self-manage their properties. Your host delivers short and sweet episodes with actionable advice, tips, and strategies to level up your hosting skills. Whether you are a complete beginner or been in the vacation home rental business for a while, you are in the right place to get the tools you need to succeed. Here are your hosts, John Candelario and Tim Casey.

Tim Casey (00:35):

You know John, a lot of the tips that we can share, they come from lessons learned the hard way. I made a mistake early on that I wanted to share with our audience today and I’d love to get your perspective on this too.

More beds, more heads, more revenue? Not so fast. Why more heads can lead to more issues at your vacation rental…

Tim Casey (00:50):

When I first became an owner and started renting the short term rental vacation home, I was taught, at least I thought I was taught, that the more beds you have, the more heads you can get into your house, the more revenue you can charge, that seemed to make sense at the time but once I got into it, I realized that’s not really the right way to think about it. Give an example, so I’ve got a nine bedroom vacation home. I could sleep 26 people in that home, but do I want to? Is that the right thing to do? And I think about it once again, from the guest perspective. What does 26 people in a home mean? Well, it means that the air conditioner is not going to be able to keep the home cool because it’s not designed for a home with 26 people in it. It means the pool is not going to be sparkling clean because that pool was not meant for 26 people.

Tim Casey (01:56):

So, the way I now think about it, and John, I’d love to get your take on this, is I think about what is my home prepared to offer a great experience for what number of people? And it’s the number of seats at the dining room table. It’s the size of the pool and the number of people it can accommodate. It’s the air conditioning system and how many people can be in the house and still keep it nice and cool for the guests. So I think about it differently. But John, from your vantage point how do you think about it?

Wear and tear happens more frequently when you are hosting above your maximum

John Candelario (02:29):

I think about it in two words Tim, wear and tear. Because the more people you have in there the more… How do you say? Disheveled, disorganized it’s going to be in. You got to think of how it looks. You can have a lot of bedrooms, but think about this square footage of the home and think about 26 people being in there. That’s a lot of people run. Think of the kids running up and down the stairs, up and down. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, running up and down. And then you have some smaller children just throwing things across the room. And then you have the parents outside. It’s a lot going on and that’s what vacation is. That’s not wrong that’s just what vacation is. But the more people you have, the less control the parents or whoever is there is going to have over the entire party that’s there. And that means more things are going to get scuffed to like scuff marks on the walls, the baseboards, things can break, things can get stained just because the house wasn’t designed to be a large gathering home. It was designed so people can go to the parks, enjoy their day at Disney and come back and have dinner and rest.

John Candelario (03:37):

Just what you said about the dining room table, imagine how many times your chairs would move if there were 26 people imagine. You won’t even have enough chairs for 26 people. And if you did, it would make the house look funny. It wouldn’t look good because there would just be chairs everywhere. So thinking of that also supplies. If you usually have 14 people, now you’re hosting 26 it’s not consistent with what you usually do. So having a lot of people in the house, it’s kind of crazy.

John Candelario (04:05):

I’ve seen houses with like 30 bunk beds in there. I saw one in Central Florida, they had bunk beds in every single room. They told me it was for golfers, but I don’t know what golfers sleep on a bunk bed, but every room had bunk beds except one. And the thought was they would go play golf and they’ll just wanted to go back there and sleep. But that’s a little crazy, and I think it’s better to put like more king beds in the house personally, unless it’s a kid’s room and you want to sleep two to four kids. But there’s not a good case for putting excessive heads and beds.

Tim Casey (04:42):

Yeah. I think on our podcast we’re not going to tell owners what to do, but we’re going to provide them the insights that we’ve gained over time and with experience. And certainly what I’ve learned is the more people in the house, it may seem like you’re able to charge a higher nightly rate and that’s great, but you also have to consider the cost of the wear and tear that you pointed out.

Tim Casey (05:07):

So I guess my advice would be, be very thoughtful about what your maximum number of people in the house is going to be. Think about the number of people that can sit around the dining room table. Think about the size of the pool, the air conditioning. Put all of those pieces into the equation when you decide how many people to allow in the home. But don’t just instantly think that more beds and more heads equal more revenue. I would tell you from experience that equation doesn’t always work.

Expenses rise as higher maintenance costs result from wear and tear occurring more often in packed vacation rentals.

John Candelario (05:39):

Right. And that incremental gain you’re talking about from adding those extra heads, it’s not worth it. It’s not only going to be a wash, you could have a loss too. So think of you’re charging an extra 20 to $40 a night, but then they break 100, $200 of properties. So it’s also the need to imagine you’re not just hosting one person you’re hosting over 20 people. We just said 26, maybe you’re hosting 13 when your house sleeps six, right? But that’s more people that have more needs and you need to be equipped and willing to take care of each of their needs. Not acting as a concierge, but anything that can go wrong is going to be amplified when you have more people in there.

John Candelario (06:21):

So, I think a good rule of thumb is look at what others in the area are doing in terms of how many people can stay. And you can do a quick search on Airbnb, Vrbo, wherever, and just see in your neighborhood if your home is a four bed, how many people are supposed to sleep in a four bed? I’d say eight, right?

Tim Casey (06:40):


John Candelario (06:41):

So, 8 or less, maybe 10, but not 20. So, thinking about that gives you the appropriate way to set how many people can sleep at this property. And you need to be very careful when listing the property and I would even go into detail putting how many can sleep in each bedroom, like put a little list, your bed configuration, which bedroom sleeps how many people. You name your bedrooms, right?

Tim Casey (07:06):


John Candelario (07:06):

So you say this room is the toy story land room, it sleeps this many. So, that’s something that most people should do. So families and groups can think of how they would actually stay with you. But by doing that, you can really see what’s comfortable and what’s not practical.

Tim Casey (07:22):

That’s exactly right. That’s how I think about it today is what’s practical for the home. And you know, John, when I first started renting, we were allowing 20 people. And over time I’ve learned that the right number of folks for the house, the maximum number, is 14. Because that’s how many people I can fit around the dining room table. I know that the air conditioning system will support 14 people in the home. And I know that the pool size, I can still keep the water sparkling clean, if there’s 14 people in the pool. Anything more than that, I start putting pressure, downward pressure, on the overall experience for all the guests.

Tim Casey (08:02):

So, I think our key messages as owners just be thoughtful about that. Don’t just listen to someone that tells you more beds equals more heads, equals more revenue. That’s not necessarily true. Put some thought to it and do what’s right for your home and your community and what’s right for the experience of the guest.

Should I charge an additional guest fee on Airbnb or Vrbo?

John Candelario (08:22):

I love that. And I just wanted to touch on like charging people for extra guests. Like just, I don’t want to tell you what to do to your point, but it just complicates your journey so much because then you’re looking at the camera to see how many people stood there. Then you’re asking them for extra money. It’s just really complicated. And it’s better just to say, hey, this property can sleep no more than 16 adults and two children, or however your beds are set up and saying that and that alone and not going into complicating it by charging for guests because it’s just more trouble than it’s worth.

John Candelario (08:58):

Just stay firm with your betting configuration, say, hey, it sleeps 16, it sleeps 16, you could have up to 16, but no more. And if they need room for 20, they should book two properties or a house that actually fits 20 people. I know at times in the holidays, there’s not many options out there in terms of inventory. But still, I mean, and the house is designed for 16, you should host up to 16 and I would just stay firm with that and that just it makes everything easier.

Tim Casey (09:25):

I think that’s good advice.

John Candelario (09:26):


Outro  (09:29):

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