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Why Do Hotels Ask “How Many Guests”? Why Do They Charge for More Guests?

Evacuation plan of a hotel.

When a hotel is asking how many guests, there are many reasons, with the most important being safety, and the resources the hotel will require to accommodate all of the guests. From cots and towels to launder to extra heat for showers, every hotel is counting every thread and drop of water because they will have to pay those bills too. This is why you will see an average of $20 to $50 per additional adult guest for a hotel room. Learn more about these fees and why it is nearly impossible to get out of them here.

Safety and Emergency Purposes

A lady arranging a hotel bed and folded towels.

It isn’t something that hotels will “just say”, it is something that is an actual thing. Safety is the number one reason hotels will ask during the reservation process who many guests will be booked into the room. Fire codes are an important component of any hotel stay, and you will see fire plans on the back of nearly every hotel room door in America.

It is the law. Should a disaster occur, and it happens all the time, the hotel needs to know exactly how many people are in the building at all times. Hotels take it seriously enough to ask the housekeeping to count toothbrushes if they are ever concerned about the number of guests in a room, according to one housekeeper in Massachusetts. When guests start asking for extra cots, cribs, and numerous beds in the room, the hotel is going to wonder.Hotel Blue towels piled up in a rack.

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It’s common as well, with larger families and friends road tripping together for big weekends or vacations. There’s nothing wrong with it. Hotels don’t mind if you do it. They just need to know. If a fire, security, or safety hazard occurred, how many people they are responsible for.

Nowadays, technology is advancing so that you can’t overlook this. Some resorts, such as the Hilton brand, will gray out options on the website after maximum occupancy is filled for the room. So for example, if you have 4 maximum allowed, you won’t be allowed to choose more. The outcome could be your stay gets canceled and you have to find new accommodations or pay for another room at the hotel of choice.

Fire marshals can and have weighed in on this, and so have many hotel regulations. The fire marshal is typically the one that sets the bylaws or regulations and enforces it. The number of guests per room will be determined by the number of square feet in a room.Exit arrow and fire extinguisher in a hotel.

The fire marshall also has an egress capacity to consider, and this is connected to the fire escape plan. The hotel needs to plan for a certain number of people on the fire escape or staircases in the event of an emergency. When a fire marshal is called in to inspect the premises, they will look at the number of stairwells in the home, how big the hallways are, and how many rooms and floors are in the building.

Occupancy rates will be determined by that. In many cases, the fire marshal could determine that six people will fit safely in the room, but a hotel would still limit the occupancy rates to four or five. Insurance will also come into play here, and a hotel is more likely to play it safe, and not toe the line when it comes to maximizing or doubling up on occupancy rates.

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Does that mean you can toe the line? No, you will still be billed the fees for the additional guests if you don’t come clean with the hotel.

Why Do Hotels Charge More per Guest if the Fire Marshal Says it is Okay?

3 ladies holding wine in a hotel.

A hotel is going to charge more per guest because it costs them more to accommodate them, plain and simple. If you have ever had a guest in your home, or a family in your home, you see the difference as well. You have to buy more food, wait longer for the shower, and the laundry, and you have extra laundry when they leave.

That puts you out dish soap, laundry soap, gas, towels, bedding, and beds, and you get the picture. You don’t charge your guests for staying in your home, but for hotels, it is the business. This is a key reason why they charge more. They offer a service and it comes at a cost.

It will vary by brand and location. All-you-can-eat resorts, for example, or all-inclusive locations are going to charge by the person, and many times, these are affordable locations. That is because there will be visitors that can eat half of what they pay for and this will make up the costs for the guests who over-indulge.

For these properties, it is much easier, to be honest about who is staying where if you are loading up a room with people because everyone is on their own when it comes to the per person rate. Many hotels that aren’t all-inclusive offer the same rates for the same reason, it is just easier for everyone and the hotel makes their money.

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Is it Fair for Hotels to Charge More per Person?

A lady accommodating two guest.

It is a normal question to ask. Of course, it is fair, the hotel needs to cover its costs. At the same time, are they just marking it up to bring in more cash for themselves? Every person that is on top of things when they are traveling will be asked this question.

Yes, it is fair. The hotel does need to pay its own bills. Still, they will also likely have a markup on their rates as well. That is because they not only want to cover their costs but make a profit too. There’s nothing you can do about it but research the properties that you are considering.

There are times when booking two rooms will be much more effective cost-wise, convenient, and comfort-wise. Some hotels charge more than $20 or $30 per person for staying. If you have enough extra guests in the room, you may be able to book a second room for the double occupancy rate and wind up saving money.

So, in the end, yes, it is fair, but you are in the right to gripe to yourself about the additional cost as well. It could be, and likely is, hiked up more than it needs to be because that’s just the way of the world in business. If they can make more money doing it, the hotel is going to do it, and you can’t do anything about it but stay somewhere else if it is truly cost-prohibitive.

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Do your research and consider many different properties before you commit to paying extra for extra guests in your room on vacation. And compare costs at every angle. Is the vacation going to be better with an extra room booked? Will it be worth the cost, or will the cost difference be negligible? Look at every side of things before you hold the room, and you will feel less stressed about those occupancy rates.