Do Hotels Allow Extra Guests? How To Find Out

When you make a reservation, hotels often require you to enter the number of guests that will be staying. However, plans change. If you’ve added additional people to your trip, you’re probably wondering whether you should try to sneak them into your hotel room or if the hotel will simply allow the extra guests. 

Hotels don’t allow extra guests in most cases, but it’s often difficult for them to know you’ve added guests unless you cause trouble. Some hotels charge additional fees for adding people to your party, but oftentimes, they need to have an accurate headcount for fire and safety reasons. 

Hotels generally want to know how many people are staying in their building. In the rest of the article, I’ll explain why, and I’ll also explain how you can know for sure whether or not they allow extra guests.

What To Know About Hotels and Extra Guests

Here are some things to know about hotels and bringing in extra guests:

  • Hotels often charge per person. Many hotels charge per adult, and those that do wouldn’t allow extra guests unless they paid their way in. Some hotels may allow you to add additional guests free of charge, provided the booked room can accommodate them. 
  • Hotels must abide by codes and regulations. Fire codes and other safety regulations often dictate maximum occupancy in hotel rooms. A hotel would not allow extra guests if it meant violating these regulations. 
  • Hotels might need to have an accurate headcount. In the event that hotel guests need to evacuate the building in response to an emergency, hotels might need to have a headcount to know how many people to expect. 
  • Knowing the number of guests helps hotels manage costs, allocate resources, and keep accurate statistics. Hotels often track internet usage, water and sewage, and other types of data. If more guests are present in a room than expected, this may throw off the number. 

Hotels have many reasons for not allowing extra guests in a room, especially guests they aren’t aware of. Fire codes are the most likely reason a hotel wouldn’t allow additional occupants, given that they might need to document and report the number of guests in each room. 

That said, unless you and your guests are causing trouble, it will be difficult for the hotel to know you’ve brought in extra guests. If you are going through a lot of towels, toiletries, or hotel room drinks, you might draw more attention. 

How To Find Out if a Hotel Allows Extra Guests

Here are five ways to find out if your hotel will allow you to bring extra guests into your room. 

1. Ask Hotel Employees for Occupancy Rules

If you want to be direct, you can always ask the hotel employees. This might open you up to more fees, and the hotel may even ask you to rent another room depending on how many guests you add. Sometimes, a hotel might provide you with cots if you bring extra guests that won’t have anywhere to sleep. 

Often, hotels are only worried about extra guests that are staying the night. If you are inviting people over to hang out for a short while, it may be less of an issue. However, if the hotel says you can’t bring extra guests, you’ll be forced to find another option. 

2. Search for Maximum Occupancy Policies on the Hotel’s Website

Do Hotels Allow Extra Guests

Hotels typically list their house rules somewhere on their website. If you search this page, you should find something about maximum occupancy. 

Here, you will learn what the standard maximum occupancies are for the rooms in the hotel. If your party exceeds the numbers given, you could expect the hotel to ask you to rent another room. The maximum occupancy numbers typically come from state fire and safety regulations. 

3. Look for a Maximum Occupancy Plaque in the Room 

If you are already in the room and want to bring in extra guests, you may find a “maximum occupancy” plaque somewhere in the room. Often, you can find it on the back of the door or on safety documentation posted near the entrance. 

If the number of extra guests puts you over the posted maximum occupancy, the hotel is unlikely to allow the extra guests. 

However, it never hurts to ask. If you don’t want to get caught sneaking in extra guests, you can ask the hotel staff. Sometimes, they may allow one additional person.

4. Try Booking a Hotel Room

Since booking sites will ask you how many people are staying at the hotel, you can try booking a room to find the maximum occupancy. 

Booking sites may not allow you to input a number greater than the maximum occupancy. The option to add guests may gray out once you’ve reached the threshold. If this happens, you can take it as a sign that the hotel does not allow extra guests. You can also contact the hotel directly to be sure.

5. Contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office

The State Fire Marshal is the one who determines the maximum occupancy of hotel rooms, and it is usually based on square footage. 

You can always call the state Fire Marshal’s office to request information about hotel occupancy. They should be able to tell you what the standard numbers are, but they will never recommend exceeding the numbers given. 

People often criticize hotel occupancy limits because the numbers tend to be very low (usually 4 to 6). However, more occupants mean more luggage, food, and trash. More occupants also mean fire exits would be more crowded, which is another safety issue.

Final Thoughts

Hotels typically won’t allow extra guests, especially if the number of guests exceeds the state-imposed occupancy limits. 

If the number of extra guests is still below the room’s maximum occupancy, hotels that charge per adult likely wouldn’t appreciate you bringing in extra occupants without them knowing. Hotels also like to have an accurate headcount for emergency situations and for tracking data about amenity usage. 

That said, it’s difficult for hotels to know you are bringing in extra guests unless you constantly request extra towels or trigger noise complaints (among other things that might draw attention).


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