If you book a hotel room for a vacation or business travel, you will likely notice that the posted room rates are based on double occupancy. This means that the hotel's rate calculation factors in the assumption that two people will share the space and bedding already available. Several reasons exist for basing room rates on double occupancy.

Standard Accomodations

Hotel rooms are typically designed and equipped for two travelers. They usually feature a queen- or king-sized bed or two double beds, which are meant to provide adequate comfort for two travelers. If you travel alone, you still have access to the same accommodations as two travelers, so you will typically pay the same rate as if you were traveling with a companion.

Surcharges for Additional Occupancy

Quoting rates as based on double occupancy gives a hotel the ability to impose surcharges if more than two people book a hotel room. The surcharge typically depends on the number of extra people using the room, as well as hotel policies. If more than two people share a room, the hotel can use a surcharge to recoup the costs of providing extra items and services, such as toiletries, towels and complimentary breakfast items.

Surcharges for Additional Amenities

Hotels typically expect travel companions to use the amenities available in standard hotel rooms, and base their rates only on the use of standard items. Quoting rates based on double occupancy allows a hotel to impose additional fees for double accommodations, such as a daybed for a second traveler. A hotel can justify extra fees because it must use staff resources to provide extra amenities for guests, and because the use of these amenities makes them unavailable for other guests.


Although room rates are typically based on double occupancy, some hotels cater to families by permitting children younger than a specified age to occupy a hotel room at no additional cost. This can help attract families that would otherwise choose another hotel based on price. The maximum age of children depends on hotel policies. Also, hotels must limit occupancy based on local or state fire codes -- for example, Hawaii fire codes prohibit a hotel from allowing more than four people to occupy a hotel room, regardless of the ages of the occupants.