Hotel room Booking SitesBooking offices for hotel rooms
Quite tedious, so a kind of summary: I don't get the surcharge, because it will be exactly the same room in all these cases. Yes, the same room, but more costs for the hotel owner. Generally, at least the following things (where relevant) will be more expensive for more people: chocolate etc, dry cleaners, refrigeration, power, heaters, ice, linen, lights, toilet tissue, service, stationery, teas & coffees, personal hygiene and bottled running water.
Initially I thought that the rationale might have been that the rate for 1 or 2 owners had been adapted to reflect current markets requirements (e.g. reduced for a period when general allocation was anticipated to be low) and that rate for 3 and 4 owners had been disregarded (too much might have been upset to update for what was likely a uncommon requirement).
However, the pricings are much more logical than I would have expected from hotel owners. Rates are mainly $46 +$24 per capita. Only with a two-way that counts 1 as two. In the case of doublerooms it is usual to pay for two persons. Every reduction on individual bookings is probably as much a product of negotiation as a periodic spread in fares.
For example, if the cot is a twin berth, then one person needs to wash and exchange as much as two. However, if there are two single and twin berths to be changed and washed, then there are more costs than for a single berth, so it is reasonable to calculate less for the use of one berth and more for the use of two.
However, these are not exactly measurable, as it also requires a lot of work ( "time and effort") to refine the rates - and to keep all sales offices up to date. Thus, at some point in the future, it may not make much good business to compare a price with other years. Allow for a returns (say ~15%) and if busy, this is $46 per room per day if rented and $24 per owner/night.
For those of you who calculate a price per room, you can do a similar thing, but make your rates easier by choosing slightly more than the price for two persons - relatively more for a couple, but slightly less for 3 and 4 persons. On the basis of the above rates, the part of your query as "Is $20 per head and per hour a reasonable costing?
Work is probably a big part of it (cleaning, household management, maintenance) and that is usually per room (when it is occupied). Electricity/ (part of the) heat is probably "per room" - but the lighting at the bed and the use of devices (e.g. PCs) are not. Probably per person" means drinking and toilet papers, small damages etc.
In combination at a per-room fee, the rates you quote may be approximately $110/night to receive the same amount from the same number of customers distributed in the same manner across the rooms. It' a $16/night raise for them. This would reduce capacity utilization and the cost would have to rise above $110 to offset this.
What makes hotel booking pages ask for the number of persons? The majority of establishments calculate per capita. Attempted a group that did not, for 1 twin room for 1, 2, 3 and 4 persons and the prize was the same for 1 and 2 and twice that for 3 and 4 (but the same as everyone else).
Doubtful that many of the'per night' properties (in the UK) provide homestay homes. That is one of the reasons to ask about the number of persons. Is that what most lodges do? Is there a danger if I only reserve the room with 2 persons and a third one? That your third party has to look for other accommodations, for example.
Hotel owners have to play juggling with many strangers and sometimes do not meet people' s expectation. You can choose between upgrading (with monetary compensation) to a twin room (that seems to be all you really need) for your one-day break and turning away from a big celebration that needs all the hotel's rooms for a whole weeks, even your "one night".... you can forecast the outcomes!
And, as @Gagravarr says, you run the danger of being billed the (often much higher) walk-in rates for all three.