Dog Days of Summer and Pet-Friendly Hotels
Pandemic Pets hitting the road
Approximately 20% of American households adopted pets during the pandemic. More than half of those expanded families plan to travel this summer with their pup (or cat, ferret, pig etc.) in tow.
Travelers with pets are a huge market and pet-friendly offerings can prove profitable. While Hotels are increasingly catering to their four-legged clientele, promoting your pet friendliness can be a balancing act with business travelers who might not be so keen to have animals around.
We have some suggestions on welcoming all travelers and setting pet policies.
First, here are some interesting ‘pet travel statistics’ from petkeen.com:
- 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets each year.
- 54% of cat and dog owners plan to travel with their pet
- 58% of people would prefer to travel with their pet over a friend or family member.
- 52% of travelers base their travel plans on accommodating pets.
- About 75% of luxury, mid-scale, and economy hotels allow pets.
- Dogs make up 58% of the pets traveling around the world.
- 37% of owners take shorter vacations because of their pets.
- 10% of travelers have hidden their dogs to travel.
Upgrade from Pet-Friendly to Pet-Welcoming
Most people consider their pets as part of their family and prefer to travel with them over boarding them or paying a pet sitter. (And apparently, many of them prefer to travel with their pet over traveling with their people).
But traveling with pets can be a discouraging hassle. So many hotels are ‘rolling out the red carpet’ and moving beyond ‘pet-friendly’ to ‘pet welcoming’ with perks and pet packages.
Some hotels make pets part of their brand, creating strong brand loyalty with regular travelers with pets. Kimpton Hotels for example was one of the first brands to allow pets without additional fees at all of their hotels with their slogan: “If your pet fits through the door, we’ll welcome them in.”
The Kimpton has a partnership with Wag!, an app to find dog walkers and pet services. They also offer many pet-friendly amenities including lush pet beds and bowls and a concierge list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers, and pet boutiques.
Nearly 85% of U.S. Hilton properties are pet-friendly, and they’ve partnered with Bark Box and Mars Petcare for pet health and wellness. And Virgin opened its first hotel in NYC last month boasting many ‘pet-menities’ including floor-to-ceiling windows and access to dog runs.
Some hotels offer doggy dine-in menus, nose and paw balms, and puppucinnos. Others offer welcome kits with toys, treats, and branded bandannas.
Remember to promote your pet-friendliness with relevant content on your website and in your marketing. Add your business listing to referral sites like BringFido.com.
Pet policies should be very clear
Creating pet-friendly properties can be challenging. Your hotel may need to take into account some visitors who want to limit interaction with animals. Make sure your pet policies are very clear. These are some considerations:
- Limits on the size or the number of pets allowed
- You might consider designating certain wings or areas as pet-friendly
- Requirements that pets stay on a leash when outside the room
- Invest in resilient textiles and flooring
- Allow for access to outdoor space for pet relief or dog runs
- Ensure adequate communication for housekeeping services
Also, see our separate article concerning service animals here.