One of the newest trends we’re seeing in the travel and hospitality industry is the increase in travel with pets. The ASPCA shared that in March 2020, there was a 58% adoption rate for animals at the beginning of the month, and by the end, it jumped to 85% — an increase of 27% — and that only continued to soar throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
With most of the country working from home, it has been the perfect time to add a four-legged friend to the family! There’s more time available for training and bonding, and it seems like a no-brainer. By the end of 2020, for the first time in a long time, shelters were almost empty and animals were finding their forever homes.
But as the world begins to open, and travel restrictions have been lifting slowly, these families and young professionals are looking to get out of the house and take vacations — but what does that mean for the family dog? They just might be coming along for the ride!
Here are a few tips to make your hotel pet-friendly and ensure you have the right petiquette:
Getting your hotel prepared for pet-friendly services
Now you may think that opening your doors to four-legged friends may be pretty simple: stock up on a few supplies, update your website, create some new packages, and BOOM! You’re ready to serve your new guests. But there’s a lot of things that will go into this transition, and it’ll be good to communicate about the enhancements so your future guests with pets understand the surcharges that come with bringing their pet along for the trip.
A few things that are a must:
- Enhanced cleaning to remove any allergens from having dogs in your hotel rooms.
- Pet-friendly floors and areas throughout the hotel. Whether it’s blocking off a wing of your hotel for pet-friendly stays or dedicating your first-floor rooms, it’s smart to have dedicated space by chance you have guests who aren’t too fond of animals.
- Amenities for pets, such as placing water bowls throughout the main areas and creating pet-friendly outdoor areas if you have them are a good start. You should have waste bags readily available at certain points throughout the hotel. And a big perk would be having a daycare, puppy spa, groomers, or trainers to give your human guests a little break and give your four-legged guest a little fun on their own!
- Local relationships and a contact sheet that lists local pet-groomers, doctors, animal hospitals that are readily available for guests with pets will be a nice addition. Along with having maps of pet-friendly restaurants and experiences nearby, having a contact list for any emergencies they have will make their stay a bit more enjoyable.
- Pet-friendly policies should be in place to protect all your guests will make everyone’s lives a bit easier. Ensuring all animals have their vaccinations at check-in with proper paperwork should be a priority. Then, look into restrictions on how many pets your guests can bring, and what weight restrictions you’ll enforce (most hoteliers do a max of 2 pets with a maximum weight of 75 lbs). And make it clear what the repercussions will be with noise complaints. Sometimes dogs can be a bit talkative and no one enjoys that when you’re trying to relax!
Your hotel guests will be paying a premium to bring along their furry friends, so having all enhancements, perks, and policies laid out in advance will be a smart way to set expectations for all parties.
Stock up on pet-friendly supplies
Having enough supplies for your new four-legged guests is always a good idea. Your human guests are relieved to be able to call down for a toothbrush when theirs is missing. So when your guests forget their dog bowls, it’ll be nice to have some in stock for their convenience.
Also, most dog owners are prepared with an abundance of poop bags, but you can never be overly prepared. Lining your walkways and entrances with a standing bag dispenser will help your guests clean up after their dogs and keep your grounds clean and safe.
Create pet-friendly packages and offers
In addition to your pet-friendly supplies, it’ll be a good idea to stock up on pet-friendly foods. Our friends at Lowes Hotels and Resorts have really taken their canine love to the next level with the packages they’ve created to ensure a happy stay for both dogs and their owners.
Through their Lowes Loves Pets program, they offer their dog visitors great snacks and treats upon check-in including toys, a bed, tasty treats, and more. And then during their stay, they have items such as “Pet-in-room” door tags, maps for dog walking routes and areas of the hotel, complimentary doggy waste bags, recommendations for dog-friendly attractions nearby, and the best perk: a gourmet menu for pet-friendly room service!
Hoteliers are charging a non-refundable pet fee for their stay on top of their guests’ room cost and requiring proof of vaccinations at check-in. But, with these added costs come a lot of benefits and the best part is your four-legged friend is getting a lovely vacation with their family, instead of being boarded.
Designate pet-friendly outdoor spaces
Some hotels and resorts that have outdoor space available are using it to create small dog parks and pet-friendly outdoor areas where guests can take their dog to run around and release some energy. For those hotels that are within a city or don’t have outdoor spaces, they’ve been creating maps with walking trails, dog parks, and pet-friendly attractions to alleviate some of the stress of figuring out what to do.
We continue to see the trends of pet-friendly travel emerge, and we’re excited about it. This recent article published by TravelPulse highlights the top 20 destinations for pet-friendly travel. Are you ready to get your hotel listed on here?
At Tripleseat, we’re a happy, pet-friendly office. We understand that it’s hard to leave your four-legged babies at home while you’re working or traveling, so we’re here to help and support our hoteliers make the transition to pet-friendly accommodations. Request a demo today to learn more about Tripleseat, the leading cloud-based sales and catering platform for hotels!
If you’re interested in learning more about hospitality trends, you should check out our blog; or subscribe to our podcast, Two Chicks, Three Seats, which releases new episodes weekly; or join our Facebook group, Event Manager Community, to connect with peers and discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and hospitality industry.