We love our pets here at Hotelchamp. Over half of our Customer Success team has their own dog or cat. In the past year, many of us found comfort and companionship through our pets while we’ve been at home—and we are not the only ones. Last year, the number of foster pets in US homes increased by 8% according to PetPoint. Similarly, nearly half of the British households who currently own a pet got at least one new animal during lockdown.

As we all get more eager to change our surroundings, people are looking for pet-friendly accommodation within driving distance. With current restrictions, an international beach holiday might be a stretch so the focus has shifted to nearby destinations. Since we’ve also turned to our pets to endure the current situation we live in, going on a staycation with your four-legged friends is an excellent vacation.

Travellers want to bring their pets

Looking at Google Trends data over the past 12 months, more people want to take their pets along on their holiday. During this time, there was a 157% increase in Google searches for “pet-friendly hotels”. “Pet-friendly holiday homes” also had a search increase of over 60%. Similar search queries during the same period such as “pet-friendly accommodation near me” also saw increases.

Zooming in more specifically to the pet most likely to accompany us on our holidays - yes, dogs! The popularity in recent searches sky-rocketed with “dog-friendly hotel” increasing 450% in the past year. Related queries such as “dog hotel near me” and “pet-friendly hotel near me” all have increased drastically too. Following this trend, hotels should be quick to recognise the increasing demand and make sure they service these guests.

Why offer pet-friendly services?

So why should hotels choose to offer pet-friendly services? Aside from just the increased search demand, allowing pets is a great opportunity to generate additional revenue. Hotels can charge a fixed cost per stay or ask for a deposit for potential damage caused. Rooms for pet owners can also be offered for a premium price. Gifts for pets can be printed with a logo to help create brand awareness. Or you could also offer dog walking services or doggy daycare for an additional fee. Offering a pet-friendly service could be the difference between a guest choosing your hotel or a competitor.

In Shanghai, where Chinese New Year was celebrated in mid-February, there was a spike of bookings on the fourth day of the holiday, Valentine’s Day. Accommodation that allowed pets was among the most popular room choices. Plus, room prices almost doubled compared with last year according to the Chinese online travel platform Fliggy (ex-Alitrip). There are a number of possibilities to create a unique experience for a growing market of guests.

Highlight your pet-friendly accommodation

When booking a stay with a pet, guests might have a number of different questions during their stay. It’s important to make sure that there is less opportunity for confusion and that information is specified on your website for these guests. For example, it is common to specify which animals are allowed to stay and a size or weight limit. Similarly, make sure to clarify which areas of the hotel animals are allowed in. In most cases, communal areas such as swimming pools, gyms and bars are prohibited for pets. Although this differs per property, it is advisable to clearly state this on your website. Generally, a smaller number of guests will be staying with their pet and it’s important to make sure that guests staying without pets also have an enjoyable experience.

Hotels can benefit from promoting a flexible pet policy visibly on web pages for guests to see. Information such as this is often tucked away in a section of the website where hardly anybody reads it. Going a step further, hotels have an opportunity to become more creative when accommodating pets. The increase in hotel guests with pets can be classified as a new traveller persona, meaning it is worthwhile shaping packages for this segment.

How other hotels appeal to travellers with pets

From 3-star hotels to luxury brands and from independent city hotels to family-run businesses close to the seaside, here is a shortlist of some of the most exciting packages that are shaped or amenities that are made available to target holiday goers with their pets.

  • Early this year a luxury hotel in Asia ran a proposition test with 2 different staycation offers. Both staycation offers were targeted at local travellers and would appear in a message on the website, with a 50/50 traffic split. One staycation offer was focused on spa and relaxation while the other offer was built around a luxury pet experience. Although both offers converted well, the conversion rate of the pet staycation offer was 16% higher.
W Hotel Abu Dhabi - Awesome Pat Retreat
  • At The W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island pets get their own gifts on arrival including treats, toys, special welcome amenities and more. The kitchen even provides a pet-friendly PAW menu. Plus, there’s an option to hire a pet-sitter for free in case hotel guests would like to make use of the pool, restaurants or bars which are off-limits to non-human guests. P.S. goldfish are also allowed!
  • German-based hotel group Travel Charme emphasises their point of view by stating that dogs are not only allowed but welcome in six of their resorts. Using their properties’ location as a selling point, a big focus is on exploring the mountains and long beach walks together with your dog. When travelling to Travel Charme Fuerstenhaus you might also meet Bruno, the hotel director’s dog who lives at the hotel.
  • As a guest staying with your dog at the Austrian 4-star hotel, Inntaler Hof, you pay an extra per night price for their dog service. This service has extras such as welcome treats upon arrival, protective covers for beds and dog blankets. They’ve thought of everything, including dog towels at the entrances when you come back from a long walk or an information folder that includes information about local veterinarians, clinics and hiking recommendations. There is also an option to pay for food service for your dog which can cater to special diets on request. The pet-friendly hotel also works with a certified dog trainer that guests can book individual training sessions so that they can return from holiday with a well-mannered pet.
  • Kimpton Hotels, with hotels all over the globe, invites guests to bring furry, feathery or scaly family members—no matter their size, weight or breed, at no extra charge. To understand their love for pets, you might want to take a minute to meet the Kimpton Directors of Pet Relations. Pets are greeted by name and a selection of hotel amenities are placed in your room upon arrival. Door hangers alert other hotel guests and staff that a pet is staying in the room. A concierge list includes nearby pet-friendly restaurants, groomers and boutiques. At selected hotels, pets are welcome to join the party at their nightly wine reception.
Kimpton - Per Friendly Hotels

Set up your pet-friendly offer

The growing market of people travelling with pets is a great opportunity for your hotel this year. Inspired to capture the interest of local residents, looking for a nearby staycation with their four-legged friends? Contact us at welcome@hotelchamp.com to create a new campaign to leverage your pet-friendly services.

Mar 29, 2021
Trends and Insights
Written by
Remco Schut