We love our pets here at Hotelchamp. We wouldn’t be lying if we said we have at least 3 cats always ‘intruding’ on our weekly online meetings. Since the pandemic, many of us found comfort and companionship through our pets while we’ve been either staying at or working from home—and we are not the only ones. 78% of U.S. pet owners have acquired pets during the pandemic—and the expenditures on pets continue to increase.
Even though people don’t spend nearly as much time at home as they did during the pandemic, they haven’t forgotten their four-legged friends. Approximately 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets each year! More importantly, people want to take their pets on overnight stays. And as travellers consider their furry friends part of their family, hotels have an opportunity to give guests and their travel companions an excellent vacation.
Travellers want to bring their pets
People take their pets on holiday more than ever before. The rate at which pet owners take their furry friends for holiday travels has increased by 19% over the last decade. As a result, bookings for pet travel have increased by more than a third compared to pre-pandemic. Zooming in more specifically to the pet most likely to accompany us on our holidays - yes, dogs! Bringing in the largest part of the revenue coming from pet travel, dogs make great travel companions. This is why 27% of dog owners demand more dog-friendly services. 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 the 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.
Looking at Google Trends, worldwide Google searches for “dog friendly hotel” and “pet friendly hotel” have been steadily growing in popularity. And though usually, in the past two decades, searches used to spike in the months of July and August, post-pandemic these searches are popular all-year round.
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 short list of some of the most exciting packages that are shaped or amenities that are made available to target holiday goers with their pets.
- 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 price per night price for their dog service. This service has extras such as welcome treats upon arrival, drinking and food bowls in different sizes and dog-gas bags. There is also an option to pay for food service for your dog which can cater to special diets on request.
- 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.
- 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.
Set up your pet-friendly offer
The growing market of people travelling with pets is a great opportunity for your hotel. Inspired to capture the interest of local residents, looking for a nearby staycation with their four-legged friends? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to create a new campaign to leverage your pet-friendly services.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2021 and has been refreshed and updated for accuracy and new best practices.