There are many people who love their pets, and can’t go on holiday without them. These people are also willing to spend a lot of money on pet care and travel. More than 50% households in America have pets. However, this also means that around 50% don’t have pets. As a hotel or inn owner, you have to deal with both categories.
Recently, American Airlines announced that their flights transport more than 100,000 pets every year. This amounts to multi-million dollars in profits. The data is only about American Airlines. It is worth mentioning that over 50 airlines around the world transport pets. It’s clear that traveling pet owners are a major business. It’s also the primary reason for many hoteliers to accept them in their facilities.
According to statistics, more than $47 billion was spent on various pet products and services in 2010. In addition to this, more than 29 million people traveled with their pets in the same year. Interestingly, over 30% of these travelers looked for lodging options that welcomed pets. This means higher revenue for pet friendly hotels and inns.
An increase in the number of bookings is the most obvious benefit. Another good reason to make your place pet friendly is that such guests tend to stay longer, and even become return customers. Another major benefit of a pet friendly accommodation is the extra exposure.
Many websites list pet friendly accommodations to provide travelers with extensive information. Even event organizers in various cities refer pet travelers to your accommodation. Similarly, if a pet owner’s house needs to be evacuated, he might be looking for a pet friendly accommodation in the city. Most importantly, guests with a positive experience recommend your place to other pet owners.
However, there is a big dilemma. Pet friendly accommodations are obviously interested in extra profits, but they also want other guests. In some instances, other guests in your accommodation might not like the company of pets. If you don’t take the right steps, you might end up losing other 50% of travelers. Most pet friendly accommodations have separate pet rooms - although this may be different for pet owners who hold an ESA letter. However, the ones that don’t have this luxury need effective communication to save the business.
Be Upfront – Wen you’re talking to a potential guest, you should be upfront about your pet friendly policy. You should ask the person if he or she has a problem with pets. You shouldn’t wait until the person checks in, and gets annoyed on seeing a little cat or dog run through the lobby.
Separate Room Locations – If the guest doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about pets, you should make sure that the pet and your potential guest have separate room locations. There should be sufficient distance between both rooms to reduce the possibility of any confrontations.
Ask About Allergies – In case your potential guest suffers from an allergy or simply doesn’t like pets, you should recommend another place to stay. It’s much better than the person asking for his or her money back, and leaving you with a vacant room that you could have given to someone else.
Time and Place for Pets – You should let every person know, including pet owners, other guests and staff members about the time and place where pets are allowed. Some guests may even prefer that pets don’t enter the main hotel building. There should always be designated areas for pets. All the guests, especially traveling pet owners, should know about the rules.
Well Defined Policy – The accommodation should have a well-defined pet policy. It should be explained to pet owners in advance. For instance, some of your guests may find even a small dog to be frightening. Thus, it’s important to set some rules and guidelines.
Explain Everything At Check In – When a pet owner checks in, you should explain all the rules about specific locations, times and other information. You should also handover some treats and plastic bags for the pet.
With a good pet policy and proper planning, you can make it easier for both pet friendly and non-pet friendly owners. You will be able to increase the profits, while maintaining peace with other guests in your hotel or inn.