How to Become a Pet-Friendly Hotel: The Ultimate Guide
The number of people who choose to bring their pets on holiday is increasing every year, so much so that travel with pets is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry. As a result, hotels are adapting the way they do business to tap into this increasingly important customer segment and maintain their client appeal in the face of stiff competition.
As a hotel management company, we have unrivalled experience when it comes to optimizing hotel attractiveness for each customer segment and following upcoming trends. In the past, we have already covered specific customer segments in our blog articles such as making your hotel female-friendly, or focusing on attracting millennials, families or Chinese travellers. We’ve also talked about extra services and amenities that a hotel can offer when focusing on the luxury market. In the coming months, we will go into detail about extras to offer as a hostel, budget hotel and mid-scale hotel.
Today's topic, attracting guests with pets, is not only about possible services to provide but also to explain the rules and regulations to take into consideration. When allowing pets in your hotel there are certain factors that you can take into account in your pet-friendly hotel strategy. Join me in this brief guide as we look at the main elements to consider when adapting your hotel, and the services you can provide to both enhance your guest’s stay and generate extra revenue.
‘Paws’ for thought: 3 steps to get the foundations right
There are certain key considerations to take into account when choosing to provide a pet-friendly hotel.
1. Choose the type of pet
Deciding the type and size of animals that you want to allow on-site is a key fundamental step. A good rule-of-thumb would be to have a two-pet per client maximum with a defined weight limit and an upfront pricing structure. This ensures that potential customers will know both which pets they can bring and how much it will cost before they arrive.
2. Setting basic pet owner rules
It is essential to have a clearly defined set of rules regarding guests’ pets, ideally included on your hotel website and/or on any pet-promotion advertising collateral.
For instance, you can be specific about areas within the hotel grounds that pets are allowed. In particular, you can designate certain no-go zones, such as food and beverage areas and the pool, where pets may be strictly forbidden. Successful pet-friendly hotels combine this approach with a designated pet zone, where guests can take their animal(s). For dogs, you may also want to highlight nearby trails for walking.
3. Clarifying pets owner responsibility
Guests should also be informed of their responsibility for any furniture damage or personal injury because of their pet. Dogs should be kept on leads at all times, while owners can agree to measures to prevent any barking at night time, to ensure that other guests’ sleep is not disturbed.
You can require that guests sign a contract agreeing to these steps, with possible measures to be taken should they break them.
Services your hotel can provide to pet travellers
At Xotels we know that little details like providing food and water bowls along with added extras like a goodie bag can make all the difference when it comes to securing repeat custom.
The same applies to premium services in the event of multiple visits by pet-owners. Here are just a few ideas that we have used in the past at our pet-friendly hotels:
- Animal room service: Offer a few specially-created dishes for each type of pet and leave this menu inside rooms for guests with pets.
- A day-care centre for animals so their owners can enjoy some time away from their pet safe in the knowledge that they are in good hands.
- Dog-walking services – perfect for giving your guests some free time while keeping their pet active.
- Extra services provided inside the hotel such as a dog groomer.
Making sure guests without a pet have a pleasant stay
When adapting your hotel to attract travellers with pets by offering some extra services, it is crucial to ensure that the needs of non-pet owner guests are not affected. You can achieve this by providing pet owners with a guide with tips on keeping their animal quiet and content. For example, walking a dog will help keep it docile when back in its room, while soundproofing rooms provide an additional guarantee.
For staff, door hangers could be provided to alert them that there is a pet in the room along with a description of the personalities or needs of certain pets.
The Final Word
By implementing these tips you will attract pet-friendly guests and turn them into repeat clients with an outstanding pet-friendly service that elevates your hotel concept above and beyond your competitors. So many people view their furry friend as a treasured family member, planning their trips around hotels that meet these needs.
Now is an opportune time to accelerate your hotel’s appeal to guests with pets and boost your ability to proactively respond to this growing demographic.
Patrick Landman @ Xotels