For an increasing number of Americans, leaving behind their furry friends when traveling is no longer an option. The American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans will spend more than $60.5 billion on their pets in 2015. In addition, the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey found that 37 percent of owners are taking their dogs along on vacation. It is not a surprise that an increasing amount of that revenue is pouring into pet-friendly lodging and accommodations; after all, these critters are part of the family, and they deserve a getaway, too.
Many hotel properties have tuned into this trend and are getting a leg up on the competition by opening their doors to both guests and their pets. “Pet owners in the United States are now regularly bringing their pets along on family vacations, weekend getaways, and even business trips,” explains pet travel expert and founder of a pet-friendly travel company, BringFido, Melissa Halliburton. “Pet fees can be particularly profitable for hotels, generally boosting room night revenue by 20 to 30 percent. And add-on services, like pet items in mini-bars and snack shops, can add even more to the bottom line.”
Since founding BringFido 10 years ago, Halliburton has seen firsthand the capital benefits of a hospitality environment that welcomes pets. She has also found a way to capitalize on this trend by offering services such as the Dog Treat Delivery Program, which provides hotels with fresh, quality treats.
Transitioning into a pet-friendly hotel comes with logistical challenges, but many locations are minimizing renovations by designating one floor for guests with pets. Pet-friendly guestroom updates include hard surface flooring and play areas. “Hoteliers will always need to balance the needs of dog lovers and non-pet owners,” Halliburton says. “Not every guest will be happy to see a pet strolling through the lobby, but most brands have found a way to accommodate everyone—and those are the brands seeing the profits.”