3 ways hotels are catering to man's best friend
Many “pet parents” today can’t bear to leave their loved ones behind on their vacation. Fortunately, with a rising demand for pet-friendly hotels and services, there are increasingly more options for accommodating hotel stays.
“According to marketresearch.com, 32% of dog owners take their pets with them if they’re traveling for two or more nights,” says David Lemmond, general manager of The Highland Dallas. “This trend absolutely increases demand for a variety of types of hotels offering pet-friendly accommodations.”
Adele Gutman, director of sales, marketing and revenue for the Library Hotel Collection, understands the desire to take pets on the road. Her 15-pound male Maltipoo, Rudy Valentino, loves traveling and has flown about 50-60 flights in his 7 years, says his owner.
“For those who don’t have children and feel that their pet is their child –like me- when you have time off from working so hard, it doesn’t seem appropriate to leave someone behind,” she says. “When you’re relaxing, you want to be with those you love. For me, it’s my dog. I couldn’t dream of leaving my dog in a kennel for weeks of vacation.”
At her company’s pet-friendly Aria Hotel Budapest property in Hungary, which opened last summer, when booking a room, “We have a form that pet owners must complete. Dogs have to be 17 pounds or less, well-behaved and up to date with their shots,” says the administrator. A $50.00 cleaning fee is tacked on to such hotel stays.
In the atrium and courtyard-style building, “Each room has a private, open-air balcony and the protective glass comes up high. It’s pet-safe,” says Gutman.
When it’s feeding time, “We have a special pet room service menu, with chicken and beefneck that’s cooked in our restaurant,” says Gutman.
While there isn’t a designated “dog walker” on staff, “We refer guests to such services locally, as well as pet-sitting, and grooming,” says Gutman. For those interested in assuming such duties themselves, “To the left of our grounds, is a park and inside is a dog run. We’re in a historic city center. It’s full of pedestrians and very easy and comfortable to dog walk here.”
For music-loving pets, “We have a music system in our hotel accessible by remote control or tablet, which carries a music for dogs channel,” says Gutman.
Pet-welcome hotels will soon be the staple, says Andrew Carter, general manager of the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, in Kentucky, which has maintained this status since opening in February of this year.
“Full Service and/or Limited Service properties will need to be pet-friendly to maximize revenue,” he says. “People consider pets part of the family. To take an animal with them at the same cost or cheaper than boarding, it’s a no-brainer.”
While animals, mainly dogs under 50 pounds are preferred, “We don’t weigh an animal,” says Carter. A $150 non-refundable fee is set, “To shampoo the room, change linens and provide a thorough cleaning.”
Read on for 3 more ways hotels are catering to the pet-friendly set:
- Anticipate needs. Pet-friendly since 2008, “We don’t’ charge pet fees and provide amenities that assist in making guests comfortable. We provide pet beds, bowls for water and food, as well as treats, which make owners and pets feel as though we’ve been expecting them,” says Lemmond. “Our team has researched where to conveniently get pet foods and grooming and veterinary care.
- Go the extra mile. “When I arrived at the Aria, I thought I’d buy a carrier with wheels for my dog. The manager opened up his phone and showed us a photo of a rolling carrier and where it was sold. He ordered it and had it delivered to the hotel within two hours,” says Gutman. “We left it there for the next people to enjoy it.”
- Target your market. At Hotel 48LEX in New York City, a “48LEX Loves Dogs” package is offered, which includes a dog mat, bowls with bottled water service, branded dog tag, complimentary toys, waste bag dispenser and optional dog walking services, according to Alexandra Mazza, Public Relations Manager for the property. The hotel also partners with Bideawee, the animal welfare organization and donates proceeds from its pet fee to the group, an initiative customers value, she says.