These are my notes from this past March’s MidAtlantic Innkeeper’s Conference presentation. I recently had a few emails from innkeepers asking for suggestions so thought it might be helpful to post them.
Forty-nine percent of pet owners in a survey said they plan to travel with their pets within the next 12 months. Via Tripadvisor Biggest pet peeve when traveling with pets? 50% Finding Activities to do with Pets 25% Additional Fees 15% Weight Restrictions (rough estimate) 15% Finding Accommodations (rough estimate) 10% Breed Restrictions (rough estimate) via GoPetFriendly.com
- Targets a niche demographic, usually people with double incomes, no kids or retired
- Offer something other area lodging may not, especially if you decide to allow larger dog breeds.
- Pet friendly guests are year around, unlike tourism niches
- Other guests may be allergic or be turned off by the nearness of having pet friendly rooms.
- Potential damage to rooms/property
- Extra cleaning needed for rooms and property
- Potential liability biting, issues with other dogs, barking, fleas
- Pet odors
- Ground-floor rooms, with separate entrances if possible.
- Wood or tile/easy to clean floors
- In Room Amenities for the pets, dog beds, custom bowls etc.
- A set aside area specifically for dogs to relieve themselves with waste bags and a disposal can, gravel or rock areas are great for this.
- Develop relationships with your local vets and pet stores, cookies help 🙂
- Develop a pet waiver and have it clear state dos and don’t for guests and dog guests, including fees for damages
- Decide if you want a weight limit on dogs and/or a limit on how many, excluding large dogs excludes more than 50% of your pet friendly guests.
- Decide if you are going to accept any other types of animals
- In pet policies, make it a requirement that pets be spayed/neutered
- Put together lists (and advertise online) of things to do and places to go for guests with their pets, as well area kennels and dog sitters
- Have a list of local vets and emergency services in the area, both on the website and in room
Dog Amenities and Suggestions
- Plastic or metal water bowls with inn name, plastic ones can be gifts
- Easily cleanable Dog beds
- Extra Paper towels
- Dog towels (if you have a rain storm and the dogs have muddy feet have some towels “for” the dogs so they are not using your good ones.
- Consider having your pet free refundable at the end of the stay, but markup pet friendly rooms.
- Consider developing some specials, amenities and packages just for pet friendly guests
- Pet type “extras” with your inn’s name on them are inexpensive and can help brand the business, water bottles, pet frisbees, leashes, collapse able water bowls, the small plastic containers that attach to leashes to hold plastic dog bags for disposal etc.
*Many travel people bring their own bedding and toys with them, as well as food, but extras are always welcome Some sample wording for pet friendly policies: (you don’t need to use everything but find out and customize what works for you.)
Reservations, which include pets, must be made by telephone. 800-555-1212 We charge a $25 – one time pet fee. The charge for a second dog is $10.
We require a $250 fully refundable deposit, which is taken at check-in. Damages incurred because of your pet(s), will be added to your bill.
Your innkeepers will help identify special pet activities & services including hiking trails, pet friendly parks, pet specialty stores plus local veterinary & grooming services for a pet spa day. Please click here for a list of things to do with your pet in the area and other area pet friendly services and amenities.
Sample Pet Policy (selections pulled from Pet Friendly Lodging B&Bs that have been offering Pet Friendly for more then 5 years)
The guest whose signature appears below agrees to have a $100.00 authorization (refundable pet deposit) per room charged to their credit card and refunded upon departure unless any room damage incurred during stay and agrees to abide by the following guidelines: Guest is solely responsible for their dog. This includes, but is not limited to, the dog’s behavior and/or noise.
Dogs may not be left unattended in guestrooms for any reason unless secured in a dog crate. Guestrooms will not be serviced by housekeeping if this is not adhered to.
Guest is responsible for any boarding fees associated with the dog’s removal from the inn. Reasons for removal can include violence, noise, and/or other damage.
Guest is responsible for any lost revenue incurred by Jane Doe Inn as a result of noise complaints or any other situations associated with their dog(s). Guest agrees to have dog(s) leashed at all times when at the ane Doe Inn and in the designated area just outside the Inn marked pet friendly.
If dog is known to be aggressive, the guest must have the dog muzzled.
Dogs are allowed only in the designated area marked “pet friendly” next to the Jane Doe Inn.
Dogs are not permitted in any pool area, interiors of buildings (except guest’s room) or any other recreational areas of the inn.Please refer to the guest directory in your room for town’s regulations on animals on public beaches.
Guest is responsible for any injury their dog(s) may inflict on others.
Guest is responsible for cleaning up after their dog and must dispose of waste in appropriate containers in the exterior trash cans provided in the designated area. Pet waste may not be disposed of in any indoor trash containers, including those in guest rooms.
Guest must provide the Jane Doe Inn with a valid, authorized credit card for any property damages or other fees associated with pet(s).
Jane Doe Inn reserves the right to ask to leave any pet(s) and/or guest(s) from the property at any time.
Dogs are not permitted on the furniture. If you feel your dog may try to get on the furniture, ask the innkeeper for coverings.
Dogs are not to be bathed in the whirlpool tubs or showers.
Dogs must be leashed when on Inn grounds. The Town of ——- also requires that dogs be leashed.
I attest that my dog(s) has not been attack trained and to the best of my knowledge has never injured or threatened to injure anyone.
I agree to be liable for injury to any person or any animal caused by my dog(s) while on the Inn premises.
Dog(s) may remain in guest rooms unattended. Guests should bring a crate(s); if you are concerned their dog(s) may damage furnishings. Should your dog(s) cause a disturbance while you are out, you will be contacted by phone and agree to return to the Inn immediately. I, (print name) ________________________, agree to abide by these guidelines and understand that failure to abide can result in additional charges and fees or potential non-refundable eviction from the resort.
Example of “things to do with your dogs” page: (courtesy of the Glynn House Inn in Ashland, NH
Hiking trails – Dogs and their humans enjoy a huge number of hiking options. The Rattlesnake trailhead – 15 minutes away – offers a series of dog friendly trails and easy climbs. Franconia Notch State Park – 25 minutes drive – has over a dozen dog friendly trails. The only trail, which isn’t dog friendly, is the Flume Gorge. Greeley Ponds and the Lincoln Woods Wilderness Trail – 25 minutes drive – off the Kancamagus Highway scenic Byway – offers several moderate dog friendly hiking options The Welch-Dickey Loop Trail – 25 minutes – off Upper Mad River Road in Waterville Valley – provides another terrific hike for humans and their favorite four-legged friends.
Boating: You can take your best four-legged friend on a six or ten mile paddle on the “Pemi” River. Canoes provide a great home for floating dogs. The river scenery is spectacular. Take your dog on a cruise around Squam Lake. Rent small aluminum runabouts or roomy, comfortable pontoon boats.
Shopping: Dogs like ice cream during the warmer months too. Why not take your four-legged friend for ice cream in Meredith? Pet Paradise in Center Harbor 603 524-3373 has a great selection of pet goodies. Dog Mountain, World-renowned artist Stephen Huneck created Dog Mountain so people can experience his artwork and share his passion for nature. Dog Mountain is filled with joy and fun for dog lovers. Every year thousands of people attend the annual footloose and fancy-free Dog Parties. For more information, visit http://www.dogmt.com.
Specialty Pet Services*** Pet Grooming: Why not give your dog the opportunity to be really pampered? Doggie Designs (603 279-8777) will provide a shampoo, blow dry and manicure. You can have a nice relaxing lunch, while the 4-footed member of the family gets all smartened up
Pet Sitting: Does your dog needs some time away from its humans? First class doggie day care, boarding and training is available at Lakes Region Pet Resort http://www.lakesregionpetresort.com/ White Mountain College for Pets http://www.ebonykennel.com/. Day care & boarding is available at Karriad Kennels http://karriadkennel.com. ***Please book services well in advance.
Veterinarians: Plymouth Animal Hospital (603 536 1213) has a terrific team of medical professionals who can be contacted seven days a week, 24 hours per day. You can also visit the Winnipesaukee Veterinary Emergency Center http://www.winnipesaukeeveter.com
Pet Friendly Directories (go with the free ones only as a recommendation)by keyword
*** are recommended Pet friendly lodging
http://www.bringfido.com/ (comes up high in the search engines but website is not user friendly)
Pet friendly bed and breakfasts
Pet friendly hotels
Pet friendly places to stay
Pet friendly B&Bs