Marketing your property as a pet-friendly vacation rental is a big decision, but the advantages should definitely give you “paws” for thought. Statistics show that 42% of US households include at least one dog, and over half of pet owners travel with their furry pal at least once a year. That’s around 30 million potential bookings for dog-friendly rentals.
While 60% of hotels have a pet-friendly policy, according to the American Hotel Lodging Association, less than 15% of vacation rental properties welcome pets. Are you sensibly avoiding damage to property by banning pets, or are you missing out on a huge untapped market?
One thing you cannot do is put your head in the sand and ignore the facts. If you do not clearly state your no-pet policy, you may have all the disadvantages (20% of owners sneak pets into your property) yet reap none of the financial benefits.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the main pros and cons of a pet-friendly vacation rental!
Advantages of pet-friendly vacation rentals
1. Wider market appeal
In 2012, 29.1 million vacationers traveled with their pets, creating a huge niche market for pet-friendly accommodation.
Solo travellers, families and retirees often prefer to include their pets in their vacation plans as they provide company and security for owners during a stay in a strange new place. Pet lovers also feel guilty at leaving their four-legged friends behind in boarding kennels, so are more than happy to pay extra for suitable pet-friendly accommodation.
Pet boarding costs typically start at $25 per pet per day, allowing you to add a healthy supplement to your prices for pet owners.
Many travelers enjoy active outdoor pursuits in spring and fall and specifically want to bring their pets along. This provides high demand for pet-friendly accommodation in months that typically are not fully booked. Airlines, restaurants and hotels are increasingly pet-friendly, so by welcoming pets to your vacation rental, you can easily stand out from the crowd and attract more bookings.
2. Maximized profits
Vacation rental owners typically charge 20-30% more for pet-friendly properties. This is due to the higher demand for properties that welcome pets, particularly those that provide thoughtful extra touches such as dog dishes, feeding mats, chewable toys and a welcome treat.
Given that most hotels add $20-50 per stay for guests with pets in tow, with some charging up to $250, why not follow suit?
In addition, pet-friendly properties charge higher security deposits to cover carpet cleaning, hair removal and any damage, even if it’s just a few scratches. Typical security deposits range from $20 to $250. In the event that furniture or mats have to be cleaned or replaced, this sum will allow hosts to cover the charges at the pet owner’s expense.
3. Better feedback
Vacation rentals typically offer more space than hotel rooms, making them far more desirable for pet owners. A secure yard, pet-friendly parks, countryside walks and long beaches nearby will certainly appeal to dog-lovers. And happy clients equal higher satisfaction rating and feedback. These positive reviews will, in turn, generate more bookings for your property in the future.
Pleased pet owners are also far more likely to become return renters in future and are likely to spread the word to other travelers looking for pet-friendly accommodation options.
Disadvantages of pet-friendly vacation rentals
On the negative side, allowing pets to stay can cause some noise disturbance, particularly in apartments or multi-unit properties. After all, nobody wants a meowing cat or a yapping dog keeping them up all night. If your property has a shared entrance or communal gardens, unfamiliar dogs may be considered a nuisance by other owners.
Condo association regulations may limit the size or number or may even ban pets, so consider your neighbors carefully and check the small print before marketing your vacation rental as pet-friendly.
Some future guests may have allergies to fur or pet dander, traces of which may be left behind even after the deepest clean. Unfortunately, fleas and ticks may also take up residence at your rental even after their four-legged host has departed.
Pet-friendly properties must be inspected for damage or evidence of infestation before releasing the security deposit. You should instigate strict flea control routines and shampoo all carpets and rugs after every guest, particularly if the incoming guest does not have pets traveling with them.
Cleaning procedures must include routine inspection for damage, including chewed cables and scratched doors. You may want to limit pets by size/weight or quantity to lower the risk of pet damage. However, big dogs generally tend to have a mellower disposition and are less prone to chewing than smaller dogs.
It’s also imperative you include clear house rules with your rental which state where pets can and cannot go. For example, you might want to impose a rule that pets are not allowed in bedrooms or on the furniture to minimize damage possibilities.
Many vacation rental owners may naturally be reluctant to market their property as pet-friendly. However, welcoming pets and owners is proven to deliver better occupancy levels and higher profits.
Do you accept pets at your vacation rental? Or is your home a totally animal-free zone? Let us know in the comments!