Being A Pet Friendly Vacation Rental
Pet ownership in 2020 is the highest that it has ever been in the United States. In fact, right now a cat or a dog can be found in almost 2/3rds of all American households. That statistic still not accounting for birds, reptiles, or goldfish. Any responsible pet owner should consider what they would do with their companions should they decide to go on vacation. And most would opt to take their pets with them rather than deal with the anxiety of leaving them at home with whatever sitting service they decided on.
Pets are one of the greatest barriers to potential vacationers in 2020, and as a result more and more STVR owners are adopting pet friendly policies for their rentals, but is it enough? According to Booking.com, 42% of pet owners around the world would choose accommodation on the basis that they could bring their pets.
So what should you be doing in order to help boost your bookings and reach the demographic of people that cannot or will not travel without their pets?
1) Set your rental to “allow pets”
I’m sure this seems obvious, but most vacation rentals that would consider themselves “pet friendly” are only such in concept. If you are a STVR owner and you want to appeal to the pet owner market you need to outright label your rental as pet friendly. Without such a distinction most people won’t even consider contacting you in order to avoid disappointment. Nowadays, most, if not all, vacation rental hosting sites allow you to list your rental as pet friendly, and those that do, in turn, provide filtering options for those looking for such a place.
If you are going to invite someone’s pets into your home or rental, It may also be a good idea to charge either a pet fee or a pet deposit. The pet deposit is a little more accommodating, as the charged amount will be returned to the guest on the condition that there are no messes or damage to your property. The former option could be considered the same as an “extra guest” charge.
Take a look at a couple of our listings for an example:
2) Provide pet services
Often times your guests may have plans that do not allow the accompaniment of pets. In such situations it may be beneficial if you put in place pet-sitters or dog-walkers for when they’re out of the rental. The site Care.com is a great place to find such services. Depending on your search area it will include how many options are available as well as the average price. Typically a walker will run you between $10-20 per hour. Sitters may cost you a bit more as its a more inclusive service, but you shouldn’t expect to spend more than $30/hour for good care by a responsible sitter.
3) Provide accommodations for pets.
We’ve spoken before on this blog about the importance of first impressions. When you walk through the door you expect the space to be clean and the bed to be made with fresh sheets. But if you’re lucky to be staying at a rental whose owner likes to provide a certain je ne se quoi you may be treated to a complimentary welcome spread. Perhaps a bottle of sparkling water, pastries from a local bakery, or other local accouterments. Wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if someone put in the same care for your fluffy friend?
If you know that a guest is going to be staying with a pet, perhaps include some biscuits or treats, a short leash and poo-bags, water or food dish, or even a toy. This may also be an opportunity to plug any pet sitters or dog walkers that you may be in network with by leaving the guest their card. Many times guests don’t use such services only because they are not aware that they are available. Include a note or card listing locations of local dog parks and other pet friendly areas in town. And if a guest is staying with a cat, perhaps have a disposable litter tray and extra litter set aside for the guest where they can find it.
Lastly, it may be another pleasant surprise if there is a pet bed set aside for the animal. The guest will be elated that you took special care to make sure that their companion did not have to sleep on the hard ground.
With these tips you will be able to boost your rental visibility and bookings for those attempting to travel with their pets. And if you are considering a vacation rental manager with their finger on the pulse of the industry and the savvy to implement such ideas, we hope you’ll contact us at Timber & Tide Homes, inc.