If this headline grabbed you, then you probably belong to one of the 78 million households in America (according to The Week) that owns one of these four-legged pooches.
I too am one in that category, being the proud “father” of a 120-lb (54-kg) bundle of fur named Caesar — a somewhat overweight, spoiled Bouvier des Flandres that entered our family’s life six years ago. Caesar is not just a dog — he is an important member of our household. Many of you may roll your eyes, but a full quarter or more of those reading this will nod in agreement.
So, do you accept dogs on your property? And if not, are you missing a significant revenue opportunity?
My experience working with properties that allow dogs ranges from tourist class to 5-star luxury boutiques. In all, the general manager’s responses have been unanimous: having dogs on property presents no major problems, and in many ways, dogs are better behaved than their bipedal masters.
When a dog is a member of the family, you have two options: a dog sitter or pet-friendly accommodation. Given Caesar’s size, he does not fly, so our kids take on dog-sitting duties. Thankfully, most dogs aren’t the size of teenagers, allowing for easier transport. That means dogs are going on holidays alongside Mom, Dad and the kids with increasing regularity. So, if you are not pet-friendly, your property is off the list.
Sure, there are going to be issues that arise, but the advantages outweigh the negatives. Your guests will adore the furry little friends scurrying about the property. Think of dogs more as an additional feature for your guests to emotionally connect with your hotel — one extra detail to brighten one’s day.
Accepting dogs is not something that is overly complex, but it does require some operational planning. Often, a series of rooms, floors or sections are reserved exclusively for guests with animals. A guide is required, providing the following:
- Dog menus
- An understanding of all charges
- List of local vets
- Map of walking trails and off-leash areas
- A liability waiver for the guest to sign
Once you’re ready, make sure you manage the reservations component. There are also many directories of hotels that allow dogs, and in order to tap into this travel niche, you need to get on that list.
All of this is straightforward, so what are you waiting for?
(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in HOTELSmag on June 17, 2013)