Hotel guests no longer need to leave their best friends at home, as traveling with pets is becoming more popular and widely accepted among many hotel brands. Today, a multitude of national hotel companies and smaller independent properties across the country are realizing the value of being truly “pet friendly” and rolling out the red carpet for Fido and Fluffy. More than just a marketing ploy, many hotels are debuting elaborate, carefully crafted programs, converting rooms to designated “pet friendly” spaces, and actively promoting to a pet-loving crowd.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook for 2012, there are approximately 70 million pet do.gs and 74.1 million pet cats in the US. (The Sourcebook is updated every five years). Most hotel owners understand the impact of these numbers and are working hard to attract guests who appreciate a pet-friendly culture.
Here are just a few cool hospitality programs that welcome pets and offer some creative amenities, too:
Kimpton Hotels have been a leading pet-friendly company since their launch, and have become a favorite among pet owners for welcoming any pet without added fees — regardless of size or weight. In addition, Kimpton Hotels offer special pet beds, food and water bowls and snacks in the lobby. The individual properties also provide information about area pet-friendly attractions and businesses, and some Kimptons have dogs on staff to manage the all-important “pet relations.”
Choice Hotels offer about 3,400 pet-friendly properties worldwide and feature a special website page that allows travelers to search for specific properties. They also feature a few value-added extras, such as an updated list of the best dog-friendly cities, local dog parks, and associated travel tips.
W Hotels are known for pampering pooches.Upscale companies are becoming pet-friendly, too. This brand acceptspets under 40 pounds. (Heavier pets require the general manager’s permission). Their program includes a “welcome kit” for owners with info about dog parks and nearby areas for exercise. Guests also receive posh pet beds, floor mats, food bowls, ID tags and more.
In addition, to help pet owners identify the most pet-friendly hotels, companies like GoPetFriendly.com and PetFriendlyHotels.net are great resources for choosing the best places to stay when traveling with furry friends. Also, travel sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia and Travelocity offer “pet friendly” options and reviews when making reservations.