According to a 2015 article in the New York Times, pet ownership in the United States increased about 3 percent over the last five years, and spending on pet items increased about 25 percent to an expected $60.5 billion this year. And in all, 65 percent of U.S. households include a pet, usually a dog or cat.
What does this mean for you as vacation rental owner? Opportunity! With pet ownership on the rise, so is the need to accommodate guests when they want to travel with their pet. Every day at Summit Mountain Rentals (SMR) we have potential guests calling to book our pet-friendly properties, which are very limited in quantity. More often than not, we have to deny these bookings, leaving these potential guests to look elsewhere.
Recently, we’ve been encouraging our vacation rentals owners to consider allowing pets to stay at their properties. Among the potential benefits they can realize: an increased number of bookings in their properties, happier guests staying in their properties, and — surprisingly to some — no increase in maintenance and cleaning costs.
Increased Number of Bookings = Increased Revenue
One of the easiest ways to increase the number of bookings in your vacation rental is to make it pet friendly. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 49 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be part of the family, and 18 percent of these travelers usually take their pets with them when they travel. Based on this statistic alone, a pet-friendly property enjoys an 18 percent higher demand right out of the gate.
And, increased bookings leads to an increased revenue stream. Our experience shows that making your property pet friendly typically leads to 20-30 percent more revenue. Simply put, it’s one of the easiest ways to generate more money from your vacation rental.
Another reason to make your property pet friendly is that statistically, you will have happier guests. As anyone in the hospitality industry will tell you, traveling can be stressful. At Summit Mountain Rentals, we try our hardest to make our guests as happy and stress-free as we can. One way of doing so is by allowing them to bring their stress-relievers with them: their pets.
If the simple act of making your home pet-friendly can help your guests have a stress-free vacation, why wouldn’t you? These guests come in the door happier because they didn’t have to choose between a fantastic property and a pet-friendly property. They were able to have both! And, it’s no secret that happy, stress-free guests are likely to turn into repeat guests at your property, year-in and year out.
No Increased Costs to You
One final reason to make your property pet-friendly is that these increased bookings, revenue and repeat guests come at no additional cost to you. According to Dave Cox, one of SMR’s vacation property owners who decided to make his property pet friendly:
“It’s funny how concerned we were with making our home pet-friendly before we did it. SMR takes care of any extra cleaning needed and honestly, we think pets cause less damage than people. Our home is occupied at least 20 percent more since the change.”
To compensate for any damage that could be done from a pet, we double our regular damage deposit for anyone that checks in with a pet. Should any damage arise, we have a larger amount of funds available from the guest to repair the damage.
Vacation property owners around the country like Dave Cox are coming around and realizing the benefits of making their properties pet friendly:
- Increased bookings and revenue
- Happier guests and repeat bookings
- No increase in costs, and incrementally, damage to their properties
If you’re interested in more information on the advantages of making your property pet friendly, please give us a call at 970.453.7370 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to answer any questions about your property and vacation rental management — whether we manage your property or not!