The Growing Popularity of Pet Hotels
Many Americans have no doubt heard the phrase “man’s best friend” when speaking about the relationship between humans and their dogs. This love of pets extends beyond just dogs as many families have cats or other beloved, domesticated animals living with them in their homes. There is nothing more difficult than parting with our pets, but for decades families and individuals heading out on vacation have had to first deal with finding accommodations for their pets while they travel. This trend is beginning to change though as a growing number of hotels across the country are becoming more friendly pet hotels.
Pet hotels have become more and more popular due in large part to the extra business pet owners can provide to pet hotels. The connection between Americans and their pets is extraordinary and those hotels which allow travelers to bring their pets along are tapping into a niche that is larger than many would think.
Americans and their pets are big business. Consider the following information about pets in America:
- Americans own 78 million dogs and 86 million cats (American Pet Products Association)
- More than half the U.S. households (63%) own those pets
- Nearly half of those households consider their pets to be family members (American Veterinary Medical Association)
Given this information it only makes sense that more and more pet hotels are popping up around the country. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) currently lists more than 13,000 AAA-approved pet hotels in the U.S. and Canada; and other pet hotel search sites claim that there are nearly 25,000 pet hotels in North America.
Pet hotels look no different on the outside than the average hotel just around the corner from your home. They are operated in the same manner as any other hotel, but gladly open their doors to customers with pets as well. Many of these hotels block off a certain number of rooms in their building that are designated “pet friendly” rooms. Other hotels will allow pets into any room, ensuring a complete and thorough cleaning process after each pet guest.
Travelling with your pet is always going to come with increased costs. Although more and more pet hotels are popping up, these locations do tend to charge extra fees for your four-legged companions. While some pet hotels do not charge extra for pets to stay in the room, many charge guests fees ranging from $15 non-refundable fees to $75 refundable deposits. These charges are used for the following services:
- Additional room service
- Carpet cleaning
- Coverage in the event of damage to property
Additionally, not every pet is welcome at a pet hotel. The list of pets typically welcome to stay at pet hotels includes:
In some cases pet hotels will make exceptions for larger animals, but these locations are few and far between. Other small pets such as rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters may be allowed in pet hotels as well, but the best way to find out is to contact the hotels you are considering ahead of time to ensure your companion is allowed.
As the travel industry begins to recognize the importance of pet friendly accommodations, more and more major hotel chains are offering pet hotels to travelers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and even around the globe. The following are a few major hotel chains that offer pet friendly services:
- Best Western
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Drury Inn and Suites
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Holiday Inn
It is important to remember though that just because a large chain has pet hotels this does not necessarily mean that every location will honor the pet policy of the larger chain. The best way to avoid confusion is to call the specific pet hotel you are considering to ensure that they allow pets on the premises.
When searching for pet hotels ahead of a trip, the best thing to do is find an online resource with a database of pet hotels along your route. Websites such as Pethotels.com provide helpful resources for travelers looking for lodging they can share with their pet.
Finally, as you conduct your search for pet hotels it is important to keep a few things in mind. Don’t settle for the hotel with the lowest pet charge. In many cases the lower the pet charge the lower the quality of the hotel. No one should be forced to stay in a lesser quality hotel simply because they are traveling with their pet. Additionally, try to avoid staying in hotels that charge large, non-refundable deposits. Deposits in excess of $75 are often unnecessary and are often the result of previous guests whose pets damaged the property. The ideal pet hotel will charge roughly $25 per day, a more than reasonable amount to cover the cleaning costs of your room.