Being open to different markets is good business sense if you want to succeed and grow your vacation rental business. The niche market of pet-friendly rental is one market that should be on your radar.
The European Pet Food Federation (FEDIAF) survey in 2018 found that an estimated 80 million European households own at least one pet. The study also discovered that while cats were still the most popular choice of a pet, dogs were growing in popularity every year.
As the market continues to grow, so has the number of travellers taking their pets with them on vacation. A pet travel survey by GoPetFriendly in 2018 found that 36.7% of respondents were planning 3-5 trips away with their pets in a year.
With stats like these, it should not be a question of why to have pet-friendly rentals but more a matter of when.
But if the impressive market stats still do not have you convinced, here are the real benefits of pet-friendly rentals to help you increase your bookings and grow your business.
Benefits – Pet-Friendly Rentals
Helps Properties Get Noticed In A Saturated Market
If there are a lot of vacation rentals in your area and none are offering pet-friendly accommodation, it can give you more visibility and help you scoop up more guests.
Also, if you use a vacation rental channel manager, you can publish your property listings on major sales channels, such as Airbnb, who actively promote in 191 countries globally. This higher exposure for your pet-friendly accommodations can help you convert more bookings.
Targeting An Active Online Community
You only need to make a quick search on google to find hundreds of pet forums. They love to share accommodation tips for fellow pet owners, increasing business for you.
Pet Owners Have More Money
A poll by the Blue Cross found that pet owners earn more money and are happier and healthier. So, this affluence means your guests can afford more extended vacations.
Charge Higher Rates For Your Property
Pet owners accept that there can be a lot of cleaning required after their stay and are prepared to pay higher rates to cover the cost.
Potential Repeat Guests
Finding a comfortable vacation rental for pets can be difficult and time-consuming for guests. So, when they have found one, they will keep coming back! These guests are also more open to travelling off-season, which is perfect to increase your yearly income.
Manage Your Pet-Friendly Rental Effectively
You need to have a clear pet policy so that you can avoid any potential headaches.
Firstly, you need to contact your insurance company to see what pets are covered and check for any limitations or exclusions, for example, certain breeds of dog. Also, you need to find out about the following areas.
- Is there a limit to how many pets are allowed in the property?
- Can pets be left alone in the property?
- What about the size of the pets? For example, are large dogs allowed (they can potentially cause more damage)?
Secondly, if your property is part of a larger community, you also need to check whether they have any “House Rules” before you open your property to pets.
Once everything is clear and to avoid any ambiguity, you can create a guidebook for your guests. This will explain your policy on pets. You can even double-check this with them during the booking process. Be specific in the guide, for example, dogs under a certain weight or no puppies allowed, etc.
Ensure your property is a pet-friendly property and be sure to mark your property as pet-friendly using your channel manager, spreading it across all platforms. This will mean that interested guests can filter for this when they’re searching on sales channels.
How To Deal With Any Trouble
If you have communicated with your guest during the booking and have also left a guidebook with “House Rules” for their stay, this should help towards avoiding any trouble.
However, accidents can happen, and pets can be unpredictable. So, consider these two areas for your vacation rental to keep problems to a minimum.
Damage To Your Property
Select suitable flooring for pets. You want something that looks good but is also resistant to scratches and if possible is stain proof. Also, select furniture that is durable and will last longer than “normal” furniture.
Ask for a damage deposit upfront, and only release it once you have checked for any damage or infestations from fleas or ticks.
You should put something in your property guide that indicates the “quiet times”. Excessive barking can disrupt neighbours. You can also remind them of the rules when they check-in.
Will I Lose Bookings From Guests Who Don’t Have Pets?
There will be a small percentage of guests that do not have pets and will feel uncomfortable staying somewhere that caters for pets.
It is important to note that 10%-20% of the world population suffers from dog and cat allergies, so allergies can be a real concern.
You can counter this by designating one property solely for pets and also adhering to strict cleaning practices, such as cleaning any carpets every time a pet goes.
As a property manager, it can be a wise decision to open your vacation rentals to pet owners. It helps to broaden your target audience and increase profits for your business.
You can easily arrange this by checking with your insurance company, creating a guidebook of “House Rules” for pet-owners and customising your property to cater better for pets.