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There are more pets than people in the U.S. In fact, Americans own more pets than ever before. Approximately 62% of American households now own a pet, which is the highest level in recorded history. Approximately 78% of them are hitting the road and skies each year with their furry friends. This growing market has made itself known and the travel industry has responded as more and more accommodations across the U.S. are rolling out the red carpet for these traveling pets. To better understand the demands and habits of this booming market, TRIPSwithPETS.com conducted an online survey of pet travelers and the results are in!
When it comes to planning pet travel online, over 89% of the 2012 pet travelers polled indicated that they do indeed go online and browse the websites of pet friendly hotels. However, only 27% of respondents are comfortable booking their pet friendly accommodations online. Instead, most respondents prefer to research online then call to book their room so that they can alert the lodging that they are traveling with their pet. Even given the growing number of pet friendly accommodations, you may be surprised to find that 34% of respondents have at some point snuck their pet into accommodations during their travels. Aside from the lodging not being pet friendly, other reasons for the sneak-ins include; their pet was too big, the accommodation did not accept their type of pet, cost was too much extra for their pet.
Not all pet friendly accommodations are created equal and pet travelers are well aware of this. A whopping 86% of respondents reported that they actually compare pet amenities offered by accommodations when selecting where to stay. On the top of the list of preferred amenities is pet sitting services. Although most accommodations don't offer these services themselves, they do provide guests with a directory of local pet sitters that will come to the lodging room to watch pet guests while their humans step out. Other preferred pet amenities that are at the top of discriminating pet travelers lists include; clean-up bags (23%) pet recreation listings (11%), in-room feed bowls (7%), and pet walking services (7%).
It appears that pet travelers are willing to pay for these special amenities. Over 90% of respondents would pay extra to accommodate their animal companions with most willing to pay up to $50 per night and some actually willing to pay over $50 extra per night for their pets.
It is apparent that people love to vacation with their pets and care a great deal about accommodating them. Eighty-eight percent of respondents have stayed at a pet friendly accommodation at least once in the past 2 years. And pet travelers aren't afraid to venture far from home. Over 66% travel anywhere from 50 to 500 miles from home.
America's love affair with their pets is evident in their habits and preferences when it comes to traveling with their furry and four-legged companions. Their mounting numbers and financial muscle is destined to continue to raise the bar when it comes to pet travel.