The pet industry is thriving! By 2019, the industry is expected to hit $91.72 billion in sales. America's and the world's love affair with their pets is evidenced by their spending habits. Dog and cat parents' spending is at an all-time high, and much of it is on pet travel. That's right - falling in line right behind pet health & boarding expenses, dog and cat parents are opening up their wallets to take their pets with them to pet friendly accommodations and destinations.
However, pet parents are discriminant shoppers. We conducted an online survey of pet parents who travel with their dogs and cats to uncover what they look for when sniffing out accommodations that allow pets. Here are their top 5.
1. Pet Fees
Even though pet parents aren't afraid to open up their wallets for their cats and dogs, they still want a deal. When choosing pet friendly accommodations, pet parents compare pet fees when determining where to book their stay. Many look negatively upon accommodations that charge high pet fees, as they equate high pet fees as not very pet friendly.
2. Pet Amenities
Pet welcome baskets, pet beds and pet bowls are among the little touches that go a long way with pet parents. To most pet parents, the way to their hearts is through their pets. Pet friendly hotels, cabins, B&Bs, and vacation rentals that offer these perks as well as nearby pet friendly activities (like attractions, hiking, beaches, restaurants) that cater to their pets factor into their decision of where to stay. Pet amenities become more of a factor for longer stays or vacation stays. Dog walking, pet sitting and pet concierge services are among the amenities that become more important to pet parents for these types of stays.
Pet parents are less apt to drive off the beaten path for accommodations when traveling with their pet. When they are booking overnight stays on their way to their final destination, they will select pet friendly accommodations closest to their travel route and are willing to pay a little bit more for it. Cat parents in particular have a stronger preference to not drive any further than they have to. Generally, cats aren't as frequent travelers as dogs and usually aren't as happy traveling. Hence, the less time in the car, the better.
4. Pet Policy
Accommodations and hotels that allow pets, but whose pet policies list numerous restrictions are perceived as not pet friendly. Pet parents are less likely to book their stay at accommodations whose pet policy is loaded with restrictions and penalties. They seek out accommodations that welcome their pets and therefore tend to pass on accommodations with overly restrictive pet policies.
5. Loyalty to Pet Friendly Lodging
A very interesting habit of pet parents is that once they find pet friendly accommodations that takes care of their dog or cat to their liking, they will tend to book at that accommodation even at times when they are not traveling with their pet. As mentioned before, the way to their hearts is through their pets.
As the world's love affair with their pets grows, pet parents will continue to flex their financial muscle - raising the bar for pet friendly accommodations and pet travel.
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