How to Turn Your Short-Term Rental Properties into Pet Friendly Paradises
Welcome your guests’ furry friends into your properties during COVID-19 with none of the stress, and all of the perks.
Is Going ‘Pet Friendly’ the Next Best Move for Your Business?
When it comes to maximizing occupancy for your short-term rentals during COVID-19, it’s a no brainer that the more potential guests you can appeal to, the more bookings you’ll bring in. But before you cut pet owners out of the equation, hear us out — you’re probably missing out on some significant revenue. While you and your friends and family are longing for a change in scenery during the pandemic, so are your furry friends!
Why Welcoming Animals Is Paw-sitively the Way Forward
You might be wondering why you should go through the trouble of pet-proofing your home in the first place. And better yet, why risk the potential damage and noise complaints that pets can bring? Turns out, there are a lot of pet owners who like to bring their furry friends on vacation, with less inventory to choose from compared to if they were travelling without them. While COVID-19 makes it difficult for pet owners to find pet-sitters and accommodations while on holiday, your guests will appreciate this added flexibility to your rental.
Still having a ‘ruff’ time warming up to the idea? Chew on this: according to the American Hotel Lodging Association, 75% of hotels have a pet friendly policy, but less than 15% of short-term rental properties welcome pets. Not to mention, 67% of US households (about 85 million families) own a pet, and over half of those families travel with their pet at least once a year. That adds up to nearly 30 million potential bookings for pet friendly rentals from US travellers alone…need we say more?
Make Your Listings (And Your House Rules) Bad to the Bone
If you opt to accept pets, don’t forget to clearly indicate on your website and your listings across channels that your property is pet friendly! But don’t forget to be specific; if you’re renting out a small apartment, you might want to impose a weight limit on the pets you allow, and don’t hesitate to specify the types of animals you’re willing to host at your property. Only feel comfortable allowing dogs and cats? Mention it in your listing! Or maybe you’re down with alligators and monkeys, too – either way, we’re not judging.
Although research clearly shows that it’s advantageous to make your properties pet friendly, you’re likely already weighing the potential disadvantages – like the risk of damage to your property, for example. One of the most important steps you can take in avoiding mishaps is setting clear rules and instructions for your guests. Child gates can come in handy for setting boundaries if you want to keep, say, the bedrooms off-limits to animals.
Don’t assume that your guests will already know what’s off-limits to their pets — the more clearly you state your house rules, the more effectively you can manage your guests’ expectations and avoid tricky situations. Be sure to send your house rules to your guests before they arrive so that they can prepare, and to further enforce your guidelines, print them out and display them on the refrigerator or entryway table. For extra precaution, you can increase your damage deposit and include a pet fee for guests bringing animals.
There are lots of pet owners out there who don’t want to leave their animals behind and would be willing to pay more for accommodations to do just that. Especially while many airlines and attractions are opening up again, people are even more inclined to bring their pets with them on their next vacation. Be sure to boast that your listing is a pet friendly rental property – and let these potential guests know they’re not barking up the wrong tree.
Practical Tips that Aren’t Far-Fetched
Now that you’ve drafted up your house rules and prepared a blurb for your website that advertises your properties as ‘pet friendly,’ it’s time to prepare for bone-afide success.
Here are practical tips you can use to keep your home pristine, your human guests happy, and your non-human guests’ tails wagging.
- Bon Appe-treat! Invest in pet friendly essentials
- Utilize noise (or bark) – monitoring apps
- Protect yourself with a higher security deposit
- If you’ve got a pet friendly short term rental, the risk of mess comes with the territory, meaning you can and should charge a higher security deposit that will keep you covered in the case of damage.
- Consider your flooring
- Look, we’re not suggesting that you hire a construction company to start remodeling. But it’s worth considering that vinyl, linoleum, tile/stone or hardwood floors will clean up much easier after a pet-related incident than a boho chic shag rug. So if you’ve got carpeting in the bedrooms but tile in the kitchen, a less expensive fix is to simply get your paws on some child gates and set necessary boundaries.
- Provide local information
- People with pets, especially dog owners, will be seeking out certain neighborhood details, like where to take their furry friends on a walk, where their pets can do their business , and where to go in the case of a pet emergency. You can go that extra mile for your guests by providing them with some information on a local vet, dog parks, nearby walking trails, and even outdoor eateries in the area that allow dogs. Guests will love these local tourist recommendations, as many traditional attractions may remain closed throughout the pandemic.
The Op-purr-tunities Going Pet Friendly Presents for Your Business
Since preparing to go animal-friendly can require investing some of your precious time and money, our Rule of ROR guide comes in handy when making all decisions regarding your short-term rental business. The Rule of ROR requires asking yourself how any particular investment that you’re considering will positively affect your nightly rates, occupancy, and reviews in order to ensure you’re making a savvy business decision.
So, should you go pet friendly? Let’s put this investment to the test with The Rule of ROR:
- Will this investment allow me to charge a higher nightly rate?- Yes.
Short-term rental owners can typically charge 20-30% more for pet friendly properties due to the higher demand for homes that welcome pets.
- Will this investment increase my chances of getting this property occupied, a.k.a. Booked? –Absolutely.
We know that reaching a wider audience = more potential for bookings. And, as we noted earlier, pet-toting travellers are no small flock (according to a TripAdvisor survey of 1,100 people, more than 700 have pets & 53% of those surveyed travel with their pets).
- Will this investment compel my guests to leave better reviews?- No question about it.
Any animal lover bringing their pets along when they travel is sure to appreciate even the smallest touches – like a dog bed, a cat scratching post, or having cleaning supplies on hand if there is an accident.
To learn more about The Rule of ROR and how it can help you make smart investments in your short-term rental business, check out our full guide here.
Go Get ‘em, Tiger
As long as you’ve adequately prepared, you can effectively minimize the risk for potential problems that come with welcoming pets into your property. At the same time, you’ll be attracting a whole new, untapped market of travellers, which makes jumping on the pet friendly bandwagon a worthwhile investment. Pet owners, now more than ever, are seeking pet friendly rentals that will allow them to enjoy a safe, socially-distanced getaway with their furry friend.
Plus, once your guests have a comfortable and smooth experience the first time around, they can come back again in the future with pets in tow knowing that your property provides a good environment for their animals. The wider your audience, the better it is for your business, so why not roll out the welcome mat for four-legged travellers, too?
Fur-Ever Growing with Guesty
Guesty not only provides you with free guides like this one to help you further optimize your business, it also provides property management companies with an end-to-end solution to simplify the complex operational needs of short-term rentals. With Guesty, users can manage listings from multiple online travel agencies like Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, HomeAway and more, as well as utilize the company’s guest-centric tools such as: Unified Inbox, Automation Tools, 24/7 Guesty Communication Services, Payment Processing and more.