Building a Pet-Friendly Experience: 4 Key Things We Learned from Guest Reviews

More pet owners are looking for ways to share their traveling experience with their furry  friends. What do guests like or dislike when staying at a pet-friendly hotel? Explore our selection of guest reviews.

A wagging tail, a calming purr or a morning chirp are among the many memorable, daily experiences shared with our beloved pets. More than ever, furry or not, animals have become part of our households and families and truly make our quality of life.

Pet Ownership, 2021-2022

UK - 6 out of 10 households own a pet.

The US - 7 out of 10 households own a pet.

A cat and a dog sitting on grass.

Due to an extended time of quarantine, the desire to share our space with another living soul has grown. The quality time spent together with pets has increased. Owners are looking more than ever to make their pets happier and find ways of experiencing the world together.

A pet owner with her dog and cat

During the pandemic, 78% of pet owners got additional pets.

Owners Consider to Cancel Vacations if They Can’t Find Pet-Friendly Options

65% say they’re likely to bring pets with them on future travel.

Traveling becomes much more complicated if you plan to take your furry friend with you.  How do you get to the destination? Where do you stay? The planning process takes more time, and comes with additional things to consider.  Regardless of this, the desire to travel with pets has increased in the last few years. Owners are looking for ways to travel with their pets - and almost half of them are willing to cancel their plans if they can’t take their non-human children.

A pet owner with her dog looking at canyons.

60% of pet parents would be more comfortable traveling if they could take their pet with them.

47% would cancel their vacation if there are not pet-friendly options available.

More Doors Opened to Paws

To accommodate the needs of both human and animal travelers, more hotels are opening their doors to pets. Among the biggest expansions this year was Hilton’s, with 85% of properties across the US now having a pet-friendly policy for two of the biggest pet populations worldwide - cats and dogs.

Building a Pet-Friendly Experience - What Can You Learn from Guest Reviews?

With more hotels allowing pets, the competition for offering not just a human-focused, but also a pet-focused guest experience, is ramping up. That’s why we decided to have a look at a series of pet-focused reviews from our database, to give you an idea of what your guests like or dislike most when it comes to pet-friendly hotels and how you can improve the experience of human and animal fellow travelers.

  1. Be clear about the extra fee you’re charging for the pets. 

It’s a standard industry practice to charge an extra fee for the 4 legged guests. When calculating this fee, make sure to have a look at your competitors’ rates for pets. Make the fee visible in the booking process, so that guests are aware of it. If you’re charging way more than the industry standard because of some premium services, highlight what extra options you are offering for cats and dogs.

Guest Review: 4/5

Never disappointed with their welcoming customer service.  As we are frequent visitors, they do remember our favorite suite. Pet fees are expensive… €70 per night for two dogs. Unfortunately no exceptions, no discount for clean, well behaved pets.
When calculating the extra-fee for pets, check your competitors' rates. Make the fee visible in the booking process

Want to see what your competition is doing? With our CompIndex, you can choose specific KPIs that are of high value to your hotel and compare them to your competitors.

2. Treat the pets as your guests.

If your guests are traveling with pets, they most likely consider them as an essential part of their family. Do your best to treat their pets with the same care and respect that you’re treating human guests. 

If you feel comfortable, and their owner is OK with it, give a little bit of your time and attention to the animal guests. Ask the owner if you may pet their companions. Want to go the extra mile? Offer a small treat for cats and dogs at the check-in process - just make sure to confirm with the owner first. Also, put bowls of water in the common areas. You’ll  get a happy tail or an approving purr as a sign of gratitude and friendship. Remember - kindness is key both for human and animal guests.

Second stay in this hotel. Awesome welcoming staff. Greeted us with dog bones and water :)
Want to go the extra mile? Offer a small treat for cats and dogs at the check-in process - just make sure to confirm with the owner first.
Lovely, spacious room. New art exhibit.  Great customer service as usual.  Brought the dog along on this trip and she was petted and pampered by guests and staff alike.
If you feel comfortable, and their owner is OK with it, give a little bit of your time and attention to the animal guests.
Review: 1/5
I was very disappointed today when the receptionist barked at me without even saying hello. He demanded to pick up "the animal" and get it to the terrace (ie a mini Yorkshire terrier) after which I was so taken aback by such rudeness that I decided to go elsewhere.
Do your best to treat pets with the same care and respect that you’re treating human guests. 
  1. Pay attention to cleanliness.

It’s way harder to maintain a high cleanliness standard when you also accommodate pets. Over the years, you may experience a specific smell in the rooms. To prevent this, make sure the rooms are always properly ventilated and cleaned accordingly. 

Your guests that come accompanied by their pets should also be aware of your specific policies and take responsibility for matters that may be out of your control. Include the specific rules during the booking phase. Make them visible in both common and private areas of your hotel.

Review: 1/5
We chose the [Hotel Name] as the pet friendly rooms looked clean (online photos) and met our requirements. 

To be perfectly honest, as soon as we arrived and opened the door to the room, we both wanted to leave as we were met with the smell of the previous pet, but we put this aside and decided to try to enjoy the stay. 

We opened the outside door to the courtyard, it was completely filthy and looked nothing like the online photos. We had to put a towel down on the outside and inside so we didn’t bring the outside dirt into our room, even our dog didn’t want to walk in the courtyard.
Make sure the rooms are always properly ventilated and cleaned accordingly. 
  1. Make sure to mention that your hotel allows pets.

Not all guests are so open to staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Make sure that unaccompanied human guests are aware since the booking phase that your hotel is pet-friendly. Accommodating pets may bring unexpected challenges. Show an understanding and proactive attitude for everyone, while highlighting that some of the situations are beyond the hotel’s, and sometimes, the pet owner’s control.

It would seem to me that the primary charge of a hotel is to ensure a restful night for its guests.
However, a large dog barked endlessly one night, far after midnight, down the hallway from my
room. After calling the front desk, they noted that the guest was not in, and that they had no
way of contacting them, despite me having to provide my cell phone and email address upon
check-in.

I would strongly urge the hotel to reconsider its policies on pets and their owners.
Show an understanding and proactive attitude for everyone, while highlighting that some of the situations are beyond the hotel’s, and sometimes, the pet owner’s control.

Although there is an increasing trend for various businesses to accommodate pets, traveling with our non-speaking friends is still difficult and more restrictive. When offering pet-friendly stays, treat the animals as your human guests. Both they and their human friends will appreciate that a lot.  
Are you looking to deliver a great pet-friendly experience? With TrustYou’s Live and Post-Stay Survey you get more reviews and more actionable data to improve your services. You can ask specific questions, send customized invitations to ensure a personal touch, and provide detailed, actionable insights based on the feedback you receive.

Catalina Brinza

Catalina is a social media and data enthusiast. At TrustYou, she's on a mission to bring the most out of travel and hospitality data. One day, she hopes to experience Japan's culture to its fullest.

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