Pet Friendly Hotels, Inns & Bed and Breakfasts
How to Deal with Non Pet Friendly GuestsFor those of us who love our pets, who would not consider traveling without them, and who spend thousands of dollars a year on their care, this sounds like heresy. Almost half the households in the United States have a pet but that leaves the other half that do not, and as an Innkeeper you have to deal with both groups. American Airlines recently announced that they transport over a 100,000 pets a year on their planes, which makes it a multi-million dollar profit center. And that's just American Airlines, one of about 50 major airlines in the world that transport pet animals. Clearly, traveling pet owners are big business which is why you accept them at your Inn or are considering doing so.
So here's the dilemma, you want the extra income that traveling pet owners bring to your property through pet fees, and the fact that they tend to stay a few more nights, but you also do not want to offend those guests who are less than enthusiastic about pets or even worse just downright don't like them.
Many small inns do not have the luxury of being able to set aside "pet rooms" so other solutions are needed.
The answer may be communication.
1. When you are talking to a prospective guest be upfront in the fact that you accept well behaved pets. Ask them if they have a problem with that rather than wait until they check in and then get all upset because they see little fluffy walking through the lobby.
2. Try and provide as much separation as possible in room location between those guests who are traveling with a pet and the guest who is only Luke warm to the idea of pets being on the premises.
3. If the prospective guest has a serious allergy to pets or just does not like animals, you may be better off suggesting they stay at the Inn down the road. It's better than having them check out early, demanding their money back and leaving you an empty room that you perhaps could have sold to someone else.
4. Let everyone know, including the staff, traveling pet owners, and other guests where pets are allowed and when. I have stayed in many Inns where the owner of the Inn had more than one pet curled up in front of the reception desk. Other Innkeepers prefer that the pet never enter the main building and can only be walked in designated areas. Whatever the rules are, everyone should understand them.
5. Have a well defined pet policy which your traveling pet owners know about in advance. Some people find a very large dog no matter how mellow it is, to be freighting. While we believe that all well behaved pets should be allowed to travel with their humans you may have to set some rules.
6. And finally, when a traveling pet owner checks in explain the rules as to where in the Inn the pet can go, and where they should go when it needs to take a "walk". Give your guest a few treats for their pet and a handful of plastic bags.
With proper planning and a sound pet policy you can make traveling pet owners the big money maker and still maintain peace with your other guests.