Jet-setting pets looking for a place to rest their paws for the night can find all the pampering they need and then some with the Pooch Package from the Loden Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Many hotels welcome dogs, but the Loden made it into the news by leveraging their pet-friendly policy and kicking it up a notch. In keeping with their luxury branding, the Pooch Package includes doggie day-spa services, premium dog food and water bowl, private car service, dog-walking map, peanut butter bacon biscuits and much more for the dog who has everything.
But what’s really smart is that the Loden has committed to donating C$20 from every booking to the local pet shelter, making them stand out as socially responsible and leaving a pawsitive impression on guests, as well as nurturing an emotional connection with their animal-loving customers – and you definitely love your pets if you are booking this $449 package! What’s more is that it made the Loden newsworthy as a human interest story on local television. There’s nothing like free advertising.
For Pet’s Sake
It’s no question that pet-friendly accommodations are in demand. A TripAdvisor survey on traveling with pets from July of this year queried more than 1,110 travelers (and over 700 pet owners) about their vacation habits and 53 percent said they traveled with their pets. Forty-eight percent of all travelers polled felt that hotels should be more pet friendly.
Due to ratings on their site, TripAdvisor further asserts that pet owners are more discerning when choosing a place to stay (more for their animals than for themselves), with bed and breakfasts dominating their top pet-friendly accommodation choices with their ability to cater to “…the most finicky pet owners.” In previous blog posts, we have also noted that smaller properties have the greatest agility when it comes to their ability to offer personalized services and that applies here too.
Best in Show
When it comes to attracting pets and their owners, be the best in show; look at what your competitors are offering and go one step further. Then be sure to promote your special treats on your website, social media channels, blog, press release, and travel directory profiles. Social media listening tools can really be useful in this area.
Many pet-friendly accommodations charge a fee for Fido’s stay. That’s fine. But if you offer other pet services that guests are likely to spend their money on, consider welcoming pets for free…accompanied by their paying owners of course. This can help you stand out from the pack. You can also offer pet packages, like the Loden Hotel does, which include many perks that are incorporated into the price.
If you are already pet friendly, here are some ideas to ramp up interest, such as offering special services and features – that you can charge for!
Do you offer room service for your guests? Don’t forget the pets. Along with high-quality kibbles, consider hamburgers, tuna tartar or foie gras for Fido. The Raffles L’ermitage Beverly Hills purportedly offers Osetra caviar with hard-poached eggs for US$98. Look into treats from local pet bakeries who specialize in biscuits, treats and sometimes cakes!
People need pampering too, so consider combining packages, such as offering dog and human massage appointments. The Muse Kimpton in New York offers a Hers and Furs package for in-room pedicures for dog and owner. Creating value-added packages are especially easy if your property management system offers flexible package setup options like WebRezPro does.
We’ve blogged before about offering personalized guest services for retaining and attracting guests and this goes for pets too. Of course dogs aren’t going to notice if their name is framed beside their hotel dog dish, but the owner will! Inexpensive little touches like this go a long way for creating an emotional bond with your guest through their pet. Keep track of your guests and their pets using WebRezPro’s guest folio feature that allows you to collect and store information about your customers.
Carrying pet items in your gift shop gives your guests one more place to spend their money. Leashes, treats and toys are always popular pet purchases. Being on holiday and in the mood to buy, pet owners are also willing to spend on novelty items that are not readily available from regular pet stores.
Paws for Thought
There are many services that are easy to outsource to local businesses that can come to your hotel:
>> dog walking
>> doggie daycares
>> dog washing
>> pet massages
>> pet psychic readings
But do make sure providers are reputable by being BBB certified and bondable.
Animal lovers pining for their pet hamster left at home may appreciate a surrogate pet while on vacation. Have a resident dog available for dog walks and general canine ambassador duties, such as cuddles. Animals in residence are great for guest relations and might just put a smile on the most stern-faced guests.