Have you considered making your Airbnb pet friendly?
Many people are traveling closer to home with new restrictions. This means they are bringing the whole family, including furry friends! The market is changing, and so is demand.
Even before COVID, almost 50% of travelers brought their dogs along with them. The great thing is, these people are willing to pay more for their stay too.
So, how do you go about making your Airbnb pet friendly?
On this episode of Get Paid For Your Pad, I talked with Mathieu Laflamme. Mathieu is an STR Legend and Co-Founder of the short-term rental management platform CHECKiN.
When Mathieu's team made their Airbnb pet friendly, they increased revenue by about 25%! Therefore, I think it's worth taking a look!
Is your Airbnb pet friendly if you only allow dogs?
The short answer is, yes.
As for Mathieu, he gets requests for different types of pets, even ferrets, but they only allow dogs. It's more difficult to remove the odors from cats, and people on his team are allergic.
You also need to consider the types of dogs you will allow. For example, puppies are notorious for leaving a mark. There isn't always a one-size-fits-all policy, but you can filter out some things.
Ask your guests for:
Age of dog (no young dogs)
Breed (hypoallergenic is a plus)
History of barking?
If a guest has positive reviews (and an adorable puppy) there can always be exceptions.
How much should you charge for a pet fee?
People are used to extra charges when traveling with pets. Most apartment buildings even charge a monthly pet fee.
So, how much should you charge?
Many short term rental hosts are charging between $10 and $50 a night, and capping the price around 2 or 3 weeks.
Mathieu says on his monthly properties they cap the rate at $150 a month, or $25 a night. For his short term properties, the rates are $50 a night and he caps it at $250 for the stay.
As a rule of thumb charge based on:
Breed (hypoallergenic = less cleaning)
Size (smaller = less likely to damage)
Age (younger = more risk)
In some cases, you can negotiate this rate.
You might get a guest that has great reviews and a dog that doesn't shed, so you know you're cleaning costs will be less.
Quick hack: Tell your guests to add their dog as an extra guest!
The two biggest risks when making your Airbnb pet friendly
A lot of people imagine wild dogs ruining the house or noise complaints from neighbors.
Is it possible to avoid these things and still make your Airbnb pet friendly?
As long as you avoid:
Damage to property
Excessive demands on you/your team
Setting strict rules will scare away the people that know they can't handle their dogs. It may sound harsh, but it decreases your risk and saves you money.
As a cohost or host, your biggest risk is allowing an animal that damages the property. You'll lose trust with the owners and you risk excessive cleaning on your team.
Quick hack: Let people know you have a security deposit, scare away the people that know they have a crazy dog!
Should you cater only to people who travel with pets?
It turns out that almost 20% of guests look for pet-friendly amenities when traveling.
You don’t have to have a brand 100% dedicated to pet friendly, but it can help to go all-in when you do make a listing pet friendly.
You want to attract the right people by altering your listing.
Some people worry that guests without pets won't stay if they know the Airbnb is pet friendly. However, if you’re in a market with demand and not a lot of supply, then you don’t need to attract the allergic traveler.
In your first 5 pictures, add your professional cleaning protocols, and a dog or two. Balance these pictures with good reviews, and guests without pets will still stay.
It’s better to focus on the niche if there’s enough demand.
Not many places allow pets, so you are able to increase the revenue by 15 to 25%. You’ll also have a cool experience if you’re a pet lover too!
There are a lot of things to consider when making your Airbnb pet friendly.
First, ask your team what they think. If it's only you, this is easy!
Someone on your cleaning crew could be allergic to dogs, for instance. In some places, finding cleaners can be hard, and you wouldn't want to lose them if they won't allow dogs.
Even if you're not allergic to any pets, cleaning up after them can be a lot.
In my experience, if people have a crazy dog they don’t bring it on the trip.
So, if you’re going to be dealing with traveling pet owners, they probably have good pets.
I haven’t had any real issues. I’ve seen that people who do host pets, don’t have too many issues either. But, as a recap, make sure you:
Understand the type of dog
Type of guest (older is likely more responsible)
Communicate expectations about noise
Set rules about leashes, noise, etc
Explain charges for excessive damage or cleaning
If there is a demand in your market, and you avoid risk, making your Airbnb pet friendly can be a great move in 2021!
Is your Airbnb or vacation rental pet friendly right now? Let me know!