*This is a guest post by Hostaway, a Property Management System (PMS) that comes integrated with its very own channel manager. Reach out to the Hostaway team to learn more about their channel management and property management systems.
The number of pet-friendly establishments increases every day, and now, more than ever, people are traveling with their pets. Dogs and cats are now allowed in shopping malls, cafes, hotels, and other accommodations. But is Airbnb pet-friendly?
Today, pet owners prefer to bring their furry family members along while on vacation as they are part of the family too, and in the current economic climate they seek out pet-friendly accommodations so their pets can enjoy the experience with the rest of the family. According to the 2019-2020, National Pet Owners Survey, nearly 67% of U.S. households own a pet. This amounts to approximately 85 million families.
Traveling with pets: who does it?
In the post-pandemic landscape, pet-friendly short-term rentals are one of the biggest emerging trends. Due to the pandemic pet boom, guests look for listings where they can bring their pets with and those that offer outdoor spaces. Airbnb says that compared to last year, searches for gardens and backyards increased by 343% along with the term “pet-friendly” also being the most searched-for amenity by guests so far in 2021. Online searches are done with “allow pets” have increased 65% year on year.
53% of travelers travel with their pets, making pet-friendly accommodations a growing industry trend. It’s estimated that 2 million domestic animals travel on commercial flights every year and about 52% of surveyed owners said that they only stayed in pet-friendly accommodations.
You can increase your occupancy rate and income if you have a pet-friendly Airbnb. Learn how to market your pet-friendly accommodation effectively and why you should consider becoming a pet-friendly Airbnb!
1. Growing Number of Families Travel with Their Pets
It is estimated that between 37- 47% of American families have dogs. Between 30- 37% of Americans also own cats. Over half of these pet-owning families travel with their dogs or cats. Additionally, there are pets that serve as service animals so blind and deaf people can navigate the city safely. People with disabilities are likely to want their service animals to accompany them on their travels.
2. Furry guests stay longer!
Most often, many pet owners prefer to take their cats and dogs with them if they will be away from home for several weeks. Airbnb hosts can take advantage of this. You can host guests with pets for a longer period. Hence, more Airbnb occupancy. Rental income from Airbnb properties can be more stable when long-term stays are available.
3. Recurring Customer Opportunity
Pet-friendly accommodations also inspire brand loyalty. If your customers know they and their pets will be well-treated at your property, this will increase the likelihood of them booking with you again. As a result of the positive experience they have had, your guests will always choose your property for their next trip. You never know, maybe they'll even share your Airbnb accommodation with their friends and acquaintances even if they don't travel. This is a great way to increase Airbnb rental income.
4. Increase in Airbnb Booking Rates
The pet-friendly accommodation is something that very few Airbnb rentals provide. You can charge extra for this service. Hosts also get to increase the security deposit. This will help account for any “accidents” that might happen during the guest’s stay.
5. Increased Earning Potential
Pet-friendly vacation rental apartments boast a significantly lower vacancy rate, and they’re 16% more expensive compared to non-pet-friendly rentals. Here are some other numbers that will convince you to welcome furry friends in your short-term rental:
The average pet fee is $50.
The average pet cleaning fee is $120.
The average refundable deposit is $200.
- Short-term rentals that are pet-friendly receive 4% more bookings than non-pet-friendly properties.
- An average pet owner pays about $23 more per night for pet-friendly accommodations.
6. Market Share Expansion
There is a large, untapped market for Airbnb renters willing to open their properties to owners with pets. You can expect to not only increase your prices but also increase your occupancy. All that means more revenue for you.
7. Visibility and branding for your listing
The vacation rental market is becoming more competitive all the time. Spacious, clean, and updated facilities are expected but there are so few rentals that welcome pets, converting your rental to a pet-friendly one will set your listing apart from others.
To attract people with pets, here are some things you should do to market your property:
1. Update your listing
Updating your Airbnb listing will let guests know that you have a pet-friendly property. Your listing's booking settings should contain the “pets allowed” option so it will appear in search results. The SEO implications are particularly important. In search engines, these keywords have a huge impact when people enter “Pet-friendly”. (Example: “Pet-Friendly apartment in Boston”)
2. Update your rental description
Keep your pet policies up-to-date in your description as well. Depending on your policy, you might not allow dogs OR cats, or you might limit how many pets your guests can bring. By providing your guests with this information upfront, you will avoid any misunderstandings or complaints. You should also invest in updating your photos with pet-friendly photography in order to let your guests know they're welcome to bring their pets to your Airbnb.
3. Update your house rules
Be sure to include the rules relating to pets in your house rules. Provide specific instructions about where pets can go and how to clean up after them.
#tips to consider when creating your house rules and pet policy:
Number of pets
Do you want to put a limit on the number of pets allowed at the property at one time? Two animals is a reasonable limit for many homes and will help keep your property cleaner and in better shape.
Types of pets
If you’re highly allergic to some animals and not others or would prefer cats over dogs, be sure to outline that in your listing.
- Weight Restrictions
- Do you want to put a weight limit on pets in your home? A common limit for dogs is 40 lbs, but your HOA may have an additional set of weight-specific guidelines.
- Do you want to require that the animals be housebroken? This helps avoid indoor accidents in a new, unfamiliar environment, and will save you the hassle and money of having to clean up the mess.
- Do you want to allow pets on the furniture? Though this is a difficult policy to enforce, you can recommend that guests bring a bed or pillow for their pet’s comfort if necessary.
- Waste Cleanup
- This one is absolutely essential. Requiring that guests remove their pets’ waste in the yard and surrounding areas is a no-brainer if you’re going to allow animals.
- Leash Policy
- Does your HOA have a requirement that animals are leashed in the community? If so, fees for violations will be passed on to you, so be sure to include this in your policy.
- Flea/Tick Policy
- Do you want to require that pets be on tick and flea prevention when they come to your property? Some owners prefer to take these measures to ensure that their properties stay pest-free.
Offering a pet-friendly stay can convince a traveler to book a room at a property, but going the extra mile to make sure their furry four-legged travelers are comfortable makes your Airbnb stand out from the rest. For example, consider offering a bowl of fresh water and a special treat on arrival. Any pet parent and their furry baby would feel instantly welcome. Those first impressions will greatly impact your ranking, plus think about the reviews and recommendations!
5. Provide pet-friendly amenities
Extra conveniences often make all the difference to a relaxing, pet-friendly holiday. If you can offer amenities like leashes and poo bags, scratch posts, bedding, bowls or even a few chew toys, balls, etc; this will make your Airbnb extra welcoming for a pet owner. And to make it extra easy for guests to clean up after their companions, make cleaning products, coverings for furniture, and extra towels easily accessible. Your 5-star rating will surely be assured!
6. Include Food provisions for pets
If you serve meals to your guests, offer a meal to your furry guests as well. Throw in a few chew bones and treats or have some dry kibble readily available. Consider offering a pet menu and watch your property become a popular destination amongst pet owners. It won't make you additional income, but it does attract the right audience. Guests will be more likely to return if they know they and their pets feel welcome at the venue.
7. Include pet-friendly places to visit
If you want pet parents to have a truly great stay, be sure to impart local intel on nearby pet-friendly attractions and cafes, exercise areas, dog parks, and off-leash beaches. You can also build bespoke packages with local businesses and offer pet-related packages as part of your Airbnb service.
8. Add personalized touches to stand out
Providing pet shampoo and towels is a great way to cater to pet owners. Other luxury additions could be doggy sitting on-site or organised pet pampering spas. If you happen to be a pet lover yourself, you might want to include this in your Airbnb listing. Visitors will enjoy spoiling their pets and doing something different than what they normally do.
9. Provide information on pet services in your area
Access to a list of pet services in the area would be a great feature. Information such as,
- Doggy day-care centers
- Dog-walking services
- Contact information of pet sitters in your area
- Local Veterinarian
- Nearest Pet Hospital / Clinic (Just in case of an emergency)
10. Provide safe and secure outdoor spaces
It is important for pet parents to know that they are holidaying in a safe and secure location. Describe the safety protocols, such as fences and gates, so pet parents can rest assured that their pets are in a safe enclosure and can let them off the leash while on-premises. The goal is to ensure they do not get any ideas or access to escape routes!
11. Are you convinced?
We've compiled a few tips and suggestions that will help you make a smooth transition from a non-pet-friendly Airbnb vacation rental to one that is pet-friendly:
Construct a plan
Invite your guests to tell you about their pets' size, type, and personality. You can ask for photos. You will both set expectations and comfort levels early on by talking about the pets.
Check Local Laws
In some cities, certain dog breeds are not permitted within city limits due to restrictions. For instance, some towns do not allow pit bulls. Other towns have restrictions on waste removal and leash laws. In your listing, please specify these laws or any other pet-related zoning information.
Consider Your Own Pets
If you are sharing your home with guests and your own pets yourself, think about how all the animals will get along. Do you have enough space to keep unfriendly pets separated? Be sure you communicate about your own pets to potential guests.
Dog proof your vacation rental
Be sure that everything that a pet can eat, chew on or break is placed high up or safely away. Consider investing in items like potty mats or indoor pet fences to protect specific areas of the home.
Taking these steps and opening your vacation rental to pets can bring your Airbnb business to a new level of success.
A Word to the Wise
By choosing to make your Airbnb pet-friendly, you will not only increase your income and bookings but will also make you more competitive with other rentals as well as hotels in your city or neighborhood! Though, in order to allow furry friends into your rentals, you need to ensure that your pet policies are in order and you can take care of your property between rentals.
The bottom line, having a pet-friendly Airbnb is all about creating a great experience for your guests. A pet-friendly Airbnb inspires pet owners to tell the pet community about their stay and generate referrals. After all, pets are family, and you want to assure guests the very best offering money can buy.
Airbnb Management Tips for Pet-Friendly Accommodations
If you want a high return on investment, managing pet-friendly Airbnb is a smart business decision. Vacation rental software could prove helpful if you are concerned about cleaning and other sub-tasks associated with welcoming pets to your properties.
Automating your routine operations with property management software, like Hostaway offers, can help amplify the growth of your business. With Hostaway you can automate the following tasks :
- Easily manage multiple vacation rental accounts and listings through a single dashboard
- Keep track of your staff's productivity and tasks
- Unified inbox for guest messaging
- Integrate dynamic pricing
- Automate guest reviews
- Assign and track the progress of your cleaning tasks with your service team
- Instantly generate business reports
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android allow you to manage your property on the move
Hostway is a Property Management System (PMS). The PMS scales as your business grows, so you don't need to change. As one of the premier/preferred partners of Airbnb the software has a strong reputation for being able to seamlessly manage all rental channels, guest reservations, messages, and more with one software platform with great 24/7 support. Hostaway offers a variety of advanced features you can use to streamline your routine tasks in addition to keeping your listings in sync. Schedule a demo call at your preferred time with one of our product experts to receive actionable advice and discover how Hostaway can fit your property management business and unlock growth potentials for you.