How the hospitality business is wooing pet-loving millennials:
- Hospitality brands are making wellness a priority for pooches by offering doggy spa services.
- They’re also creating specialized menus for furry guests to enjoy.
- In addition, hotels are enticing pet owners by providing services like dog walking and in-room visits.
A dog is man’s best friend. Increasingly, that bestie is heading on vacation too.
A Hilton survey found that the pet-friendly booking filter was the third most used filter on Hilton.com. It also found that seven out of 10 Gen Z and millennial consumers said that they were more likely to travel in the future if their pets were welcome.
According to a survey from pet care business Wag!, 70% of frequent travelers almost always seek out pet-friendly hotels, and 94% would trade at least one amenity, like a hotel bar, in exchange for more pet-friendly policies.
It’s a sign of the times.
Since COVID-19, about one in five households acquired a cat or dog, according to the ASPCA. Pets are popular and people are increasingly traveling with them. That hasn’t gone unnoticed by hospitality brands, many that were already pet friendly but are going all out to capitalize on the $123.6 billion U.S. pet market.
The furry crowd gets royal the treatment these days from hospitality brands— doggy butler service that includes belly rubs and brushings, to gourmet pet food and treats, litter boxes, toys, beds, water bowls, pet sitting, doggy day care, and more.
Sasha Barak, Marketing Manager at Enso Connect, a guest experience platform for hotels and vacation rentals, says being pet-friendly is smart business. “On average, pet-friendly accommodations earn 10% to 20% more than the same properties that are not. They have a higher occupancy throughout the year. Happy dog owners are willing to spend more at the hotel or rental and tend to stay longer,” says Barak.
Here’s a look at four brands upping their pet amenities to drive business.
Kona Kai Resort & Spa: Making wellness a priority for pooches with spa treatments boosts guest bookings
“With the jump in dog adoptions and more people traveling with dogs, we upleveled our offerings to meet this new demand. We identified a gap in the market for wellness experiences and made it a priority,” Scott Ostrander, General Manager of San Diego resort Kona Kai Resort & Spa , told CO—.
In March, Kona Kai launched Noble Paws, dog-centric wellness and spa services offered via SpaTerre, its seasonally themed spa. There’s Pawroma Therapy treatment, which is a therapeutic dog massage; the Furry Flex, a stretching session; and the Training the Master class, which teaches basic dog massage techniques to practice at home. The program offers a healthy dog menu from its Vessel Restaurant + Bar. The spa’s store sells treats, rawhides, doggy robes, pet bowls, leashes and more. The resort donates 10% of the proceeds from pet bookings, experiences at SpaTerre, and the restaurant to the San Diego Humane Society.
On average, pet-friendly accommodations earn 10% to 20% more than the same properties that are not. They have a higher occupancy throughout the year. Happy dog owners are willing to spend more at the hotel or rental and tend to stay longer.
Sasha Barak, Marketing Manager, Enso Connect
“The feedback has been incredibly positive. We have seen a tremendous ROI [return on investment]: a 27% increase in guests traveling to Kona Kai with their pets, and nearly 40 canine spa services booked,” Ostrander said.
From a hotel operations perspective, Kona Kai Resort & Spa’s partnership with the San Diego Humane Society has generated nearly $30,000 in meetings and group revenues, he said. “We’re already talking about puppy picnic programming and seasonal specialties for the fall.”
The Statler: Creating specialized menus for furry guests
The Statler, the Dallas Hotel that’s part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, recently unveiled its Fluffy Stay program. During check-in, you get a bandana, antibacterial wipes, a dog cookie, and a love letter for your pet.
At your room, there’s a doormat announcing, “There’s a furry guest or two chilling in the room.” Four-legged guests enjoy custom-made plush pet beds, food and water bowls and a bone-shaped placemat.
Your dog doesn’t have to get jealous when you order room service. The Furry Companion Menu includes the Tailwagger, an all-natural protein patty of turkey or chicken, a fresh veggie mix, and brown rice. Top it off with a small cup of bananas and strawberries. Dogs can dine with their pet parents on the patios of the Statler’s Overeasy and Primo’s MX Kitchen and Lounge restaurants.
Kimpton: Offering walks and drop-ins to free up pet owners’ time
Kimpton boutique hotels recently launched a first-of-its-kind partnership with Wag! to provide guests and employees with access to on-property and at-home walks and drop-ins for their pets at more than 65 Kimpton properties in the U.S. This complements amenities like lush pet beds and treats; a concierge list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants; parks, groomers, pet boutiques, and more. At some properties, Directors of Pet Relations give guests and their buddies a tail-wagging welcome.
“Our guests seek us out for our pet-friendly policy. We’re seeing many new pet parents who aren’t willing to leave their pets behind,” Nick Gregory, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, told CO—. “They’re looking for places to stay that welcome pets with open arms, and that’s what Kimpton does.”
Little River Inn: Getting Fido in on the fun, like kayaking, ‘broadens the number of families that come’
Dogs have their day at Little River Inn on the Mendocino Coast in Northern California. The Water Dog Sea Cave & River Dog
packages feature three-hour excursion kayaking or canoeing with your dog and an ocean view room, goodie bag for your dog, and a voucher toward dinner. Dine with your dog in the gardens. Two-night stay packages cost around $800.
“The packages are very popular and broaden the number of families that come enjoy the inn,” says Cally Dym, Owner.
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Published September 07, 2022