Dogs have always been man’s best friend. Sometimes they need a little help from us too, especially when it comes to going to the pub or cafe, heading on holiday, managing their social media accounts and even going to a film screening.
Almost a quarter of UK households own a dog and two-thirds of animal owners class their pets as family members who they'd include in a family holiday, day trip or weekend excursion. Last year Brits spent £4.6bn on their pets, a rise of 25 per cent in five years. Of this, just under £1bn was spent on non-food items, showing that pet-owners are willing to indulge their pets.
Pet welcoming locations who connect with a loyal canine loving community can reap a long-term benefit from having a loyal customer base and research shows that hospitality businesses that open their doors to dogs could increase revenues by 30 per cent a year, so tapping into this market has its benefits.
Here are our top tips for attracting and catering for guests with pets:
1. Make sure all the information about your pet-friendly services are clear.
Include facts about where in the hotel dogs are allowed or not allowed. To a pet-parent just allowing a dog in the room is not enough. Have a breakfast room or area where dogs can sit with their owners. Don’t make it difficult but putting too many restrictions in place. Dogs love the bar too!
2. Include a pet offering on your menu.
While having a pet menu won’t generate substantial revenue itself, having it will make the venue a hot destination for pet owners. Get listed in online pet-travel directories and cultivate a loyal and local following. Pet-parents will come back to you because the venue makes them feel welcome. Burger restaurant chain Shake Shack has canine cuisine right on the menu. They have delectable offerings like the Pooch-ini, which is ShackBurger dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard or the Bag O’ Bones, a bag of five ShackBurger dog treats.
3. Replicate what you offer to a guest but make it dog-friendly.
Room service menu for dogs and a special treat on arrival. Providing dog beds and bowls make any pet-parent and pet feel welcome.
4. Recommend walks and places to visit in the area that are also welcoming to dogs.
Pet-parents are delighted to get the local intel on where to visit from beaches to parks and shops. This is a great way to collaborate with other pet businesses locally too from groomers to dog walkers, as well as local pet-welcoming events that are happening in your area. Invite collaboration with local pet businesses to create bespoke packages and make them part of your pet offering.
5. Hold and promote special pet-friendly events
For hotels this could mean inviting an animal behaviorist or trainer to do a workshop during a weekend break package, or similarly make regular events, such as yoga retreats, also pet-friendly. Clients will happily pay for a dog walker or spa and grooming services for their companion if these services are available.
6. A personalized touch is important
Towels and bathrobes and shampoos are a great touch if your hotel is by the seaside or where country walks abound.
7. Make sure people know pets are around.
Have a dog-in-room sign available to make sure there are no surprises for your staff (or your guests' four-legged friends).
For information about Pet-Fi and how you can get your business listed visit Pet-fi.net