Home » Free Content » Watt if…. You want to welcome pets, but don’t want to lose your marbles doing it

By Elaine Watt

Pets are part of the family. People love travelling with them, they don’t want to leave their four legged friend at home, they feel it’d be like leaving a member of the family behind!

What impact does knowing that have on our holiday homes? Well, there’s a whole market of people searching for ‘pet friendly holiday lets’.

There’s loads and loads of people looking for somewhere they can take their pet on holiday with them, and you can offer them a place to stay and bring their pet and really open your holiday let up to a whole new market!

Interestingly, as recently as 2011, holiday lets | vacation rentals don’t seem to have even been taken into account when looking at and analysing the habits of people travelling with their pets -take a look at some of the pain points and considerations on this infographic  you can see the high percentage of people whose travelling decisions are very much infuenced by the ability to bring their pets.
This infographic refers to flights and hotels and we know that holiday lets | vacation rentals are waaaay more flexible than hotels. So there’s a need there that you can address-see the ‘Difficulties’ section which refers to lack of choice in accommodation, lack of information and high prices. You can offer more choice and flexibility, give information based on facts which are more readily available since 2011 and you can do it without charging a fortune-and please don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s to your detriment!!

 

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”Elaine Watt” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] So what is the key to offering excellent pet friendly accommodation, doing it well and not having your place come off the worse for wear? Communication. I think it’s as simple as being absolutely clear from the outset on where each of us stands. [/pullquote]

Sharing your rules shows you’ve thought things through and that you care about the comfort and care of your guest and their four legged friend and that you care about your holiday home and providing continued excellent service. Any pet owner will appreciate you having gone to the trouble to accommodate them and to do it well. If it’s unappreciated, then they weren’t your ideal guests and they’ll go elsewhere. Which we are fine with – we want the right people in our properties for the right reasons!

Here’s some actionable suggestions on how you can implement having pets in your property, give great service and still keep your sanity!


Have the rules clearly laid out


You can’t skip this step in my opinion and experience. Part of being a pet friendly holiday let is ensuring everyone is safe and happy, rules help this to happen!

You can read my pet policy here which I share with every guest. I also ask that they speak to me before assuming that a pet can come with them. I then get the chance to figure out by chatting to them what they’re like and what type of dog they have and then we can determine if we’re a good match. Because you accept pets it doesn’t mean you have to accept every pet that comes your way!

Protect yourself – have a back up plan in case of accidents

Additional ways to protect yourself:

  • Consider taking an additional security deposit for pets. £75 could be an accessible starting point but of course is dependent on the type of property you have and needs to be based on covering  immediate cleaning costs or replacements that you’re going to need to turn around fast for upcoming bookings. (Research the type of cleaning services that are available locally and the costs involved, also consider the cost of removing and deep cleaning a rug or soiled furniture) Think about keeping the deposit relatively low, it’s to cover immediate cleaning costs not for replacing large items such as items of furniture, your insurance is there for that.
  • Or add a paragraph into your contract that breakages or items damaged beyond reasonable use will have to be paid for by the guest. This will cover the larger items that could be damaged in a worst case, these items certainly shouldn’t be taken into account for the deposit – a deposit that’s too big will deter good people from booking your place. Remember again you will have insurance for bigger items so this step is a decision for you, dependent on your holiday home and how it is appointed.
  • Add a nightly cost. It’s very reasonable to charge for a pet to stay with their owner. You would charge for an additional person to cover bedding etc, you can reasonably charge for a pet to cover cleaning. £6 per night is a good starting point, some charge much less, some much more. I think again it’s down to circumstance and what similar properties nearby are doing. If they’re pet friendly, see what they do. Think about being competitive pricewise, you can be more expensive, but add so much value people searching for somewhere to stay can’t not consider you
  • Ask your insurance company what is covered and what isn’t. Listen to the episode of the Holiday Let Success Podcast with Phil Schofield of Schofields Insurance for a great intro to holiday home insurance. If you don’t want to charge per night, or ask for a deposit, you could add an additional cleaning fee instead. This may be a useful way of packaging your property, pets free. With a caveat of *additional cleaning charges apply.

 


Be Proactive – Communication is key


 

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] On the first contact, be absolutely clear that there are rules around pets. Confirm any additional charges right away. Be open and honest with yourself in communication, people like knowing where they stand. [/pullquote]

You can take a moment to explain the reasons why you have these rules in place – to ensure they have a wonderful stay and to protect your holiday home for future guests who may not have pets, if you want to. This is not completely necessary as it can be part of the pet policy page, play it by ear!

Always remember to just be very helpful and super welcoming. If there is any negativity that the potential guest may have felt when it was explained to them that there are rules around.

Give some information on the local area and the environment because this will impact their stay – is your garden fully enclosed? (If it’s not don’t feel you can’t be dog friendly – be open and totally clear that this is the case)

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Offer local pet sitting/dog sitting services, leave a well thought out list of dog friendly places for walks, days out and places to eat.[/pullquote]

You could send a doggy packing list ahead of time as part of your info pack with directions, keys etc. Find useful ideas online, take a look at some of the great infographic on the HLS Pinterest Page for some good ideas. Or if you use the Coponis App, make sure it’s in there.

If you have guests arriving from overseas who are bringing their pet, include links to the Pet Travel Scheme that shares the rules and regulations around bringing pets into the UK. Or set up your own Pinterest Page for guests with a board full of useful doggy travel links and send them the link to that instead.

Finally, leave a doggy welcome pack. It’s a simple, fun and economical way to really go the extra mile for people travelling with pets. Get a great list of ideas of what to include here.


Remember,


Overwhelmingly, people are lovely. You can’t ever be 100% sure you’re going to have a positive experience with someone travelling with a pet, but then that’s exactly the same for people travelling without pets! Offer exceptional service, be clear, protect yourself, be you and enjoy it!

 

I’d love to hear your experiences of offering pet friendly accommodation, you can leave me a message at www.holidayletsuccess.com and press the orange button on the right, and just speak! Don’t forget to leave your name, email address and website so I can give you a shoutout on the podcast!!
One of our most recent pieces of feedback after welcoming a couple with a dog (Woohoooo!!)
“My dog was made to feel very welcome and was given some treats on arrival. Great to find somewhere where dogs are welcome!

It is a beautiful place to stay, with idyllic scenery, Elaine is so welcoming, very keen on making sure you have the best stay possible. Fantastic value for money and I would definitely stay here again.”

Thanks to Elaine for this You want to welcome pets, but don’t want to lose your marbles doing it article

If you are looking for more information about pet friendly listings companies and more check out our pet friendly section here