Last Updated on August 5, 2014 by Mark Lavington
The Dog Friendly Holiday Home Market
A dog has long been regarded as a man’s best friend and for a nation of pet lovers it doesn’t stop there; from your pampered pooch to the fastidious feline, an estimated one in three UK households now has a pet to call their own.
The question for owners has long been what happens to their animals while they’re on holiday?
36% of respondents to a recent survey indicated a pet was their biggest cause of worry while away, with 72% indicating it was at least a concern. When combined with the potential costs of boarding facilities such as kennels this has led to two in five of us now bringing them along with us!
Benefits of marketing your holiday home as dog friendly
Reaching a wider marketplace
With an estimated 40% of guests now looking for pet friendly holiday accommodation it’s becoming increasingly hard for holiday homeowners to ignore this potentially lucrative marketplace. If your holiday home is located in an area suitable for the pet owners among us you’ll be opening up your holiday home to an increased number of would-be guests. Marketing your holiday home as dog friendly will increase your bookings.
13% of people have indicated they’d rather go on holiday with their pet than their partner!
Paying a premium to stay with you
Not only will the volume be greater, but guests are also willing to pay a premium for pet friendly accommodation, understanding that an increase in potential tariff will be less than the cost of kennels or pet boarding and accommodation, which can be five times the cost to take them on holiday with you.
Year round bookings
Certain places including beaches will prohibit animals during busier summer periods. This means that dog owners in particular can look to enjoy a break during the winter and shoulder months, giving you greater bookings around the year.
Marketing your property to pet owners – communicating the right things
In order to attract these potential guests you’ll need to make sure you have all of the information they’re looking for:
- When someone visits your website or reads your marketing literature they’ll be looking to understand if your holiday cottage is suitable for them. As whether or not you allow pets is an important part of their decision making process ensure it’s adequately highlighted. Imagery can be a quick and easy way to convey that you’re a pet friendly location.
- Manage visitor expectations by outlining what you do and don’t accept, along with the facilities available for their pets. Having clearly communicated ground rules can also help with any issues that arise with guests during or after their stay.
- Remember that your visitors are likely to be active if they’re bringing pets such as dogs. Providing information on where they can go, local walks, along with places to visit and enjoy with a pet can sway and secure their decision to stay with you.
- This information should be included in all of your marketing materials, from your website to your welcome pack, where a nice treat for the pet can be an added extra when your guest arrives.
- If you have a holiday letting agent make sure they know you’re able to accept pets so they can update their own details and promote you to those looking to stay in pet friendly accommodation.
The Potential Pitfalls to Pet Friendly Accommodation
Whilst there are many benefits to opening up your holiday home to pet owners there are also some other aspects you’ll need to consider:
- Some guests may have allergies that would prevent them from staying in pet friendly accommodation.
- If you’re going to be promoting your accommodation as pet friendly you’ll need to commit to and invest in it. This will include providing adequate facilities for pets such as dog mats and bedding to considering appropriate flooring.
- Pets will cause a greater wear and tear on your property, particularly if you have a large amount of soft furnishings.
- If pets are staying in your property during winter and wetter shoulder months the costs of cleaning can be significantly increased.
- Consider your neighbors and nearby accommodation; if none currently offer pet friendly accommodation will there be complaints from potential barking and animal noise?
- Ensure that your holiday home insurance does not exclude damage by pets
Feel free to leave your tips and experiences of marketing your holiday home as dog friendly in the comments below.
Boshers are specialist providers of holiday home insurance. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.