Considering offering a pet-friendly Airbnb? Travel including fur-baby family members has grown leaps and bounds, as more cats and dogs are having their (holi-)day than ever before.
Pet ownership data shows that pet industry expenditure in the United States reached over 126 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. In 2020, some 70 percent of American households owned one or more pets, in comparison to 56 percent way back in 1988.
Listings that welcome pets are a niche opportunity for those who own and manage vacation rentals. Top listings platform, Airbnb says so “many guests are bringing along their pets that it’s one of the top amenities guests search for”.
Here’s what you should consider if you want to make your space attractive to pet owners, what to include in your house rules section of your listing and whether you should add a charge for the extra cleaning that you will have to conduct.
Considering that the search for a listing that welcomes pets is as popular as wifi, and free parking, it makes a strong case for vacation rentals that allow pets.
Let’s take a look at the added pros of including furry friends in vacation rentals, and why it might appeal to different travelers, including pet parents
While Airbnb does not disclose exactly how many animal friendly listings make up part of over 6+ million listings, it is estimated that less than 4% of listings in any given area offer this amenity. It’s certainly not mainstream, which means you have less competition.
Since your dog friendly Airbnb ups your value proposition, you can increase your nightly rate accordingly, and earn more revenue. Pet owners are willing to pay more to be able to accommodate their pets and spend hours conducting their search for the best pet-friendly Airbnbs.
Pet friend vacation owners can charge a premium of 20% to 30% above the average rent in a specific area. Factoring in your pet friendly Airbnb offering as part of your pricing strategy is vital. An alternative to charging an increased flat rate is giving pet owners the choice of paying a “pet fee”, discussed in more detail in the How Do Pet Fees Work part of this article.
If you factor in that a lot of people only choose to travel with their pets when taking an extended stay, this would translate into higher occupancy and longer-stay bookings for your vacation rental. Weigh your pricing offering against booking a pet into a dog hotel and you’ll fully understand the value you’re giving pet owners.
Since you’re targeting a niche traveler segment, it makes it easier to personalise and enrich the experience, while setting the tone for guests to leave positive reviews to inspire similar travelers with fur babies, all the while growing your guest loyalty and the opportunity for repeat bookings.
While having a listing that allows pets may be popular, it might not always be possible for hosts. These are some of the disadvantages to consider when opening your vacation rental to guests who own pets.
No matter how well-trained or well-behaved a guest’s pet may be, accidents sometimes happen.
Pets could cause unexpected damage and stains, amongst other mishaps. Fortunately, for unexpected costs like scratched upholstery, hosts can get up to $1 million in damage with AirCover for Hosts.* You can read more about this in the Pet Policy section.
So while you could charge higher rates for your offering, you do stand the risk of laying out more money for cleaning, laundry, and insurance.
Inviting responsible pet owners into your home is one thing. But it would be a good idea to check in with your neighbours before putting up that pets-allowed amenities notification on your listing. Unruly pets put you at risk of alienating your neighbors, so put the necessary approvals and precautions in place beforehand.
While the potential is there to charge a higher night rate or add on an additional cleaning fee – advertising that your listing accepts pets could in fact put off the out crowd of non-pet owners. Keep in mind, people might weigh how clean and inviting your property is based on the fact that pets can create unnecessary wear and tear on your offering and experience.
Airbnb does not offer standard pet fees. Instead, Airbnb outlines that allowing pets to stay in a vacation rental is at the discretion of the owner. There is no liability on the platform’s part to determine the pet safety standards at the property and this is solely the responsibility of the vacation rental owner.
Concerns have been raised in the Airbnb Community Centre about pets, underscoring the importance to set clear rules and boundaries when adding a furry-friend amenity to your listing. Airbnb does not offer pets insurance and there is no coverage as part of AirCover for Hosts since pets are not considered property.
As a result, when looking for a place to stay in your home, it is important to carefully consider all aspects of hosting pets if you do.
As previously mentioned, Airbnb does not enforce standard pets allowed policies. Instead, a professional host needs to have a specific pet policy for their listing and the guest needs to agree to these conditions when making a booking. All terms and conditions must be clear and agreed upon upfront.
If you’ve had an unexpected incident AirCover for Hosts, gives hosts $1 million in damage protection. *Be sure to document any damage with photos and request reimbursement through the Airbnb Resolution Center.
Now that you fully understand the benefits as well as the sensitivities that need to be addressed when hosting guests and their four-legged friends – here’s a checklist to help you rank among the best pet-friendly Airbnbs ever.
Many travelers accustomed to traveling with their pets don’t require much additional hospitality – but as a host, there are ways and means to set your experience apart.
The Must-Have Vacation Rental Inventory should include the following basics if you want to allow pets in your space:
Guests traveling with pets may want to know what to expect in your space and it makes sense to include details about whether you have a fenced-in yard or a private patio. Be sure to include any features in your listing details, like dog parks or markets and neighbouring attractions that are within walking distance from your property.
Other things you can do to make your listing more attractive to pet owners:
Service animals are not considered pets. A service animal is one that’s individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with disabilities. Hosts cannot deny a service animal to accompany its owner if they have accepted the booking. You would need to be granted an exemption and you can’t charge a pet/cleaning fee for a service pet either.
A pet fee can be charged for an emotional support animal, except in places where applicable laws may not allow it, such as California and New York.
Hosts are advised to implement a rigorous cleaning routine, using the pet fee to cover the cleaning you’d expect to do after hosting four-legged guests, such as vacuuming fur off the furniture and wiping nose or paw prints off sliding glass doors.
iGMS’s automated tools for vacation rental hosts and property managers allows hosts to seamlessly activate cleaning teams, including any special cleaning instructions.
The fee is included as part of your nightly price, spread out equally over the course of a guest’s stay. At checkout, it’s also included in the total price, not charged as a separate fee.
Been hosting pets for a while? Adding a pet fee to your nightly price means you no longer need to request one separately through the Airbnb Resolution Center after you accept a booking—or chase guests who are slow to pay it, which would factor in any maintenance or additional cleaning fees after the furry friend has left.
While some hosts put their animal-status front and centre, others simply include it as an amenity inclusion to ensure they can secure all appropriate bookings for their offering. Let these pet-friendly offerings guide you to becoming an excellent host to your guests and their fur babies.
“Eighteen miles outside of Asheville you’ll find yourself in this modern, floor-to-ceiling-window retreat overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. This Airbnb is just minutes from a popular dog-friendly hike in the Pisgah National Forest. Also, enjoy the many pet-friendly bars and breweries.
This charming beach bungalow is located inside the Sandestin Resort. A secure resort, plus the white sand beaches ensure you and your pup are in for an energetic time.”You and your doggo will appreciate being away from the hustle and bustle of the busy beach—tucked away in the bayou and steps from the tranquil fishing pond.”
This private pod on a remote island is what dreams are made of for all those who would like to get away from the noise of the metropolis and they welcome pets with open arms.
Explore Hawaii with your four-legged friend, with this studio being an ideal stay. It comes with French doors that lead to an open deck, the best place for enjoying your breakfast before heading out for a walk to explore the surroundings with your pooch.
Escape to this beautiful pet-friendly Airbnb in Canada, if you are tired of the urban jungle. The cozy cabin is only a short drive away from the spectacular Joffre Lakes as you enjoy your spellbinding surroundings.
So there you have it. Automating each and every aspect of your hosting routine, even as pet pet-friendly listing, is possible with a touch of technology. Vacation rental software solutions such as iGMS can put your business on autopilot by:
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