For many of us, pets are members of the family. As a vacation rental property manager having pet-friendly units can open you up to a huge new market, but it does come with challenges.
Do you have a pet policy in place? A recent survey of 1100 travelers conducted by TripAdvisor found that 53% of those who responded travel with their pets and 52% will only stay at pet-friendly properties. That’s a big market and one that can increase nights booked and bring in higher revenues.
Let’s look at some of the elements you need to consider when running a pet-friendly vacation rental.
Allowing pets to stay at your properties is a great way to fill your calendar and boost your income. Consider how you’ll protect yourself, your properties, and your guests. Here are some ideas to get you started.
The most important factor as a pet-friendly vacation rental is to make sure that you clearly outline the conditions and rules relating to pets in the unit and on the property. Setting a standard policy and going over it with guests before they check in is a good practice. Having a stated policy and clearly explaining it can mitigate potential problems before they happen. Consider:
- The number of animals you’ll allow
- Type of animals– if you’re highly allergic to cats, you can specify – “no cats.”
- Weight restrictions – under 40 pounds is common, but if there is an HOA involved, check the bylaws.
- Waste cleanup – This is a must-have! Require guests to remove waste from the yard and surrounding areas.
- Leash policy – Another rule to check if you’re dealing with an HOA.
- Flea and Tick policy– You may want to require that pets be on flea and tick prevention medication before check-in. Some of your property owners might prefer you take these measures to keep their homes pest-free.
Make sure to include the rules in your listings, your pre-stay emails, and in a “welcome book” in the unit. Make sure that your guests understand your policies before they book, and reiterate them when they arrive.
If you leave a welcome basket in your unit, make sure to include a treat for the family pet. It can lead to rave reviews and help to identify your brand as pet-friendly.