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How to Provide Personalized Service to Hotel Guests With Pets

Pets provide a unique opportunity to offer service that’s heads and tails above the rest.

Making your hotel pet-friendly is a great first step toward catering to guests with pets. But by going beyond the basics, hoteliers can truly make these guests and their furry friends feel right at home.

Even before the pandemic, 75 percent of luxury, midscale and economy hotels were allowing pets, according to data from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Then, during the pandemic, 20 percent of American households adopted a pet, and even more hotels started welcoming furry family members. That means hotels that truly want to stand out from the competition may need to do more for pets.

“As the number of pet owners across the country spiked during the pandemic, the hotel of the future needs to be fit for man and man’s best friend like never before,” Carley Thornell states in Skift, a leading news source for travel executives.

Here are six ways to provide more personalized service to guests with pets at your hotel:

1. Make room for Rover on the reservation

Make a space for your guests to add a pet to their booking just as they would any other additional guest. Then request additional information about the pet, including their name, species, size and any special needs. For example, if little Felix is afraid of elevators, the guest may want to request a ground floor room. Learning the pet’s name and a few details about them will allow you to mention them by name at check-in, respond proactively to any needs and truly make the guest and their furry family member comfortable.

2. Offer pet amenities

Many hotel chains are trying to stand out by offering special amenities for people and their pets. To get an idea of what other properties are doing, you may want to check out pet travel site Trips with Pets’ list of hotel pet amenities. For example, the Aloft Hotels Arf program provides pets with: treats, plus a pet bed and bowl to use for free during the stay. And Kimpton rolls out the welcome mat for pets with tail-wagging enthusiasm. They allow guests’ “furry, feathery or scaly family member” to stay free regardless of weight. And they offer a long list of pet amenities, including plush pet beds, special door hangers to alert staff to pet presence, and even directors of pet relations at some properties.

3. List local pet-friendly businesses

Just as your concierge or front desk staff know the best local restaurants and attractions to recommend, they should have a curated list of local pet-friendly businesses at the ready. Consider including eateries, breweries and wine bars with pet-friendly patios, local shops that allow pets and pet-focused businesses. These may include: pet shops, groomers, dog bakeries and more. You may want to print the list as a cute flier you can hand to guests with pets at check-in, and include a digital version on your app or website.

4. Offer vet contact info

People who are traveling with their pets will want a list of nearby veterinarians, as well as the location and contact info for any nearby 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. This is important information to compile and provide to guests proactively. Of course, let them know they’ll need to do their own research as well to choose a veterinarian they’re comfortable with and confirm the location in advance.

5. Make room for walking outdoors

Another way to make it clear pets are truly welcome: provide a pet walking area outside the property. You can score extra points with pets and their people by making the area attractive and adding fun signage and a walking path. Be sure to include a pet waste bag station, and keep it well- stocked at all times.

6. Let pets join in the fun

The more flexible you can be in terms of welcoming pets at your property, the better service you can provide to guests who travel with them. For example, Kimpton hotels hold nightly wine receptions, and they make it clear pets are welcome too. Not only does this provide more flexibility, it allows people to mingle and connect with other “pet people” and show off their pets.

Hotels that want to offer better and more personalized service to people and their pets will need to be creative, get flexible and go above and beyond simply “allowing pets,” which was the minimum bar for pet friendliness in the past.