We’re a nation of dog lovers, so it’s no surprise that many of us can’t bear to go on holiday without our four-legged friends. To help hosts extend a paw to a wider range of guests, Rachael Kiss — Marketing & Online Manager at Alliance Online — shares her top tips for making your Airbnb more pooch friendly.
Whether it’s due to high kennel costs or simply because a family holiday wouldn’t be the same without them, pet-friendly accommodation is always in high demand. In fact, in the UK we search for the term ‘dog-friendly Airbnb’ around 2,700 times a month, suggesting that this is a key decider for many prospective guests all year round. So, if you want to make your holiday home stand out from the rest, you may want to open up your Airbnb to visits from our furry friends.
To help you get started, I’ve rounded up a few effective ways hosts can make their accommodation more welcoming and appealing to pet owners.
Be transparent about fees and house rules
If you’re in a position to waive the additional fees, this can be a great way to attract more pet owners to your property. However, not every host can afford this as you may need to pay your cleaning team to deal with any damage, scratched furniture, or mess from your furry visitors. If you maintain the property yourself, you may still need this pet fee to reimburse you for extra cleaning products and the time it took you to get your home ready for the next guest.
Most pet-friendly homes charge an additional pet fee, so your guests won’t be perturbed if you choose to do so. What’s most important is being transparent and upfront from the beginning about what these fees will be, so there are no surprises at the end of their stay. Any house rules should also be included clearly online, such as listing certain rooms where dogs aren’t allowed or clarifying whether the yard is open to use. This way, everyone is informed about the important stuff well ahead of time, and they can start enjoying their holiday worry-free.
As well as making your Airbnb listing appealing to pet owners, it’s just as important to make it safe. Consider parts of your holiday home that might become a hazard for dogs, such as any steep stairs or any dog-height ornaments that are easy to knock over when playing. If you have any flowers or houseplants in your property, it’s also wise to check that these are safe and non-toxic for dogs to avoid any health scares or emergency vet appointments.
As well as pet-proofing, you may also want to provide some dog-friendly basics. For example, guests may bring their own dog bed to give their pooch something familiar and comforting to settle down on in a new environment. However, if they don’t, providing a standard-size dog bed should be sufficient for most pups to have their own special place to sleep. Not only is this a nice welcoming detail, but it can also discourage them from sleeping (or shedding) on your furniture!
Remember the extra touches
Going the extra mile for your guests always makes a lasting impression, and sometimes it’s the little things that keep regular visitors coming back. One way to do this is by providing a doggy welcome pack alongside the standard one you give to guests. While your usual welcome packs might provide them with some basic supplies while they get settled — like bread, local jams, or a bottle of wine — your pooch-friendly gift basket can be a cute, fun addition to their stay.
Try including things like bags of treats, little toys, and food bowls that their pup can make use of during their stay. You may also want to include a separate welcome book that includes local walks and dog-friendly activities to do in the area, as well as reiterating some of the house rules you provided online so that your guests always have them to hand. These extra touches often get mentioned in positive reviews, so they are certainly worth including if you’re hoping to maintain a high host rating.
Provide a ‘just in case’ box
When bringing their dogs on holiday, owners will bring their own essential supplies like food, leads, poo bags, and whatever else their dog requires on a daily basis (such as important medication or special grooming tools). However, in between all the packing, organising, and travelling involved in a family holiday, things can sometimes get left behind. Providing your guests with a little box of essentials and important information is a great way to make their lives easier, and this will reassure them that they’re staying in a holiday home that’s truly geared towards pets.
Buying a few handy items like extra poo bags, tennis balls, and washcloths to dry off muddy paws can make the world of difference to your guests’ stay. It’s also wise to include the address and contact information of any nearby vets in case of any unexpected health problems or injuries. Not only does having a ‘just in case’ box like this help your guests out when they need it, but it also means that they’re equipped to deal with any mess or accidents when and if they happen. To this end, you may also want to include training mats for any young dogs or those that get nervous in new surroundings, just as a precaution for your floors and carpets.
Pet owners are a key demographic in the hospitality industry, so make sure you don’t miss out on their custom. Using the helpful tips above, hosts can start to make their Airbnb more pet-friendly and allow owners to bring their four-legged friends along on their holiday. For more advice on dog-friendly destinations and activities, be sure to check out our blog.