Covid-19 has sparked a growing trend in dog owners travelling with their dogs. Hotels are offering more amenities and lenient policies to help those who do not want to part ways with their pets.
Jason Halliburton, of BringFido.com's pet travel and lifestyle website, said that the pandemic created the perfect recipe for increased travel with pets. He started with the puppy adoption boom in the first weeks of lockdowns, and continued with stay-at-home orders in spring 2020. A May ASPCA survey found that one fifth of respondents had adopted a cat or dog during the pandemic.
Covid-19 also led to a decrease in travel that is most difficult for pets, and an increase of more accommodating travel options such as road trips, whether by car or in a recreational vehicle. Halliburton also cited the flexibility of working from home that allows people to take longer trips and make more time to bring their dog.
Halliburton stated that BringFido's hotel bookings have shown a "really favorable trend line." "We've been very busy since the shutdown."
According to Halliburton's data, BringFido's hotel and vacation rental bookings increased by 140%, 55% and respectively, 12% and 3%, respectively, during the second quarter 2021. The average booking value and duration of stays also experienced double-digit percentage growth.
Halliburton stated that traveling with dogs, hotels and other services that are more accommodating to pets is a trend that had been in place before the pandemic. However, Covid-19 has made it even more prevalent. It's difficult to predict how many years it will take, but I'd guess it's multiple decades.
"Hotels in leisure are competing head-on with rentals for these customers and it's an extremely compelling product. To attract that leisure customer, you must be able to accept pets.
Hotels are now becoming pet-friendly and some hotels offer special incentives for dog owners.
Listen to The Folo episode 8: Travel goes to dogs
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, and Hard Rock Hotels announced earlier this year that they would be making their hotels pet-friendly by offering additional amenities for dogs.
Lynette Eastman, general manager of Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club in Waikiki, opted for a very pet-friendly policy to keep rooms occupied in the early months during lockdown. This was when inbound travel from Hawaii almost ceased. She doesn't see any way to go back.
Eastman eliminated weight restrictions and the pet fee, and began accepting animals such as cats and rabbits. Eastman attributes this change to keeping business afloat during the pandemic. The hotel was hosting travelers who were quarantined for military transfers.
Eastman stated that it takes up to 24 hours to clean rooms with pets.
She said that in this time of Covid pandemic, extra cleaning is likely to be a good idea for everyone.
Eastman adopted a pandemic puppy. Jack, a mix of English and French bulldogs, is now the hotel's mascot and plays with the other canine guests.
She said, "You and I, nothing will ever be the same as it is in January 2020." I see the trend of pet-friendly hotels continuing. Families won't want to leave their furry loved ones behind.
The InterContinental New York Barclay welcomed Bowie this summer. General manager Sofia Vandaele stated that they have noticed an increase in dog-friendly guests this year. The hotel offered a Pooch Package promotion that waived the pet fee and provided upgraded accommodations and special treats for pets.
Vandaele stated that she believes pet-friendly accommodation will grow. Vandaele said, "Pets are often an additional member of the household and it is difficult for people to let them go on occasion.
"In addition to pet friendly hotels, I believe we will see more pet-friendly workplaces and restaurants."