Pet Friendly Done Right = Loyal Return Guests and New Revenue Streams

We love our pets.  In 2018 we spent over $72B on pet food, products, toys, veterinary services, and more. The industry is growing at an annual pace of 4-6% and it did not take a hit during the economic downturn. By 2020 industry experts project the spend to be upwards of $100B. Just let those numbers sink in. In 2015 the children’s products industry was $41B while the Pet Industry was in the $59B+ range.

Millennials and Gen Z have now officially outpaced Baby Boomers at 38% of all pet owners. Boomers are still a huge percent, though, ringing is at 35%. But wait—these are not pet owners anymore. Millennials, Gen Z and Boomers (and those of us in between) consider ourselves pet parents and this shift has a major impact on everything from the quality of products purchased to the places we will go with their furry children.

The shift to pet parents presents a huge opportunity for the hospitality and travel industries.  In the lodging alone, it has the potential to help drive new revenue dollars, fill more room nights and create loyal return guests. In 2003, William Frye, Associate Professor at Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management estimated that a 75-room limited service property could potentially increase room revenues by $25,000 or more per year. A 300-room full-service property could realize $100,000 to $150,000 in increased room revenues by implementing a pet-friendly reservation policy. Considering an annual inflation rate of approximately 2.08% those numbers today would be $33,365 for a 75-room limited service hotel and between $133,462 -$200,192 for a 300-room full service hotel.

Surveys have shown 50% of dog parents are willing to pay more to stay at accommodations that are pet friendly. By being pet friendly you are filling more room nights and at a higher Average Daily Rate (ADR). Over 90% of respondents to the 2016 online survey said they are willing to pay up to $50 extra per night for their pets. (Source: online survey 2016)

Trip Advisor’s 2017 Annual Travel with Pets survey also shed 😊 additional light on the traveling pet family space:

  • 35% of pet owners take shorter vacations

  • 25% take fewer vacations because of their pawed pals

  • 7% will only travel to destinations where they can bring their pets.

With 84M pet families across the US, these numbers offer a tremendous market opportunity. By creating amazing and memorable pet experiences you offer traveling pet families the opportunity to spend more quality time together.

Take one of those statistics alone, 35% of pet parents taking shorter vacations equates to 29M potential guests. If they stayed even one or two nights extra since they had their fur baby with them the revenue generated could be substantial. Not to mention the emotional connections you have now made with those guests because of the amazing experience they had at your destination. And an added perk—pet parents share their memories with friends, family and other pet parents by word of mouth and even more so by social media—who doesn’t love to see pics of pets having fun?!

The pet friendly travel market is still in its infancy.  There is so much potential for hospitality and travel businesses.  Especially when pet friendly = pet safe = pet fun. We are just scratching the surface for hospitality and travel—the opportunities that it holds are endless.

Copyright © 2018 Karen Bartoszek

Karen Bartoszek