Pet Friendly Tourism: the Changing Face of the Traveling Family

The new traveling family has fur. Eighty-five million households own pets. Gen Z and Millennials have officially tipped the scales on Baby Boomers and are now 38% of all pet owners. Gen Z , Millennials and Baby Boomers alike consider themselves pet parents and they are taking their furry children with them everywhere.

Pet parents are eager to find places to eat, stay and visit where they are more than just welcomed but where they can share amazing experiences with their furry loved ones. According to the 2017 Trip Advisor Annual Traveling with Pets survey:

  • 56% of American travelers are more likely to travel with their pets

  • 52% of pet owners will only stay at accommodations that are pet friendly

  • 35% of pet owners take shorter vacations, 25% take fewer vacations because of their pawed pals and 7% will only travel to destinations where they can bring their pets

  • 50% of dog owners would pay more to stay at pet friendly accommodations

  • 48% of all travelers still feel hotels should be more accommodating to pets

A break-out session at a recent tourism event discussed the “Bleisure” segment and connecting with business travelers for extended stays. I contend that the “Pawsure” segment (pet friendly/pet safe travel) has the power to make an even greater impact on filling room nights, driving a higher ADR, and result in longer stays and more return visits. Furry families can also become the best brand ambassadors. When properties make pet friendly accommodations a memorable experience pet parents light up social media. They snap, post, and share with family and friends, all potential future guests.

A study from the Purdue University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management(1) states that the emotional connections made with traveling pet families cannot be overestimated. That is the power of pets--they are the future of family travel. Are you ready?


(1) Ksenia Kirillova, Sena Lee & Xinran Lehto (2015) Willingness to Travel With Pets: A U.S. Consumer Perspective, Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism


 Copyright © 2019 Karen Bartoszek

Karen Bartoszek