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Is Your Vacation Rental Pet-Friendly? Make Sure You’re Doing This

pet friendly vacation rental
We’ve mentioned before how hosting guests with pets can be a real boon for your vacation rental business. If you’re looking for a way to stand out, allowing your renters to bring their animals along is a great way to do it. According to MoneyWise, pet-friendliness is one of the most sought-after amenities among Airbnb guests.

While a quick search on Airbnb for 2 adults and “Pets allowed” (without dates specified) returns more than 300 results, other filters could potentially (and significantly) whittle that number down in your favor.

If you’re just coming around to allowing furry friends to stay in your place or have been doing it for a while, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you protect your biggest asset (your home) and reap the biggest reward (your nightly rental rate).

1. Pet Fees

Don’t worry too much about charging pet owners a higher price than the average, pet-less guest.

Do: Incorporate a Pet Fee into your nightly rate or separately as a “fee.”

For starters, hosts with pets are already expecting to pay more to stay somewhere with their pet – that’s just a given. Responsible pet owners also understand that charging higher rates or specific, pet-related fees is a way for you to protect your investment.\

You’re not going to scare pet owners with fees or higher nightly rates. These are for your benefit so that if something does happen, you have the funds available to clean up or refurbish an otherwise unexpected mess.

Don’t: Make your Pet Fee ridiculously high.

While all of this is true, don’t go overboard. “Fair” pet fees won’t scare pet owners, but sky-high ones may cause them to look elsewhere.

Do some homework by checking out nearby and similar listings that allow pets. Where are they setting their fees and nightly rates? Follow suit. Once you’ve got some solid reviews from pet owners who mention their pets in their reviews, then you can raise your rate or fee a bit more if you so choose.

2. Special Rules for Pet Owners

Your house rules for non-pet toting guests and pet owners may be slightly different, and that’s okay.

Do: Ensure your expectations are clear.

Most pet owners will do their best to read all the fine print before booking with you. That means, however, that you need to be as upfront as you can with your expectations in both your listing and your house rules displayed when guests arrive. Here are some important points to mention:

  • If you’re only allowing service animals.
  • If you’re only inviting pets up to a certain weight.
  • If you’re not open to hosting cats/dogs or specific animals.
  • If you’re excluding certain breeds.
  • If you’re requiring pets to be of a certain age (no youngsters).

 

Additionally, be prepared to clearly outline:

  • How pet owners should dispose of pet waste.
  • Repercussions for damage.
  • Areas where pets shouldn’t be allowed (if applicable).

Don’t: Make outrageous rules that are nearly impossible (if not straight-up impossible) for guests to follow.

Be realistic in your rulemaking. For example, don’t tell pet owners that their fur babies are absolutely not allowed to potty in your yard or in the condo/apartment community – where else are they going to take them? Expect that pet owners will be responsible and pick up after their pets.

Also, over time, expect to see some light damage in your home if you’re allowing pets. This is just a part of having pets. It’s not intentional by the pet owners or the pets themselves – it just happens.

3. Plan Accordingly

Think like a pet owner and then go above and beyond.

Do: Consider pets’ comfort as much as their “people’s.”

People love their pets and for many, pets are like children. As such, pet owners will be interested in their pets’ comfort as much as their own. Be prepared for this.

Consider leaving some special treats in your guests’ welcome packet or basket for the animals. Offer a special dog bed that you can easily wash between stays. Keep extra food and water bowls in your kitchen’s utensil lineup. Drop a few toys into a basket for pets to play with.

These are all pretty easy ways to let your guests know their furry friends’ comfort is equally as important as theirs is.

Don’t: Set up your home in a way that invites damage.

While all the above is great, it’s also vital that you think in terms of how living with a pet changes how one sets up their home.

  • Don’t leave decor on the floor, especially things that can be scratched or chewed.
  • Tuck electrical cords out of sight and reach.
  • If you have live plants, try keeping them away from pet-friendly zones.

 

Hosting pets might be what you need to put a new boom in your occupancy rate. By following these recommendations and steering clear of the “don’ts,” you’ll have one more way to separate yourself from the vacation rental crowd.

 

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
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I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
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Airbnb Host in LA
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Blog

Is Your Vacation Rental Pet-Friendly?

vacation rental pet friendly
People love their pets. That’s just a fact.

Did you know that approximately 68% of households now report they have some sort of pet in their home? That’s right: 68 percent of households have a pet.

Now, it’s possible that many of those households have things like birds, turtles, fish or other animals that don’t travel well. However, it’s also safe to assume that a good number of them have travel-friendly pets, such as dogs (or cats, in some cases).

A good percentage of that pet-owning group is also likely to travel at least once a year and they’re going to need to find a place to take Fido. Boarding pets is pretty expensive and, like we said, people love their critters and don’t always enjoy being separated from them.

Here’s what we’re getting at: As a vacation rental host, it might behoove you to list your place as pet-friendly. Here are 5 reasons why you should be renting to guests traveling with animals.

1. Everyone else isn’t doing it.

We’ve discussed time and time again how difficult it has become to appear unique in a sea of vacation rental listings. As the industry continues to gain more and more traction among travelers, it’s even harder to do things to set yourself apart.

That being said, far fewer vacation rentals are listed as being pet-friendly. This gives you an immediate jump up the list of available rentals for a very specific niche.

Pet owners are always looking for friendly and accepting places to bring their furry kids and – just like parents of human children – they talk. This could be a great opportunity for you to score some referrals, too.

2. You have another hosting edge.

You’ve probably gone out of your way to prepare some kind of welcome packet or helpful notes for your guests. This might include suggestions on where to eat around the neighborhood, fun places to visit, or general information that will be helpful during their stay as well as instructions for checking out.

If you’re hosting guests with pets, you have another benefit to highlight: Places they can go and bring their four-legged friends along. If there are local hangouts that are also pet-friendly, make a point to mention them in a special section of your welcome packet. List nearby dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants or cafes, as well as any specific instructions you have for animals staying in your home.

3. You can make more money.

Pet owners aren’t scared off by higher-than-usual deposits or non-refundable pet fees. In fact, they’re usually pretty used to it. Not every pet owner is responsible and manages their animal well; sadly, everyone else must pay the price for their poor travel conduct.

By charging higher rent to serve as “pet rent” or by including additional cleaning fees, you have an opportunity to make more money than you would from pet-free guests.

Here’s something to note, though: Some experts suggest that you’re better off charging higher rent than to charge deposits. Many guests will be turned off by the thought of non-refundable deposits but won’t think twice about paying a higher rent amount to accommodate their animal.

Industry leaders and organizations like the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW) state that pet-friendly rentals can charge anywhere from 20-30% more in rent over the amount offered to non-pet owners. That adds up pretty quickly.

4. You still have control.

There’s plenty of reasons why you might want to list your vacation rental with an “instant book” option but, as you know, this removes a number of factors from your control.

However, if you individually approve all guests and reserve the right to decline prospects based on the size, age or breed of their pet, you still remain in the driver’s seat.

To feel as though they exercise more control, some hosts don’t charge additional fees or rent for pets but pretend to be doing their guests “a big favor” by allowing their animals to join them for free during their stay. According to Elizabeth Weedon at WeNeedaVacation.com, when guests feel like the host is going out of their way to accommodate their pet, they’re “so conscientious about picking up after their [animal].”

If you need help getting started with what you’ll allow in your home, the team at HomeAway has put together an awesome resource for deciding what parameters to put into place as you prepare to rent to pet owners.

5. You’re not likely to incur any more damage than usual.

Now, this is definitely not always the case, but generally speaking, folks who travel with their pets tend to have a better handle on their animal’s behavior. Keep in mind that your guests aren’t going to be living long-term in your vacation rental and therefore, there’s not much time for their pet to destroy your place.

What’s more is that pets aren’t human children. Young kids are hard enough to manage and arguably, they’re more challenging to keep tabs on than animals. Remember that control we just talked about? It can come into play here, too. If you say “no” to puppies and kittens, you’re less likely to incur physical damage to your place.

What it really boils down to is this: Pets may have accidents if they don’t make it outside fast enough but they’re not likely to draw all over your walls or furniture with things they find in a drawer or in mom’s purse. It’s something to think about!

 

There’s more than one way to improve your occupancy rate and ensure you’re booked year-round. Though there are always a few risks involved, the payoff is definitely worth it. By catering to guests who have pets, you’ll be giving yourself more opportunities to stay busy, make more money, and potentially gain additional referrals.

 

Interested in learning more about vacation rental turnover cleanings? Take a look at how MaidThis! helps hosts prepare for their guests.

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved