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The hospitality game is changing – and so is the travelers’ wishlist. 

With a growing number of travelers wanting to bring their furry companions along, finding a suitable rental that allows pets is often a headache. Unfortunately, many rentals don’t allow pets, and even those that do might not be as accommodating as one would hope.

With changes in the traveler’s needs and growing competition, hosts must adapt. Many hosts, myself included, understand that you may have to adjust to these changes to continue growing and thriving in your business. While allowing pets is not for everyone,  embracing a pet-friendly approach in your Airbnb can significantly boost your business.   

If you’re considering shifting towards a more pet-friendly space but are unsure where to begin, a few tweaks can make your vacation rental the perfect space for your guests and their friends. Let’s get into the pros and cons of this shift and explore some tips to transform your rental into a warm and inviting space for pets and their owners alike.

dog on couch, pet Stylish interior of living room with design furniture, gold pouf, plant, mock up poster frames, carpet, accessoreis and beautiful dog lying on the sofa in cozy home decor.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Other Airbnb hosting ideas you might like:

How to Make A Vacation Rental Pet Friendly

Evaluate the property for safety and suitability for pets

To ensure your vacation rental is pet-friendly, assess the property’s safety and suitability for pets. This includes checking for any hazards or toxic plants that might pose a risk to animals, as well as ensuring the property has a secure, fenced yard or a designated area for pets to explore safely. 

Additionally, consider the rental’s proximity to parks or pet-friendly outdoor spaces where guests and their furry companions can enjoy walks or playtime together. Evaluating these factors will guarantee a safe and enjoyable stay for the pet and its owner.

Provide pet amenities

Offering essential pet amenities can greatly enhance the overall experience for guests and their pets. These amenities could include the following:

  • water and food bowls
  • pet beds
  • leashes
  • waste bags
  • pet toys
  • pet treats
  • litter box
  • scratching post (for cats)
  • designated pet towels for cleaning. 

All these extra amenities and touches can make your furry guests feel all the more welcome.

Incorporate pet-friendly features into the design and layout of the rental

When creating a pet-friendly vacation rental, it’s important to consider the interior design and layout to cater to the needs of both the pets and their owners. Consider some of the following design ideas:

  • Use durable and easy-to-clean flooring materials such as tile or hardwood, reducing the chance of damage and making cleanup a breeze. 
  • Utilize entry mats and area rugs to help minimize dirt and debris tracked in by pets.
  • Utilize furniture made of stain-resistant and pet-friendly fabrics.
  • Provide washable furniture covers for added protection.
  • Keep a set of towels by the front door for those paw wipe-downs. 
  • Offer a designated pet sleeping or lounging area to help maintain a comfortable and tidy space for all guests.

Establish a pet fee or deposit

To protect your vacation rental property and help cover any additional cleaning or potential damages caused by pets, it’s important to establish a pet fee or deposit. This cost can be a one-time (per night/stay), a non-refundable fee, or a refundable deposit. Most guests will pay this fee upon booking. 

This will not only help to safeguard your property but also promote responsible pet ownership among your guests. Be sure to clearly communicate these fees in your rental listing and booking process to avoid confusion or misunderstandings during the guests’ stay.

How much should you charge for a pet fee?

Some hosts charge between $10 and $75 a night, capping the price for a certain number of days. Some hosts charge a flat fee for the entire stay or mid-term rental, ranging from $75 to $250. The decision is entirely yours and what works best for your business. 

Set clear rules and expectations for pet owners

Wooden bed in stylish neutral bedroom interior with design furniture, decoration, carpet, bench, dried flowers in vase, elegant personal accessories in home decor. Beautiful dog lying on the carpet.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Establishing clear rules and expectations for pet owners is important. These rules should outline the do’s and don’ts for pet owners and their pets. This will allow you, as a host, to set the standard of what is acceptable when hosting a pet on your property.

Get specific about which pets make the cut and set clear limits on the number of pets allowed at any time. 

Here are a few examples of things you might consider when deciding on the type of pets to accept:

  • Pet type 
  • Pet breed – Is it Hypoallergenic?
  • Age
  • Maximum pet size or weight
  • Max # of pets
  • Potty trained

Once you have decided which pets to allow, iron out the rules the guests must abide by when in your home. If there are off-limit zones for pets, like the pool or bedrooms, spell it out in your listing.  Examples include:

  • No loud barking
  • Must be leashed? Detail whether the furry pals must stay on a leash or if it’s cool to have solo time in the rental. 
  • Keep off furniture/beds
  • Crate Usage
  • Are solo hangouts allowed? Figure out whether it’s ok for the furry pals to hang at home alone while the owner is out and about.

Clarity is key!

Post these rules online and in the rental space to ensure everyone is aware and compliant. When done, make sure to Update your listing with the Pet Policy.

If you are unsure how to develop a policy, refer to Airbnb’s pet policy

Discuss it with the team

It is important that you discuss your decision to become pet-friendly with your team or staff. This includes the property manager, cleaning staff, maintenance, and anyone else who is instrumental in the operation of the business. Get their opinions and see what they think.

A member of your cleaning crew might have a dog allergy, throwing a curveball into the mix. The cleaning crew may charge more to clean the rental if pets have been there. 

We all know that finding reliable partners and team members can be a challenge, and you wouldn’t want to risk losing them.

Spread the word About pet-friendly spots nearby

Get the scoop on pet-friendly hangouts around your place before guests arrive. Pet owners want to have plenty of options for activities with their furry pals on vacation. Toss out recommendations for nearby parks, beaches, and joints where pets are more than welcome.

Pros of Making A Vacation Rental Pet-Friendly

Cute French bulldog on carpet in living room, pet dog
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Increase in bookings

By allowing pets in your vacation rental, you can attract a wider audience of potential guests, including pet owners who may have trouble finding accommodations elsewhere. This can increase bookings, particularly during peak travel seasons.

Opportunity for higher rental rates

Pet-friendly vacation rentals may command higher rental rates, as pet owners are often willing to pay a premium for the convenience of bringing their pets with them on vacation. Additionally, a pet fee or deposit can be charged to offset any potential damage caused by pets.

Enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty

Accommodating pets can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, as it provides an option for pet owners to travel with their furry companions without having to leave them behind. This can result in positive reviews and repeat business from satisfied pet owners.

Competitive advantage over other vacation rentals

Offering a pet-friendly vacation rental can provide a competitive advantage over other vacation rentals that do not allow pets. Pet owners are often willing to pay a premium for pet-friendly accommodations and may be more likely to choose a rental property that allows pets over one that does not.

Creating memorable experiences for pet owners

Providing pet amenities, features, and recommendations for pet-friendly activities in the area can create a memorable experience for pet owners and their furry companions. This can result in positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals, increasing the property’s bookings and revenue.

Cons of Making A Vacation Rental Pet-Friendly

dog on couch
Image Credit: New Africa / Shutterstock

Potential damage to the property

Not all pets are created the same. Pets can potentially cause damage to furniture, carpets, and other areas of the rental property. This can result in costly repairs or replacements for the property owner. This is a potential reality all hosts have to face.

Additional cleaning costs

Allowing pets in a rental property can result in additional cleaning costs to remove pet hair, dander, and other debris. This can be time-consuming and may require professional cleaning services.

Concerns about the safety of the pet and other guests

There may be concerns about the pets and other guests’ safety, particularly if the rental property has features such as a pool or balcony. Additionally, some pets may threaten other guests or the property.

Allergies of future guests

Some future guests may have allergies triggered by pet dander, which can result in negative reviews and decreased bookings for the rental property.

Restrictions from homeowners’ associations or property management companies

Some homeowners’ associations (HOA) or property management companies may have restrictions on allowing pets in rental properties, limiting the ability to accommodate pet owners. Check with your HOA or property management company first before making a decision.

Is Being Pet-Friendly Worth the Risk?

Small gray kitten in plastic litter cat on floor
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Deciding if your rental should be pet-friendly is a business decision. Giving guests the green light to bring their pets can expand your demographic of guests and boost your booking chances. But you must determine if the potential downsides are worth the risks.

Making a vacation rental pet-friendly can offer a range of benefits, including increased bookings, higher rental rates, enhanced customer satisfaction, and a competitive advantage. 

However, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. Pets can bring their fair share of challenges, from damage and lingering odors to potential allergens and inconveniences for other guests – and higher cleaning fees.

It’s important to balance the needs of pets and guests and establish clear rules and policies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Ultimately, it is a great way to expand your accommodation to individuals who already have a small selection of offerings. With careful consideration and planning, offering a pet-friendly vacation rental can be a great way to attract a wider range of guests and increase overall customer satisfaction.

Offering guests the choice to bring their four-legged companions can set your Airbnb listing apart.

Please comment below to let me know what you think of this article.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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