In The B&B Team’s seminars for aspiring innkeepers we devote a section to niche marketing. One of those niches is pet travel. Everyone knows that pets are a big deal in America and that a large number of people like to travel with their furry companions. Years ago my parents had a very difficult time finding places to stay with their dachshund, but I dare say that it is easier today.
Some bed & breakfasts and inns have recognized the pet travel trend and have turned a small niche into a lucrative part of their business. Some, like the B&B at Ponder Cove near Asheville, NC, have made it the focus of their business! In a short article on 2008 Pet Travel Statistics reported by BringYourPet.com and presented in Hospitality Trends, there are some remarkable statistics. 75% of those taking the survey said they frequently take their pets with them when they go away. A significant number, 43.8%, stay at pet-friendly lodgings three or more times a year! While 38.5% say it is difficult to find pet-friendly lodging, a full 63% would lengthen their stay if they could travel with their pets.
What I found interesting when visiting BringYourPet.com was the significant number of hotels that provide pet-friendly lodging, and a quick glimpse showed that La Quinta has clearly made a statement that, if you are traveling with your dog or cat, look for their sign. La Quinta isn’t a luxury chain, and many who want to travel with fido want luxury for their pet as well as themselves. Maybe the boutique lodging industry needs some kind of "pet-friendly" certification which could be used to identify all inns that will take cats and/or dogs and which adhere to a certain standard, kind of like a AAA for pets! Any ideas? Pass them on right here.