Allowing pets at your short-term rental is a decision that depends on various factors, including your property's location, target audience, and your personal preferences as a host (writes James Varley).
As I mentioned in our free e-book for hosts and property managers, I personally do not allow pets, which is a policy I implemented due to my allergies and the fact I was using the properties regularly when I lived in Qatar.
However, there are plenty of advantages to allowing pets – and if you live near the seaside or an area popular with dog walkers, you should probably allow animals at your properties.
Here are some considerations to help you decide whether to allow pets:
Pros of allowing pets
Allowing pets can significantly broaden your potential guest market. Many travellers, especially those with pets, actively seek pet-friendly accommodation.
Pet-friendly properties may attract more bookings, particularly from pet owners who prefer to bring their pets along rather than leaving them in kennels or with pet sitters.
Being pet-friendly can build guest loyalty. Guests who have a positive experience travelling with their pets may be more likely to return and recommend your property to other pet owners.
You can charge additional fees for guests with pets, such as a pet cleaning fee. This can potentially increase your overall revenue per booking.
In some areas, being a pet-friendly property can give you a competitive advantage over other rentals that do not allow pets.
Cons of allowing pets
Potential property damage
Pets can cause wear and tear on your property, and there is a risk of damage. This includes scratches, stains, or odours that may require extra cleaning or repairs.
Allergies and cleanliness
Some guests may have allergies to pets, and accommodating them in a pet-friendly space can be challenging. Ensuring a high level of cleanliness is crucial to address potential allergy concerns.
Pets, especially dogs, can contribute to noise disturbances. Barking or other pet-related noises may disturb neighbours or other guests.
Hosting pets requires additional responsibilities, such as pet-friendly amenities, waste disposal areas, and clear communication of pet rules. Some hosts may find these added responsibilities challenging.
Check with your insurance provider to understand any implications or changes to your coverage when allowing pets. Some policies may have specific conditions or exclusions related to pets.
Some travellers may be put off
The fact you allow pets may put off potential guests, in the same way a non-smoker would be unlikely to stay in a hotel room that allows smoking.
Tips for allowing pets
If you decide to allow pets at your short-term rental, consider implementing the following tips:
Set clear pet policies
Clearly outline your pet policies, including any additional fees, size restrictions, and house rules. Communicate these policies to guests in your listing and during the booking process.
Provide pet-friendly amenities
Consider providing amenities for pets, such as designated areas, pet beds, bowls, or even a welcome treat. These thoughtful touches can enhance the pet-friendly experience.
Schedule regular inspections of your property to identify and address any potential damage promptly. This proactive approach can help maintain the overall condition of your rental.
Require pet deposits
Consider requiring a refundable pet deposit to cover any potential damages. This provides an additional layer of protection for your property.
Include pet rules in house manual
Include specific rules for guests with pets in your house manual. This ensures that guests are aware of expectations regarding their pets' behaviour.
Ultimately, the decision to allow pets should align with your property's characteristics, your hosting style, and your willingness to accommodate the needs of pet-owning guests. If you choose to allow pets, doing so in a thoughtful and well-managed manner can contribute to a positive experience for both guests and their furry companions.
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