Are 'pet-friendly' hotels really worth the extra money?
The pitter-patter of paws can be heard in close to half of all Canadian households, so it’s no wonder that the hospitality industry is anxious to capture this demographic with enhanced 'pet-friendly' features.
A decade ago hotels either “accepted” dogs or they didn't, Len Kain, the editor of Dogfriendly.com, a travel site for dog owners, told the New York Times. “You could not really say they welcomed them, that is, encouraged you to bring them.”
But they sure do now.
Some hotels welcome pets in all rooms; others have a limited number. But their doors are always open to pet owners and their friends.
"It makes good business sense for hotels to recognize that pets are part of the family," says Susan Sims, publisher of Fido Friendly magazine. "People who bring their pets tend to stay longer and spend more."
One reason guests spend more is that, unlike children, pets usually don't stay free. Many hotels charge about $25 a night, others far more, Sims says. You might also have to put down a refundable $100 deposit and accept financial liability for any damage your pet causes.
Pet policies vary widely among pet-friendly accommodations. Some hotels are only dog friendly; others have a 2 pet maximum.
While most pet-friendly hotels are lower- and midpriced brands like Best Western and Motel 6, higher-end establishments are moving in this direction as well.
In addition to what's now considered standard fare at dog-friendly hotels — dog beds, bowls, treats and waste bags — certain properties are offering dogs the chance to have the same five-star experiences as their owners.
Travelling with a four-legged family member and looking for guidance? There's no shortage of options. Your best bet is to check sites like Petswelcome.com, BringFido.com and Tripswithpets.com to get a better sense of just what each venue actually offers.
Are pet-friendly hotels all they're cracked up to be? Or are you the 'who let the dogs in?' guest who avoids them at all costs?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money