Tips to Create a Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottage
The demand for dog-friendly holiday cottages continues to grow as more Brits choose to holiday in the UK with their four-legged friends. According to Sykes, bookings for staycations with pets this summer have risen by a significant 40% and allowing pets to stay at your holiday let is said to boost revenue by 11%.
Owning a dog-friendly holiday home can be a very lucrative niche and whether your holiday cottage is pet-friendly or not is can make it or break it for securing a booking.
Although it’s an appealing idea and can boost occupancy, running a dog-friendly rental does come with risks. From increased wear and tear, damage and additional cleaning costs.
In this article, we look at the pros and cons of allowing man’s best friend to stay and provide some tips on how to create a dog-friendly holiday let.
Pro’s of allowing dogs to stay at your holiday home
There are several benefits that come with letting a dog-friendly holiday cottage.
- Your target market will increase if you offer pet-friendly accommodation. By allowing dogs to stay at your holiday rental you can increase year-round occupancy and revenue.
- Due to the guilt of leaving a dog in kennels and people’s yearning to take their dog away with them, holidaymakers are happy to pay extra for pet-friendly accommodation. It’s also estimated to be 7x cheaper to take a dog on holiday than to pay for dog care/kennel costs.
- If your dog-friendly holiday cottage ticks all the boxes, then you could gain repeat business. If both the owner and dog were impressed by the property then they are more likely to become return renters and spread the word to other travellers looking for pet-friendly accommodation.
Con’s of allowing dogs to stay at your holiday home
On the other hand, allowing dogs into your property can be off-putting to other holidaymakers.
- Those who aren’t pet people or have allergies might be unwilling to book a property that accepts pets.
- Allowing dogs within your property will ultimately create more mess and wear and tear. This means the property will require extra deep cleaning, something which will increase your overheads.
- There is also the possibility of a flea infestation. Something which could render your property inhabitable for some time.
- Dogs that are untrained or get stressed in unfamiliar surroundings could cause damage by knocking objects over, scratch, chew, scent mark etc.
- Some dogs could be barkers which your neighbours won’t appreciate.
Before listing your property as dog-friendly, weigh up whether the extra bookings will be worth it. Repairs, replacements and cleaning will ultimately raise your costs. However, not all animals are messy, barking, flea-infested creatures. Damages may be few and far between.
Do dog-friendly holiday cottages generate more bookings?
There are many factors that will persuade travellers to choose your property. The location plays a huge part. Your holiday let would be highly appealing if situated near country walks, dog-friendly beaches and pubs which are all a great selling point.
However, if your holiday let is in an urban area without outside space or if the local beaches don’t allow dogs, then pet owners are likely to overlook your holiday home regardless of your dog-friendly marketing efforts.
It’s also worth noting whether your property is suitable. If you’ve got expensive soft furnishings or deep pile carpets, you may want to reconsider advertising your property as dog-friendly. The extra bookings from dog owners are likely to be outweighed by extra cleaning costs and replacing expensive furnishings.
Top tips for creating a dog-friendly holiday cottage
Create rules & clear instructions for guests
To minimise potential problems, it’s best to have rules in place so dog owners know and understand their obligations whilst staying.
Make sure you outline everything a pet owner would need to know before deciding to book your holiday rental and that guests sign and agree to your pet policy terms and conditions.
Doggie do’s and don’ts
- Decide how many dogs you will allow in your property. Take into account the size of both the dog and your property. Very few holiday homes allow more than two dogs.
- Dog(s) must not be left alone or unsupervised in the holiday accommodation at any time.
- Define no-go areas (upstairs, bedrooms, on the furniture etc). Use stair gates to set boundaries.
- It’s the owners’ responsibility to clean up after the dog – poop and hairs.
- Ensure flea treatment is up to date before arrival.
Charge a “pet fee”
It makes sense to adjust the price of your holiday cottage so you cover the additional time it takes to clean and remove dog hairs. A typical pet fee is £15-£20 per dog which is good value compared to house-sitting or kennel fees.
Take a security deposit
A security deposit that’s only applicable for guests with pets offers a safeguard from damages, stains or extra cleaning.
For any damage that exceeds the security deposit amount, you’ll need to rely on your holiday letting insurance to cover the loss. Note that most insurance policies (even those with accidental damage cover included) don’t cover damage by domestic pets – so check your policy.
However, our holiday letting insurance covers damage by domestic pets.
Provide a doggy welcome pack
Just as you would have to make a holiday let toddler-friendly if you were marketing it to families with young children, the same applies if you promote your holiday home as dog-friendly.
Try to make your guests lives easier by providing useful items that they will need so there’s one less thing for them to pack or in case they forget something.
- Towels to rub the dog down after a walk
- Food and water bowl
- Poo bags
- Spare lead
- Plug-in/spray to calm stressed dogs
- Id tag with your cottage name and number should the dog get lost in a strange place whilst on holiday
Include useful guides
Have a section on your website and in your welcome guide for dog owners. Include information such as local dog-friendly visitor attractions, pubs, walks, parks, beaches, pet shops, taxis that accept pets and provide details of local vets in case of an emergency.
You can also give some tips on how to travel with dogs during summer.
Create an outdoor space
Having a secure, designated area where dogs can roam and go to the toilet is a great selling point. Also, provide a warm outside tap and hosepipe to rinse down muddy/sandy dogs.
If you don’t have any outdoor space then direct your guests to the nearest suitable area to walk.
Provide cleaning products
With access to the right cleaning supplies, your guests will have what they need to minimise the chances of accidental stains causing long term damage.
Furniture, fixtures and fittings
Consider having tiled or pet-friendly flooring on the ground floor of your property. It’ll be far easier to clean up hairs, mud and smells than carpet and less likely to scratch than wood. Solid floors can appear plain, so add rugs to improve the look and feel.
Provide washable throws and sofa covers to protect furnishings.
You should ensure that furnishings and ornaments are kept in places they can’t be knocked over or chewed. Also, fix flat-screen televisions to the wall rather than placing them on consoles to avoid them being broken.
Market your holiday cottage on pet-friendly listing sites
To increase bookings it’s also worth getting your property listed with specialist holiday companies who cater for pet-friendly properties such as:
Owning a dog-friendly holiday let where pet owners and their four-legged friends can relax can be a lucrative revenue source and create year-round bookings. Allowing pets to stay at your holiday cottage is said to boost revenue by 11%.
Careless dog owners are rare. Most owners who bring along their best friend are considerate, careful and clean.
In case you are still debating the dog’s vs no-dogs issue, we will leave you with some more food for thought:
A man wrote a letter to a small hotel he planned to visit. He wrote: “I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me at night?”
An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who said: “I’ve been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I’ve never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware or pictures off the walls. I’ve never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I’ve never had a dog run out on a hotel bill.
Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel, and, if your dog will vouch for you, you’re welcome to stay here, too.”