People are increasingly traveling with their pets – in fact over 3 million people annually are bringing their pets along for their traveling adventures. Couple that increase with the small percentage of Airbnbs that are animal friendly, and you have the makings for a real money making opportunity. Besides having an increase in bookings and visibility, you will also be able to charge higher rates for pet fees, and are covered in the case of any animal related damage. So how does a savvy Airbnb host capitalize on this pet opportunity?
Easy – you need to make your property the best option for pet owners traveling to your area.
Here are 3 easy ways to make your Airbnb listing pet perfect:
- Add Animal Amenities
- Add Animal Decor
- Include pet information in your guidebook
We will go into detail for each of these strategies, and provide actionable steps that will increase your pet-friendly bookings.
1. Add Animal Amenities
There are two main categories of animal amenities – those that will help your guests follow your rules, and those that are nice extra perks. I would recommend you focus on the first group at the beginning, and then add more extra perks as you get firmly established in the pet-owner niche.
Amenities that will help guests follow house rules
In a previous article, we went over the myths of hosting pets and how to protect your home from pet damages or excessive wear and tear. One of the best proactive strategies to prevent this is to write specific house rules about animals, such as animals not allowed in beds. Although it’s almost impossible to enforce these types of house rules when you don’t live on the property, you can encourage your guests to follow them by providing amenities directly pertaining to the rules.
For example, a common house rules regarding animals is that guests are responsible for cleaning up after them. So it would make sense to provide a pooper scooper for the backyard, and a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for pet hair.
Another example would be if you don’t want animals allowed in a specific area of the house, like the basement. If guests had a gate, they can keep their animals in approved areas of the house.
Provide dog beds so you don’t have to worry about pets shedding hair on your linens.
Want the animal contained while the owners are away? Much easier if you provide a kennel for them.
Don’t want to deal with fur on your furniture? Couch covers.
Worried about tracking in mud? Have a pile of old towels in the linen closet just for the fur babies.
Guests are much more likely to the follow the rules if you make it easier for them. So whatever house rules you decide to write for your property, think – how can I help make this happen?
This second category of pet amenities is where you can elevate your listing and cultivate repeat guests. Extra pet perks fall into one of two categories: things pets need, or things pets want.
When you are traveling with pets, especially as a family, there are a lot of moving parts to keep organized.
A way to make this easier for your guests is to already have some pet necessities out and easily accessible. Having these pet amenities will save your guests the hassle of having to pack and unpack burdensome pet supplies. This is especially valuable for those who travel via airplane with pets – could you imagine trying to fit a package of dog food into your carry on? Your guests also then don’t have to run to the store for last minute pet supplies they couldn’t pack or forgot to bring. The time and money saved will be appreciated, and paid back to you via glowing reviews.
Here are some pet owner necessities:
Generic dog/cat food
Kitty litter and litter box
Tie-out if your yard doesn’t have a fence, a tie-out is the next best thing. Having a way for dogs to spend time safely outdoors will also cut down on the amount of potential accidents.
Leashes a lot of communities require dogs to be on leashes when they aren’t on your property. Although leashes aren’t too cumbersome to pack and unpack, it is a smaller item often forgotten
Various tie blankets for them to lay on
Lint roller especially for those people you know are traveling for business or a special occassion
Pet pee pads are another item that are convenient for your guest and will also help protect your property from animal mess and damages.
Dog eye wipes were suggested by my sister-in-law when I asked about how things she wanted while traveling with her emotional support animal.
Because we all know that cats have a tendency to destroy furniture, having some scratch pads or a cat tree will ease your guest’s mind and save your sofas.
Training Clicker is another small item that could save the day
And just like humans, there are certain extra perks that pets don’t necessarily need, but are nice to have. Consider including treats in your welcome basket for your furry friends, such as a locally made dog bone, toy, or tennis balls. See if you can partner with a local pet treat bakery to provide free samples and coupons to your pet clients. Although we don’t offer this to our guests just yet, we spoil our dogs with a monthly subscription to Dog TV – something to consider if you are serious about attracting pet owners.
If you are looking for more ideas on what to provide, make a visit to your nearest Pet-co and ask a staff member for suggestions.
Plan ahead during home renovations
This might not make sense for every Airbnb host, but think about keeping your furry friends in mind when you plan larger scale home renovations. Here are some examples of bigger-scale amenities you can add when doing your next home renovation project:
A fenced in yard is a huge bonus for people who have dogs, in fact any kind of yard will definitely help your property appeal to pet owners.
Consider pet friendly flooring and furniture choices, such as laminate vinyl planks, tiles, and pleather couches.
Mud room area near entrances, for both pets and humans to remove shoes and get cleaned off before coming into the main part of the house. Or a place for pets to get a bath – think a large, low sink in the laundry room or garage.
Extra closet or other location for cat litter boxes
Adding doggie doors and doggie windows
2. Animal themed decor
Add your favorite furry pals to the décor of your home! Although they don’t have to become your “theme”, you can incorporate pets by adding some small touches such as:
3. Add animal section to your guidebook
When you are making your guidebook, don’t leave out the pets! By including a pet section, you will help your guests feel more at home and at ease with bringing their whole family into a new environment. Wondering what to add to your guidebook? Here are some ideas for useful information to provide your guests:
Traveling to a new place with your fur baby can be scary. What happens if your kitty gets sick? Recommend a few nearby vets as well as an emergency animal clinic.
Pet friendly businesses
Different cities have different regulations regarding pets in businesses, so your Airbnb guests will likely be wondering where they will be allowed to take their dog. Solve their problem by making a list of dog friendly businesses in your city. Check coffee shops, bars, and restaurants with ample patio seating.
Dog parks and walking routes
Guests unfamiliar with your area will also appreciate directions to nearby dog parks and suggested walking/running routes.
For guests that are renting for a few weeks or more, it would be helpful for them to have a list of recommended groomers and even dog trainers.
Have fun with this! Consider writing the pet guidebook section from a pet’s point of view. Maybe your own dog can “write” a section featuring all of their local favorites! There is already a built in bond among animal lovers, so by using your own pet it will enhance your guest/host relationship. This is another opportunity to make a connection and remind guests that you are a person (not a big faceless corporation).