We can dream can’t we? Petswelcome has been doing this a long time and we always thought that, one day, some ambitious entrepreneur would come up with the brilliant idea of starting a hotel chain dedicated to pets. Yes, there are some great chains like Kimpton, La Quinta, and others that are wonderfully pet friendly. But nobody so far has made the leap to making pets the primary reason for staying there. We think it’s a no brainer. And we even have a great name for it: Petswelcome Inns & Treats.
We think the world is ready for it. According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 85 million households have a pet and the percentage of pet ownership in those households has increased from 56% to 68% in last 30 years. A recent article in Forbes points out that this growth is due to changes in our culture. As millennial and Generation Z consumers have taken to the marketplace, they have embraced the pet-loving lifestyle to a greater degree than their parents. In fact, they account for 62% of pet ownership, as compared to 32% for baby boomers. Clearly pet prejudice is on the wane and the time has come for some new thinking in the hospitality business.
So what would a hotel chain dedicated to pets look like? How would it function? Well, first, let me say, I don’t think humans should be crated or allowed only in smoking rooms the way some chains now handle pets. People should be allowed to roam free, too, off leash (as long as they don’t bother canine, feline, feathered or scaly guests). Remember, this is all about raising consciousness and becoming more tolerant. Screaming humans locked in cages would not make for a good night’s sleep or contribute to the congenial atmosphere we’re shooting for here.
We also think that there should be no reservation charge and that the cost of your stay should be covered by an appropriate human fee, one that could range from $60 to $300 a night depending on the amenities that are offered. Overall, the cost should be less than current room prices because, let’s face it, you’re not going to need cleaning staff. The more unfettered use a room gets, the better. I’m not sure about cats, but dogs definitely prefer old blankets and a bit of a funk in the air. (As I’ve gotten older, I tend to agree with them.) Also, there will be no need for televisions, WiFi, swimming pools or those little toiletry items. There should, however, be a bar with craft ales and cocktails. I’m just saying.
OK. Maybe that approach won’t work. But how about this? A hotel chain dedicated to pets that has the following policies and amenities:
* An overnight stay requires that you have at least one pet.
* No check-in at the lobby. You can go straight to your room from your car.
* No pet fees, deposits, weight limits, type or breed restrictions or maximum number of pets.
* Pet walkers and groomers on-site.
* Plenty of pet amenities such as bowls, beds, treats and outside walking areas.
* Pet events for pets and their owners sponsored by the hotel.
* A pet concierge who is an expert on off-site pet-friendly venues, events and activities.
* A hotel staff that own pets and are allowed to take them to work.
* Enough properties in the chain so that a traveler can plan a trip using them.
We’re sure there are many other innovative approaches that a pet-dedicated chain could take and we think the time has come for someone to step up to the plate. If you’ve got a couple million dollars and like this idea, give us a call at Petswelcome and leave the following message: “I’ve got a couple million dollars.” The Basset Hound that answers our phone will get back to you. Eventually.